Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Make Back Pain Disappear Without Drugs or Scalpel

Make Back Pain Disappear Without Drugs or Scalpel
Spinal Decompression Is a Magical Cure for Some People

reprinted from Daily Health News, November 1, 2007
URL: http://www.bottomlinesecrets.com/blpnet/article.html?article_id=43340

Luckily I've never suffered a serious bout of back pain -- and staying strong in the hope I won't have problems like that is one reason I am so committed to fitness. Even so, though, the truth is that most of us (80% by some estimates) will have back pain at some time or another -- whether from over-exertion, injury or simply a result of the aging process. Chronic back pain is frustrating, not only because of how badly it hurts but also because it can be difficult to cure. It is the fifth most common reason for doctor visits.

A particularly common cause of such pain is a herniated disk, also referred to colloquially as a "slipped disk." For a long time, the usual mainstream medical solutions were surgery, physical therapy and/or pain medication, all of which take a long time and may not work for everyone. So I was very interested to learn about a non-surgical, non-invasive treatment for herniated disks called spinal decompression.

Visualize the disks in your back as being like hard donuts filled with a jelly-like material in the center. With age, the strong fibrous cartilage (the donut) can weaken, allowing the jelly-like material (nucleus pulposus) to bulge, which in and of itself is not painful. But more seriously, with a herniated disk the hard tissue has actually torn or ruptured, causing this material to ooze and press on spinal nerves. This causes pain that can range from mild to horrible.

SPINAL DECOMPRESSION 101: A PRIMER

One of the first devices used for spinal decompression was approved by the FDA in 1995. Because spinal decompression requires special expertise and pricey equipment, few chiropractors have offered this treatment -- but numbers are growing as training and better insurance reimbursement becomes more commonplace, I was told by Steven Shoshany, DC, a New York City-based chiropractor who specializes in spinal decompression.

Here's how it works: The patient lies on a comfortable table made specifically for this purpose, comfortably strapped down with a pelvis and torso harness that resembles a girdle. Calling it a "high-tech traction device," Dr. Shoshany explained how it works. "Slowly and comfortably, almost imperceptibly, the machine creates traction by pulling and holding for one minute. Then, intermittently, it releases. It is believed that this creates a negative pressure, or a vacuum within the disk, which then draws back the herniated-disk material which was displaced." With less pressure inside the disk, and thus less on the spinal nerves, pain often decreases or might even disappear -- sometimes instantaneously. To "fix the hold," however, numerous sessions may be required.

This technique also allows nutrient-rich fluid to go to the area where there is less pressure, stimulating the healing process. Most patients either sleep or watch a DVD during the treatment, Dr. Shoshany told me. Each session takes about 30 minutes and a typical treatment program may take between 20 to 30 sessions.

Critics contend that there are no long-range, well-designed studies looking at efficacy over time, but there has been some research on the treatment and the results are promising. In one study published in 2001 in Neurological Research, researchers reported that a spinal decompression therapy called VAX-D produced a success rate of 68.4%, compared with 0% for a placebo therapy in treatment of chronic low back pain. Another study from a team of researchers at the University of Illinois and Rome found a 71% success rate for treatment of herniated disk and other causes of low back pain, with "success" defined as a reduction in pain to 0 or 1 on a scale of 0 to 5.

NOT FOR EVERYONE

Dr. Shoshany noted that some people get much more benefit from spinal decompression than others, and it is not an option for everyone. "It's not a good choice for a person who has metal implants in the spine," he warned. It's better for people with a single-disk herniation than those who have herniation in several or all of them. Also, people who are morbidly obese and/or who smoke likely won't find much relief from spinal decompression either.

The procedure is thought to be safe, though there is no hard science supporting its efficacy. If you do decide to seek out this somewhat unconventional form of treatment, it's safest and best to do so with the oversight of your orthopedic surgeon, who can help you ascertain whether it might work in your case. For more information on spinal decompression, go to www.drshoshany.com



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Steven Shoshany, DC, a New York City-based chiropractor who specializes in spinal decompression. He can be reached through his Web site, www.drshoshany.com

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2 comments:

Sophia said...

Dr. Shoshany has discussed Spinal Decompression in details, explaining all the pros and cons related to this non-surgical, noninvasive treatment of back pain. This blog will definitely help people with its information. This revolutionized practice was been followed in many of the Asian countries, particular in India and helped many with back pain. To know more about the surgery, visit the link
Click here to read

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