There is more than one form of spinal decompression therapy but we are going to discuss the form we use here at Advanced Health Chiropractic to treat issues that cause back pain.
Through trauma, such as car accidents or poor posture at work, over time, that wear and tear is going to create damage in a disc. And once the disc becomes damaged, the fluid begins to sort of shift out of that collagenous tissue and shoots into a nerve root or a nerve canal. Once disc fluid hits the nerve root it is going to create pain, typically pain that starts to refer.
In one type of spinal decompression machine, you align a patient flat on their back and you will traction the low back or the neck. If you are focusing on the lower back, you’ll pin the pelvis down, you’ll strap a piece of equipment around the torso and it will just gently open up. So, imagine you’re working on that X axis and you’re just going to pull along that X axis and it’s just going to continue to open up and then it will close that space, open up, close that space. And the whole idea is by creating space within a disc, it creates a vacuum. And the vacuum of air is going to pull the disc fluid back to the central part of the disc. And by doing that, by getting the disc fluid off the nerve, we’re obviously going to correct the pain.
Typically, with discs that have been significantly damaged from car accidents it is quite effective. However, the tricky thing is once you’re not in that decompression device, when you’re upright and gravity is hitting the spine, that disc fluid, due to your spinal alignment and gravity, is going to be essentially shifting straight back into that nerve canal.
We practice something called chiropractic biophysics, the most researched form of chiropractic. Through detailed analysis involving exam and x-ray, we can figure out the alignment of the spine and how that alignment is putting pressure onto the disc. So, our traction involves decompression, however, it also involves alignment, so spinal alignment.
For example, let’s say you don’t have enough curve in your low back and your curve is flat. It should be 40 degrees. Well, that means you’re going to put a lot of stress to the front of the disc. So, if you jump into a traditional spinal decompression machine, you’re going to pull open the spine, it is going to create a vacuum, you’re going to feel better. When you stand up, the curve is still flat. It’s not 40 degrees. So, you’re going to continue to put stress to the front of the disc.
Our traction is going to focus on improving the curve in your lower back. So, when you do this repetitively over time, you can objectively change the shape of your spine. It’s just two things. One, it improves disc space; it creates a vacuum like the traditional spinal decompression therapy. However, the chiropractic biophysics technique is objective. By objectively changing the shape of your spine you can create better load into the joint, the tissue and the disc, which offers long term correction.
When we practice our spinal decompression therapy, we’re going to be able to offer people more of an objective long-term improvement than the traditional kind of the machine that just opens and closes the joint. And that’s why we get awesome results and patients are super happy with their treatment that we do here.
Through spinal decompression therapy, we are going to put you in the posture you should be in. We’re going to create tension into the spine. And by creating tension into the spine, the ligaments are going to be able to heat up. And when ligaments heat up, it’s called the creep effect. They allow the spine to stretch back into its normal position. And by doing that, you can create more of a long-term solution than just the traditional kind of decompression therapy that works along that X axis.
So, let’s say that you’ve had a car accident. You were rear ended at 60 miles an hour. You come into the office, we shoot an x-ray, and we can see from that car accident that your alignment of your spine has been shifted. So, if you’re just eyeballing the spine, your shoulder, hip, and knee should be on top of one another if you’re looking at your body from the side. So that means the top bone in your lower back should sit on top of the bottom bone and should have a 40-degree curve. Let’s say that trauma shifted your spine forward. So, the top bone is now an inch in front of the bottom bone and the curve, instead of measuring 40 degrees is measuring 20 degrees. As we just discussed, by shifting forwards, you’re going to create more stress to the front of the spine, to the back. It’s going to increase pressure in the disc. Pressure in the disc can create pain, it can engage nerve roots, it can refer.
We can do the evaluation, and we can examine the x-rays, and we can figure out where the spine needs to go. And then specifically with the awesome equipment we’ve got here, we can get your spine into its normal alignment, and then we can gently put tension through the middle of your spine to the low back, for example. By gently holding it up for six to twelve minutes over time, the ligaments heat up and by heating up the ligaments, you can actually bring the spine back into alignment. And it’s awesome because we can get people out of pain, but it’s also a long-term fix.
All the new research that is coming out on neuro-musculoskeletal pain is circling back around to alignment of the spine. And by getting the spine in alignment, you can offer more of a long-term solution than just helping someone get out of pain in the short term. So, by addressing alignment in the spine through spinal decompression and spinal traction, you can objectively change the shape of your spine. This has great long-term health benefits, not just a quick fix.