Spinal Decomp. F.A.Q.

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal Decompression is a non-invasive manual therapy that allows the vertebra, disc, and joints of the spine the ability to “breathe” again. It does this by creating a negative pressure within the spinal canal, decreasing the stress on the discs and gradually allowing them to reabsorb nutrients, oxygen, and water, just like a sponge. The stressors of our daily lives, gravity, and muscular tension are constantly squeezing our discs causing the sponge to release its contents. Overtime, the discs shrink, they get stiff, the spine can’t bend, and eventually the sponge loses its ability to pump nutrients to the bones of our spine. All of these processes lead to degeneration and decay within our spine, causing stiffness and pain.

What is the difference between a Disc Bulge and a Disc Herniation?

A disc bulge is when a small part of the jelly-like vertebral disc starts to press outwards on the ligaments and nerves surrounding your spine. These may or may not be associated with pain. A Disc herniation begins as a disc bulge, however when it ultimately breaks through the protective ligaments, it is now termed a herniation. Imagine squishing a jelly donut on the table and watching the jelly ooze out. At first, the pressure built-up from your compressive force causes the donut to bulge slightly and then eventually it breaks the outside layer, allowing the jelly to escape.

How can a Chiropractor help me with these problems?

One treatment ranges from 10 to 15 minutes. The benefit of this treatment comes from small doses over an extended period of time, because we are trying to promote the body’s natural ability to heal. Depending on the severity of the condition, treatments can be around 1 to 3 visits per week, spanning over 3 to 12 weeks, however most patients start seeing a significant reduction in their symptoms within the first few visits. In extremely severe cases, daily treatments may be warranted for a short time to bring your pain down to manageable levels.

Do I need a Medical Doctor’s Prescription? Do I need X-Rays or MRIs?

No, you do not need any kind of prescription or diagnostic imaging findings to seek this treatment and to obtain relief. If you have taken X-Rays or MRIs in the past, that information is valuable for our Doctors to assess the severity of your disease, however it is not required.

Is this treatment permanent?

Our goal is to bring you long lasting relief as permanent as possible. Sticking to the treatment plan and adhering to our home-care instructions allows us to do this effectively so that you do not have to return. In more severe cases, we may suggest periodic follow-up treatments to maintain the mobility and health of the spine. Ultimately this is a team effort that requires equal determination on both patient and doctor sides.

Are there any risks or side effects?

Possibly. Patients may experience minor muscle pain or soreness after treatment, especially after the first few treatment sessions. This is not unusual for any type of manual therapy, and symptoms subside as your body adapts to the treatment. Always mention any occurrence of pain to your chiropractor.

What if I have already had back surgery?

Spinal decompression has successfully treated many patients recovering form back surgery. Whether it’s the same pain but slightly diminished or post-operative pain, we can absolutely help relieve the symptoms.

Do you use that DRX-9000 machine?

No, we do not use this machine for our treatment and it is no longer recognized by Health Canada. Our machine is a special Chiropractic table that allows for Flexion and Distraction of the spine at specific areas, successfully attaining the decompressive forces required for treatment.

Are we slightly shorter at the end of the day than the beginning?

The simple answer is yes. Depending on your age and relative disc health, the 23 vertebral discs in our spine get compressed all day long until eventually each one is a fraction smaller than when you woke up. This happens because our discs act like a sponge and eventually gravity and muscular tension cause the sponges to release their water, therefore making them shrink ever so slightly.

Who Should NOT Get Spinal Decompression?

Patients with Severe Osteoporosis, Spine Fractures, Severe Peripheral Neuropathy, pathologic aortic aneurysms, spinal infections, spinal metastatic cancers, or very recent lumbar fusions/metal implants should not receive this treatment.


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