Spinal decompression is an advanced surgical technique designed to relieve pressure on a compressed spinal nerve root or on one or several vertebral bones passing through the spine.
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Decompression of these spinal nerves is an important component in the treatment of acute spinal decompression, myelitis and laminectomy. Spinal decompression techniques vary in terms of mechanical principles, location and results. Spinal decompression can be obtained from the office of a chiropractor, osteopathic physician, physical therapist, surgeon or general practitioner. Chiropractors are well trained in the procedure and perform spinal decompression at their clinic. Osteopaths are also well trained in providing treatment with decompression techniques.
Spinal decompression is recommended for patients who have been inactive for an extended period of time or who have weak muscles in the neck, shoulders and back. Decompression therapy is not recommended for patients who have active osteoporosis. Spinal decompression should be considered as an alternative to medications and surgical procedures for relief of neck, shoulder, and back pain, and is often used in combination with inversion therapy and yoga. Patients are encouraged to carefully read and follow the patient’s physician’s pre-treatment instructions before undergoing spinal decompression. Patients should be carefully monitored after the procedure and should be instructed on proper use of all device components.
Spinal decompression therapy is relatively safe, and about one percent of patients experience relief of symptoms within the first few days of treatment. The success rate ranges from five percent to ninety percent, but these results are generally unblinded and cannot be compared to prior results. There is no absolute safe cure for spinal decompression. Some patients may not experience relief, while others may experience complete resolution or complete disability. Proper implementation of post-operative protocol, including daily stretching exercises and avoidance of traction or passive movement for at least the first 24 hours following surgery, is likely to help prevent re-occurrence of pain during the initial healing process and will increase the chances for long-term success.