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Home » Articles » Decompression Articles » What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Guide to spinal decompression therapy

Spinal decompression therapy refers to the process of relieving pressure on one or more of the nerves in the spine. There are a variety of procedures, both surgical and nonsurgical, that can achieve decompression, though it is typically recommended that a patient begins with conservative forms of treatment for pain relief, such over-the-counter pain medication, low-impact exercise, stretching exercise and behavior modification. To learn more about when spinal decompression therapy becomes necessary and what conditions necessitate this treatment, read the following article.

Conditions that merit spinal decompression therapy

Conditions that may need spinal decompression include:

  • Bulging discs that have weakened due to a degenerative condition may buckle under the body’s weight and push outside of its normal boundary, thereby exerting pressure on spinal nerves that exit the spinal cord through the vertebral foramina
  • Herniated discs may cause the outer wall of a deteriorated disc to tear, or herniate, and the inner disc material may extrude into the spinal canal and pinch nearby spinal nerves
  • Bone spurs form in the joint space or along vertebral endplates as a result of facet disease, which is the gradual breakdown of the joint’s cartilage, causing the nerves that affect the joint to pinch

Forms of spinal decompression therapy

Spinal decompression procedures can take on a variety of forms. Nonsurgical decompression therapies do exist, during which a motorized traction device is fastened to the neck or back. Negative pressure is then used as a vacuum to pull the displaced disc material back into its proper position. This therapy can be a lengthy process, and it may not prove effective for patients with joint conditions, bone spurs or spinal hardware.

Traditional decompression surgery is typically an open neck or open back surgery during which a large amount of bone and other tissue is removed, and a bone graft is implanted to stabilize the spine. These surgeries can be massively invasive and usually involve risk of scarring, infection and muscle damage, as well as long recovery periods.

Minimally invasive spinal decompression

If you are a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure at USA Spine Care, on the other hand, a less than 1-inch incision is used to remove a portion of the disc material or bone that is causing compression on spinal nerves. These procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and pose far fewer risks as well as a shorter recovery period than traditional open spine surgery.

If you would like more information about our minimally invasive decompression procedures that have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain, contact USA Spine Care today. We would be happy to review your MRI or CT scan for free* to learn if our outpatient procedures would be effective in helping you recapture your life from your debilitating condition.

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