Dr. Michael Francis, DC is the Wilmington DE Chiropractor for Peak Performance, with a focus on both Sports and Auto Injuries.

Spinal Decompression Wilmington DE: What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

August 13, 2020

HomeBlogSpinal Decompression Wilmington DE: What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal Decompression Therapy is performed by a professional chiropractor to adjust vertebrae, and ultimately provide pain relief. It is a popular, nonsurgical therapy option that is primarily used to treat people with mild to moderate back pain. When you get spinal decompression therapy, pinched nerves in the spine will be relieved, circulation is increased to the damaged disc(s) and your spine is put into alignment. After the therapy, your body will naturally heal and chronic pain will be reduced.

Our Wilmington DE Chiropractor, Dr. Mike Francis, is an expert in spinal decompression. Contact today for a consultation.

Pressure on the surrounding nerve endings is reduced, through the use of decompression therapy without any prescription drugs or surgery. You will feel less pressure in the affected areas and it is safe for any age of person since the compression can be custom tailored to the age of the individual.

What is a Spinal Decompression Table?

A spinal decompression table is used in nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy, and there are two different types of spinal decompression tables. The first table consists of a cable and pulley system that creates a pull on the patient's body. The second type of table consists of an upper and lower body portion that move independently from one another. The latter type of table is much more effective at preventing muscle guarding, which will help you with the best possible outcome as a chiropractic patient. Muscle guarding can be described as a tense state in which the muscles are held in readied position to act - imagine when a runner is at the starting line and is waiting for the signal to begin the initial take-off sprint. The runner holds the required muscles in a partially contracted state so that they can explode upon take-off and use the muscles as quickly as possible.

Furthermore, a decompression table carefully straps the patient onto it using a harness. Soft pillows or other props are often used to ensure comfort, while also keeping the spine in the best possible position for decompression. Once the patient is in proper positioning, two parts of the table begin to pull apart from one another and the pull creates the decompression. The amount of pull, or poundage, varies on the type of decompression that is trying to be accomplished and also depends on the physicality of the person who is being decompressed.  A cervical decompression protocol can be minimal, around 5 pounds as a baseline, whereas lumbar decompression on a larger patient can be upward to 100 pounds.

Technology is probably the most important factor when comparing a spinal decompression table to an inversion table. The highest quality spinal decompression tables have sensors that read the patient’s muscles to see what kind of resistance is being put on the stretch. The table works to reduce the poundage of the pull until the muscle is able to relax, when the sensors indicate resistance in the muscles.That is why decompression tables are usually so successful for patients - it takes resistance into account which helps relieve pressure in the spine. 

How is Spinal Decompression Therapy Performed?

As we have discussed above, Spinal Decompression Therapy is performed on a motorized table that allows the lower half of the table to move, while the upper half stays fixed. The great thing about it, is that you can be fully clothed while laying on your back.

You’ll be secured with a harness around your hips that is connected to the lower part of the table.

Once secured onto the table, the chiropractor will operate the table to stretch your body and relieve pressure and pain. 

Is Spinal Decompression Painful?

No, patients do not experience pain during, or after, decompression therapy and it is great for most age groups.

What Are the Risks of Spinal Decompression?

Since Spinal Decompression is a nonsurgical treatment for back and spine pain, it has less risks than more invasive treatments. To avoid risks altogether, the following patients should not use spinal decompression:

  • Pregnant women because of abdominal pressure.
  • Spinal instability, such as spinal degeneration or severe spinal osteoporosis
  • Any screws, metal plates or other hardware
  • Severe nerve damage

Who Should Not Have Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression?

During your initial consultation, the chiropractor will ask you questions to figure out if you are a good candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression. Patients with any of these conditions should not have spinal decompression:

  • Bone fracture
  • Tumor
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Advanced osteoporosis
  • Spin implants made out of metal

Chiropractic Adjustment Vs. Decompression Therapy

Chiropractic adjustment involves a controlled force to a joint in the spine, to improve the motion and function of the spine.

Decompression therapy uses a motorized table to stretch and rejuvenate the back.

How Does Spinal Decompression Help Degenerative Disc Disease?

Degenerative disc disease is one of the most common causes of lower back and neck pain. The way that spinal decompression can help degenerative disc disease is by bringing nutrients, oxygen, and fluids into the targeted disc(s). This helps revitalize degenerated and herniated discs, without surgery.

How Often Should You Have Spinal Decompression?

Patients typically need at least 12 sessions on the spinal decompression table, but more sessions may be needed depending on the patient’s prognosis. Follow-up treatments are also typically suggested, in order to manage pain and maintain a healthy spine and neck.

Does Spinal Decompression Really Work in Treating Lower Back Pain?

Yes, patients begin to see results in as little as one spinal decompression table session.

What You Can Do To  Better Your Spinal Decompression Experience?

We’ve gathered some quick tips so that you can have the best possible experience with your spinal decompression therapy:

  • During your initial consultation, provide thorough medical history and also give us feedback during your spinal decompression exam.
  • While you are having the spinal decompression done to you, let us know any pain or discomfort you are feeling.
  • Spinal decompression tables have a safety switch that can be used to stop treatment, so feel free to use that at any time.
  • Relax and enjoy the experience - the less tense you are, the better!

Schedule Appointment

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We pride ourselves on providing quality individualized care. Dr. Michael Francis is the chiropractor Wilmington residents need for peak performance, with a focus on both sports and auto injuries.

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