Spinal decompression is a procedure used to alleviate certain types of back and neck pain. There are two main types of spinal decompression -- surgical and non-surgical. Both types of procedure have a number of drawbacks and benefits, although both are considered by most physicians and health care professionals as viable options to treat severe pain caused by the compression of spinal nerves.
While spinal decompression can be performed surgically or non-invasively, both procedures have the same goal -- to lessen the pressure of spinal column discs on spinal nerves and to realign both the disc and the nerve in a way that alleviates or greatly reduces the back and neck pain experienced by the individual.
Surgical spinal decompression usually consists of removing the portion of the spinal column disc compressing the affected spinal nerve.
Non-invasive spinal decompression uses a computerized traction device to gently pull on the spinal column, causing the spinal column disc and nerves to realign properly. This treatment is applied over a series of visits and involves no medications or surgical procedures.
Patients most likely to benefit from spinal decompression are individuals suffering from persistent pain in their backs and necks, often caused by the pinching or irritation of a spinal nerve by a spinal column disc. Individuals diagnosed with spinal problems such as disc herniation or sciatica are common spinal decompression patients. Numbness, pain that is either severe or throbbing and persistent, and weakness of an arm or leg are symptoms people suffering from compressed nerves.
Non-invasive spinal decompression is the least expensive of all compressed nerve treatments. Although the full treatment requires approximately 20 visits, the final cost of all visits together is substantially less than that of ongoing pain-killer, physical therapy, chiropractic manipulation or surgical procedure costs. In addition, the entire process is non-invasive, largely pain-free and does not involve side effects common with medications or surgery.
Surgical spinal decompression is expensive, involves higher risks, and requires the patient to convalesce after the procedure. However, for individuals who have undergone every other type of treatment for their pain, surgery is sometimes the only viable option.
Not all patients suffering from pain due to compressed nerves can be helped by spinal decompression. A thorough examination and a series of scans of the affected area, including x-rays and an MRI, are usually required to determine if spinal decompression is an appropriate treatment.