Few injuries or illnesses can cause more agonizing pain than a degenerative spinal condition or intervertebral disc injury. Whether your condition has been brewing for years or has come about all of a sudden, you want nothing more than a way to relieve the pain. But before you agree to major spinal surgery and/or a life dependent on painkillers, consider a gentle, non-invasive alternative. That alternative is called spinal decompression — and our chiropractor, Dr. David Sciortino, offers it here at St. Louis Medical Center alongside traditional adjustment, massage therapy and other treatment methods.
A variety of ailments can cause your spinal column to lose height or displace the discs that normally sit directly between the vertebrae. An auto accident or personal injury, for example, can throw two adjacent vertebrae out of alignment, dislodging the disc between them so that it bulges out from the spinal column. From this position it can pinch nearby nerves, causing sciatica, back pain and other symptoms that give you pain and limit your ability to live a normal life.
Sometimes spinal compression occurs as a result of natural aging or degenerative diseases. As your discs grow older, they begin to lose moisture and flatten out. This means that the vertebrae have less cushion between them, and your spine may lose some height. This problem in turn can cause another problem called facet joint syndrome.
The posterior edges of the vertebrae are linked together by a set of small joints called facet joints. A loss of disc height places strain on these joints, potentially damaging the cartilage and contributing to osteoarthritis of the spine, which creates an even more urgent need for pain management. Another condition called spinal stenosis may also develop with age. This is a narrowing of the bony channel that envelopes the spinal cord. As the bone narrows it presses on the spinal cord, causing not only pain but also loss of physical function.
How Does Spinal Decompression Relieve Your Pain?
Spinal decompression takes that grinding pressure off your discs, vertebrae and nerves so they have a chance to recover and heal. Our chiropractor uses a method of gentle, gradual mechanical traction to accomplish this. Patients lie on a decompression table and the table does the work. We have total control over the amount of traction used in any given session.
The traction creates a suction effect that draws bulging or herniated discs back into their correct vertical alignment for drug-free pain management. Restored to their proper position, the discs can now recuperate and do a better job of cushioning your spine. Strengthening exercises and massage therapy can then relieve strained back muscles and build them up for additional spinal support.
Questions and Answers About Spinal Decompression
Spinal Decompression Serves as Pain Management Alternative for St. Louis Patients
Low back pain may be caused by soft tissue strain and/or pressure on a nerve root. The former often accompanies postural problems and misalignments that throw the body out of balance, while the latter may be caused by a disc that has shifted or bulged outward from the spinal column onto the nerve. Discs also lose some of their cushioning ability over time, and this can contribute to spinal compression.
Spinal decompression applies distraction force to the spine. This force relieves the immediate stress on the disc while also drawing it back into its correct position by creating negative pressure within the spinal column. Over the course of several sessions, this technique gives both the disc and the nerve that had been compressed by the disc time to heal.
Many patients feel substantial relief within the first few sessions, each of which may take 30 to 50 minutes. The complete healing process, however, may require at least four weeks of treatment. During this time we may prescribe massage therapy and strengthening exercise as well, so that your muscles can do a better job of supporting your spine in the future.
Spinal decompression can correct or reduce a great many types of nerve pain and pressure stemming from spinal problems. These problems may include herniated/slipped/ruptured discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and facet joint syndrome (a type of spinal osteoarthritis).
Spinal decompression does not cause pain. Quite the reverse, in fact — many patients regard it as a distinct relief, and some actually find the procedure soothing and relaxing. It is also quite safe because our chiropractor, Dr. David Sciortino, applies the distraction force in tiny, precise increments with the aim of providing the minimal correction necessary to treat your condition successfully.
While we recommend a chiropractic evaluation as soon as possible following a traumatic accident such as a car collision or sports injury, we also consult with patients 18 or older who are dealing with persistent pain from previous conditions. Patients who have experienced pain from bulging or herniated discs for more than four weeks, even after therapy, may require spinal decompression to shift the errant discs back into position. If a failed back surgery more than 6 months old has failed to relieve your pain, chiropractic care may succeed in doing so.
Taking the Next Step towards Pain Relief
If you believe you might benefit from spinal decompression or any of our other chiropractic services, we advise you to contact St Louis Medical Center for a consultation. Only a detailed evaluation can help us determine whether this procedure makes sense for you.
Call St. Louis Medical Center Today
St. Louis Medical Center offers options including non-invasive physical medicine treatments.If you’re in St. Louis, MO, spinal decompressions is close at hand. For your FREE consultation, call us today at 314-522-0092
Or visit our Locations page to find our clinic nearest you!