Back pain can result from a herniated disc that presses on the spinal cord. Other causes of back pain include spinal foraminal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal nerve openings), pinched or irritated nerves in the spine, degenerative disc disease resulting from wear and tear, and irritation of the sciatic nerve (sciatica). Facet joint syndrome (irritation of the small joints in each vertebra) can also result in pain. Pregnancy can cause back pain as the abdomen enlarges and the center of gravity shifts.
Spinal disc decompression is the use of a specialized traction machine controlled by computer to relieve pressure on the spinal discs. Chiropractors use this treatment in combination with manual adjustments to restore alignment and promote healing in the disc by increasing the flow of nutrients to the disc. Removing pressure on the disc and restoring it to its normal position can often relieve pain from pressure on the spinal cord. The treatment is also used for other causes of back pain besides disc decompression.
Spinal decompression is performed with a specialized moving treatment table controlled by a computer. The patient lies on the table either a face-up or a face-down position, and a harness is attached around the patient's hips. The harness is connected to the lower section of the table near the patient's feet. The moveable bottom section of the table slowly applies and releases traction to the spine when the table is activated.
Whether spinal decompression works for a particular patient depends on many factors, such as the cause of the pain and its duration. This is a relatively new treatment and research on spinal decompression lags behind practice. However, the theory behind the treatment – applying traction to the spine – has been used for many years. Traction is thought to help return the disc to its normal position and promote healing by increasing the flow of nutrients to the disc. Spinal decompression is a breakthrough development in treating this problem in the lower back and neck. A series of decompression treatments can restore up to 17% of disc space, renourishes, remoisturizes degenerated disc and can reduce disc protrusions .
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