Non-surgical Spinal Decompression (NSSD) is a non-invasive treatment for acute and chronic spinal pain resulting from herniated, ruptured, bulging or degenerative discs and spinal Stenosis. It is achieved through the use of specialized tables with computer control of the force and angle or disc distraction. This applied force to the disc of spinal column gradually lengthens and decompresses the spine,creating a vacuum effect which reduces intradiscal pressure and muscle spasm of surrounding areas. Simultaneously, an osmotic gradient is created which helps to bring nutrients and water into the disc to promote healing. The overall effect is restored normal spinal movement and function.
Inspired by his own back pain, Allan Dyer, MD, PhD, the former Deputy Minister of Health in Ontario, Canada, is credited with the development of non-surgical spinal decompression as well as the heart defibrillator. Although the idea of spinal decompression has been around since Greek antiquity, Dr. Dyer pioneered the modern computerized spinal decompression in 1991.
How does Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression work?
Depending on the symptom presentation, the spinal decompression machine can be set up to focus the tension in the lumbar region or cervical region (neck). As determined by the doctor, the decompression machine will be set at a specific cycle. It begins a slow logarithmic increase in tension, creating a negative pressure within the disc. Then, after a holding period, the machine will slowly release the tension. The duration of the treatment will consist of alternating decompression and relaxation cycles, together achieving a therapeutic effect.
Under normal circumstances, the discs of the spine are under constant pressure so when an injury occurs, the rate of healing is greatly slowed.
The vacuum effect created by the spinal decompression machine reduces the intradiscal pressure. This
negative pressure repositions and draws in the jelly-like fluid of the disc (called the nucleus pulposus). Because the discs, like other
cartilage in your body, do not have a direct blood supply, they rely on movement
to receive their nourishment by a process called imbibitions. This is attained
by the vacuum effect of spinal decompression, thereby drawing moisture,
nutrients and oxygen back into the discs.
Although pain might start to subside within a few NSSD treatments, it is crucial to continue the recommended treatment regimen. Since any trauma to the disc will take time to heal, the lack of pain does not indicate a full recovery. Spinal decompression treatment frequency and duration is dependent upon on the patient’s condition and consists of about 12-25 sessions throughout a four to six week period. This form of treatment can be utilized in conjunction with other interventional procedures when trying to avoid surgery. Given the chance, non-surgical spinal decompression can help alleviate chronic neck and low back pain.
Who is a candidate for Spinal Decompression?
It is essential to first obtain an accurate diagnosis regarding your condition, since there are several structures of the spine that may be responsible for causing pain. People suffering from bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome, Stenosis, or thosethat have had a failed back surgery without hardware are all eligible candidates for non-surgical spinal decompression therapy.
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