At Marin Spine & Wellness Center, we specialize in Non-Invasive Treatment of back and neck pain using Spinal Decompression Therapy. By combining traditional chiropractic techniques with the latest advances in technology, we provide safe and effective alternatives to injections, prescription drugs and surgery.
I believe that my patients deserve the best care possible. I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about spinal decompression.
Why Spinal Disc Decompression Works:
This FDA cleared technology can relieve pain by enlarging the space between the discs. Spinal experts believe negative pressure of decompression releases pressure that builds on to the disc and nerves, allowing the herniated and bulging disc to eventually go back into normal position. Decompression is a non drug, non invasive treatment that can be effective for severe cases of herniation, degeneration, arthritis, stenosis and pressure on the nerve root. What is the difference between decompression and traction?
Many clinicians specializing in lumbar spine pathology have criticized traditional traction. Traction fails in many cases because it causes muscular stretch receptors to fire, which then cause para-spinal muscles to contract. This muscular response actually causes an increase in intradiscal pressure. On the other hand, genuine decompression is achieved by gradual and calculated increases of distraction forces to spinal structures, utilizing various degrees of distraction forces.
A highly specialized computer must modulate the application of distraction forces in order to achieve the ideal effect. The system uses applies a gentle, curved angle pull which yields far greater treatment results that a less comfortable, sharp angle pull. Distraction must be offset by cycles of partial relaxation.
The system continuously monitors spinal resistance and adjusts distraction forces accordingly. A specific lumbar segment can be targeted for treatment by changing the angle of distraction. This patented technique of decompression may prevent muscle spasm and patient guarding. Constant activity monitoring takes place at a rate of 10,000 times per second, making adjustments not perceived by the eye as many as 20 times per second via its fractional metering and monitoring system.
Genuine decompression also involves the use of a special pelvic harness that supports the lumbar spine during therapy. Negative pressure within the disc is maintained throughout the treatment session.
How long is each session and what is the treatment protocol?
Each session on the Decompression equipment is approximately 20-30 minutes long, accompanied by 30 minutes of stimulation, ice, heat packs, manual therapy, adjustments and core exercises. The patient comes for 15-25 visits over a 6-8 week period.
How long before a patient experiences change?
Often times a patient can experience some relief within the first few (3-7) treatments. Patients not showing significant improvement by the 15th to 18th session may be referred for further diagnostic evaluation.
What is the typical diagnosis?
Since non-specific low back pain and cervical pain generally encompass a myriad of mechanical failures, including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissue that encroach or produce pressure on the nerves, the term intervertebral disc syndrome can be used. This diagnosis does not necessarily require (although recommended) an MRI to confirm the presence of a disc involvement.
Who can benefit from using Disc Decompression Therapy?
The following would be inclusion criteria for the Decompression Therapy (1) Pain due to herniated and bulging lumbar discs that is more than four weeks old; (2) Recurrent pain from a failed back surgery that is more than six months old; (3) Persistent pain from degenerated discs not responding to four weeks of therapy; (4) Patients available for four weeks of treatment protocol; and (5) Patient at least 18 years of age.
These indications are ideal candidates for enrollment into our program and have the potential of achieving quality outcomes in the treatment of their back pain: (1) Nerve Compression; (2) Lumbar Disorders; (3) Lumbar Strains; (4) Sciatic Neuralgia; (5) Herniated Discs; (6) Injury of the Lumbar Nerve Root; (7) Degenerative Discs; (8) Spinal Arthritis; (9) Low Back Pain w/ or w/o Sciatica; (10) Degenerative Joint Disease; (11) Myofasctois Syndrome; (12) Disuse Atrophy; (13) Lumbar Instability; (14) Acute Low Back Pain; and (15) Post-Surgical Low Back Pain.
Lastly, the system should be utilized with patients with low back pain, with or without radiculopathy who have failed conventional therapy (physiotherapy and chiropractic) and who are considering surgery. Surgery should only be considered following a reasonable trial of Decompression therapy protocols.
What conditions are contraindicated?
Patients with the following problems or symptoms are usually excluded from using the Spinal Decompresion therapy: Pregnancy, Prior lumbar surgical fusion, Metastatic cancer, Severe osteoporosis, Spondylolisthesis, Compression fracture of lumbar spine below L-1, Pars defect, Aortic aneurysm, Pelvic or abdominal cancer, Disc space infections, Severe peripheral neuropathy, Hemiplegia, paraplegia, or cognitive dysfunction, Cauda Equina syndrome, Tumors, osteod osteoma, multiple myeloma, osteosarcoma, Infection, osteomyelitis, meningitis, virus, and HNP (sequestered/free floating fragment).
Does Decompression Therapy work for everyone?
We will be the first to admit that decompression therapy does not work for everyone but a significant portion of patients who have been properly selected and comply with the Spinal Disc Decompression protocol may have good-to-excellent outcomes. Patients vary in age, sex and body morphology and may require counseling in weight loss, nutrition and other lifestyle changes. Everybody has their own pace while healing so we created an environment to help optimize this process.