Spinal Decompression / Non-Surgical Disc Treatment
Spinal Decompression Treatment is non-invasive and provides gentle decompression of the disc through the use of a decompression table. You are strapped to the table so that as it moves it applies a distraction force to the targeted area of the spine (the compressed disc). A computer controls the distraction force which is applied in between periods of relaxation. This gently pulls the spine apart elongating it and creating a small vacuum between the vertebrae which pulls the disc back into shape.
How long will it take?
Decompression works in very minute increments. But over time that adds up and lets the disc reshape itself, heal and get the proper flow of nutrients going to fight off brittleness and future injuries. The number of sessions required depends on the severity of your case. Our typical recommendation is 12 sessions and most patients have marked improvement in 3 sessions. In addition to decompression sessions chiropractic adjustments, therapeutic exercises and cold laser therapy may also be recommended.
What to expect at your first visit?
You will be fully evaluated to determine if your pain is disc related, muscular or a combination of both. In addition, your core strength and biomechanical stability will be assessed. Depending on the results of these tests an MRI may be requested for further evaluation.
What is a spinal disc and why does it degenerate?
The spinal disc is a soft cushion that sits between each vertabrae of the spine. This spinal disc becomes more rigid with age. In a young individual, the disc is soft and elastic, but like so many other structures in the body, the disc gradually looses its elasticity and is more vulnerable to injury. In fact, even in individuals as young as 30, MRIs show evidence of disc deterioration in about 30% of people. Bulging discs, herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, sciatica, and arm pain or leg pain can often be attributed to your spine asserting pressure on your discs. Poor posture, bad body mechanics, repetitive stress and acute injury can cause your vertebrae to compress your discs or to slip out of alignment.
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What happens with a degenerated disc?
As the spinal disc becomes less elastic, it can become compressed. Compressed discs lead to two major problems: a bulge or herniation pressing on a nerve; and brittleness of the disc. The problem is often perpetuated because the compressed disc restricts the flow of nutrients to itself which is needed to heal. When the disc ruptures, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside its normal boundary, this is called a herniated disc. When a herniated disc bulges out from between the vertebrae, the spinal nerves and spinal cord can become pinched. There is normally a little extra space around the spinal cord and spinal nerves, but if enough of the herniated disc is pushed out of place, then these structures may be compressed.
What causes symptoms of a herniated disc?
When the herniated disc ruptures and pushes out, the nerves may become pinched. A herniated disc may occur suddenly in an event such as a fall or an accident, or may occur gradually with repetitive straining of the spine. When a herniated disc occurs, the space for the nerves is further diminished, and irritation of the nerve results.
What are the symptoms of a herniated disc?
- Pain – Pressure on the nerve can cause abnormal sensations, commonly experienced as electric shock or burning pains. When the compression occurs in the cervical (neck) region, the shocks go down your arms, when the compression is in the lumbar (low back) region, the shocks go down your legs.
- Nerve Symptoms – Patients often have abnormal sensations such as tingling, numbness, or pins and needles. These symptoms may be experienced in the same region as painful electric shock sensations.
- Muscle Weakness – Because of the nerve irritation, signals from the brain may be interrupted causing muscle weakness. Nerve irritation can also be tested by examining reflexes.
- Bowel or Bladder Problems – These symptoms are important because it may be a sign of cauda equina syndrome, a possible condition resulting from a herniated disc. This is a medical emergency, and you should see your doctor immediately if you have problems urinating, having bowel movements, or if you have numbness around your genitals.
How is the diagnosis of a herniated disc made?
Most often, your chiropractor can make the diagnosis of a herniated disc by physical examination. By testing sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes, your chiropractor can often establish the diagnosis of a herniated disc. An MRI is commonly used to aid in making the diagnosis of a herniated disc.
Is this covered by insurance?
Your initial evaluation, MRI, chiropractic visits, rehabilitation and cold laser therapy are all covered by insurance. Decompression therapy is not covered by most insurance companies. Our clinic however, prides itself on having the most competitive fees in Austin.