Monday, January 21, 2008

Spinal decompression therapy is it safe?

Spinal decompression therapy has taken the treatment of the herniated disc to a new level. This non-invasive, non surgical technique has helped thousands of patients get their lives back from chronic back pain.
Is this technique for everyone and is it safe?
These are the two questions that I often get asked, I will addresses the first.
Spinal decompression is not for everyone, In fact it is my opinion that by correctly examining and selecting patients that are the ideal candidates your success as a practitioner will go up. I am very selective with who I accept into my NYC spinal decompression practice.
In my practice in Manhattan, I do not accept patients that are morbidly obese, have had metal implants in their spine(such as titanium rods), or if they have severe osteoporosis or if they have sustained a recent vertebral fracture.
Outside this other factors that will not result in satisfactory results include patients with sequestered disc or a free fragment should not be considered for treatment on a Spinal decompression machine.
If a patient has a bulging or herniated disc and is accepted as a candidate for the spinal decompression protocol follow signs and symptoms carefully throughout treatment.
The act of unloading or decompression of the spine reduces tension on the disc and allows the disc to draw in fluid like blood and nutrients and moisture from the surrounding tissue.
Patients can and usually do complain of soreness in the area that is being treated, That is why patients should be on Ice and electrical stimulation like H-wave for at least 10 minutes after a session followed by a lumbar support to brace the area and prevent movement for at least three hours.

If a practitioner follows all of these protocols and is careful to select and qualify the patient the chances of injury are extremely low in comparison the possible side effects from an unsuccessful back surgery can include permanent impairment, loss of sensation and loss of motor control. This is why more and more patients are turning to a non surgical approach to addresses the Disc herniation.
The patient is also in complete control during the procedure, In my NYC practice I utilize the DRX 9000 which has a safety switch that can stop the pulling if it does become uncomfortable, most patients are sleeping half way through the session because they feel so comfortable.
I like the DRX 9000 machine because the pull is so smooth it allows the muscles to completely relax which allows the spine to be repositioned without tension and without setting off the "lock down" propioceptor response.
So to answer the question from earlier, Is it safe? Yes absolutely! Will it help everyone? No, but if you chose the patient carefully you can offer them a safe and affective non-surgical solution to a difficult problem and allow them improve their lives my taking away the pain without surgery.

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