Where Chicago's Athletes Get Adjusted     We're Open: Read our COVID-19 Update here
Schedule your initial consultation today!   773.868.0347

Surgical vs Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal Decompression Therapy in Chicago - Xray Services

Surgical Vs Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy in Chicago

Living with back pain can be very difficult, despite how often it occurs in adults of all ages. Issues with your back can leave you unable to work or pursue your hobbies, as well as making everyday tasks very painful or impossible to complete. To seek relief from common back problems, spinal decompression has become a very popular treatment option.

Spinal Decompression Therapy in Chicago can either be a surgical or non-surgical treatment, with some key differences in the procedure, recovery times, and results between the two. If you or a loved one is experiencing persistent or chronic back pain, then read on to learn everything you need to know about the differences between surgical and non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, conditions the therapy can treat, and who the ideal candidates are.

What Is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy has the primary goal of reducing or eliminating pain that’s associated with compression on the spine. The spine is comprised of 24 vertebrae, which are small bones that are stacked to create the spinal column. Between each of these vertebrae is a disc, which is formed from tissue and provides a cushioning effect when you move. When a person experiences a compression-related problem on the spine, it can cause serious and prolonged pain in the back.

In the majority of cases, the focus of spinal decompression will be to relieve pressure on the spinal discs, which in turn can reduce pressure on the nerves in the lower spine – a common cause of back pain, stiffness, and even cognitive problems. By achieving a reduction in pressure, pain in the back can be reduced, circulation enhanced, and function of the spine restored, improving quality of life.

How Does Spinal Decompression Therapy Work?

Depending on the decision to pursue surgical or non-surgical spinal decompression, the procedure for decompression will vary greatly. For non-surgical treatment, relief from back pain is generally achieved through the use of a spinal decompression system, and the treatment can be performed by a trained chiropractor.

Spinal decompression systems use motorized traction tables to reduce pressure on the spine by stretching and releasing the spine and separating the joints and bones in the back, as well as the discs. The capabilities of spinal traction include the ability to change the position of the disc material and retract it, reducing pain and promoting healing in the process. The computerized system gives the chiropractor the ability to make careful adjustments to traction angle and force, to achieve negative pressure.

Surgical spinal decompression involves a very different treatment process and can be used to treat much more severe cases of back pain, such as bony growths on the spine. To reduce spinal pressure, one of many spinal decompression surgeries may be suggested, such as:

  • Laminectomy – During a laminectomy, a small portion of bone in the vertebra is removed, which reduces pressure by increasing the spinal canal size.
  • Discectomy – During a discectomy, damaged discs are removed to reduce pain, this can be achieved through a standard discectomy procedure, or via a microdiscectomy, which is less invasive.
  • Spinal Fusion – Occasionally a spinal fusion may be required. The purpose of a spinal fusion is to stabilize the spine by joining two or more vertebra together.

What Does It Do for the Spine and Overall Health?

Perhaps the biggest benefit of spinal decompression is the relief it can bring to people who are suffering from back pain. By relieving pressure on the spine, a considerable or complete reduction of pain can sometimes be achieved. Instead of suffering from severe back pain, patients can return to living a pain-free lifestyle and enjoy their hobbies; this can improve both physical and mental health.

Spinal decompression can also improve the health of the spine. Improved circulation is a key benefit of spinal decompression; without pressure, it’s possible for oxygen, water, and nutrients to move freely in the spine, promoting healing in the discs as they begin to re-hydrate, and maintaining good spine function. With rehabilitation treatment after spinal decompression therapy, patients can enjoy a greater level of mobility, strengthen the spine and muscles, and gain more flexibility.

Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy

Non-surgical therapy is often the first form of spinal decompression treatment advised for patients suffering from compression on the spine. Unlike surgical treatment, non-surgical spinal decompression is non-invasive, there’s no recovery time, and the treatment can be performed in the comfort of your local chiropractor clinic.

Non-surgical treatments will likely need to be ongoing for a period of around 2 months, with a number of treatments scheduled during that time. Your progress will be monitored by your chiropractor to determine how long treatments will need to continue for. Each treatment should last no more than an hour, with sessions commonly being around 45 minutes long.

During a non-surgical spinal decompression treatment session in Chicago, you’ll be positioned on the computerized traction table, and fitted carefully with a harness. As the session begins, your spine will be gently stretched to begin relieving the pressure.

Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy

Surgical decompression therapy is almost the opposite of non-surgical treatment, in that it’s invasive, must be performed by a surgeon, and can have a long recovery time of up to around 6 weeks. Due to this, surgical treatment is normally only suggested as a last resort for spinal compression problems, after alternative treatments have not had the desired effect, or when the problems are very severe, and surgery is the only option.

Instead of adjusting the discs in your spine to relieve pressure, most surgical spinal decompression treatments are directed towards removal in order to achieve a reduction in pressure. Often in cases of severe nerve compression, surgery can be an effective option, although like any surgical treatment, there are some risks, such as infection, damage to the spinal cord, and blood clots.

Spinal Decompression Exercises

Another option for alleviating spinal pressure is spinal decompression exercises. These exercises can often be completed at home, independently, or as part of a treatment plan established by your chiropractor. It’s always best to consult a professional before beginning spinal decompression exercises, to be sure that the exercises you use will be beneficial to your spinal health.

Spinal decompression exercises take on many forms, such as the back arch, where you lay on your back and hold your knees to your chest; and the child’s pose, where you move from a resting position on your knees, place your arms outstretched along your side, and bring your head slowly to the floor before pulling your body forwards. Completing these exercises can help to stretch the spine and gain relief from pressure.

Who Are the Ideal Candidates for Spinal Decompression Therapy in Chicago?

The ideal candidate for spinal decompression therapy in Chicago is anyone in the Chicagoland area who is suffering from a bulging or herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease. Other common problems, such as back pain, spinal stenosis, and sciatica are also often treated with spinal decompression therapy. In some rare cases, such as where the patient also has a fracture, spine implants, or tumors, non-surgical decompression won’t be advised. The treatment also isn’t suitable during pregnancy.

If you’re experiencing severe back pain, numbness, or weakness, then having a professional examination to diagnose the problem should be a top priority. Getting your condition diagnosed and beginning treatment as soon as possible will help to lessen pain and start your recovery.