What to Expect from Spinal Decompression

Mar 01, 2024
What to Expect from Spinal Decompression
When back pain doesn’t improve as expected, the next treatment step may be spinal decompression. This innovative approach can treat many kinds of back pain without downtime, drugs, or surgery.

So, you’ve scheduled your first spinal decompression appointment, but maybe you’re not quite sure what that means. Not to worry: at Synergy Release Sports, we’re widely respected as the best chiropractor in Alpharetta and Atlanta, Georgia, and spinal decompression is one of our main specialties. 

Our team strongly believes in keeping our patients in the loop about their treatment plans, and we know our patients count on us for long-term back pain relief. In that spirit, we decided that spinal decompression was the best blog topic for March. Here’s what you should know about spinal decompression before you start.

What is spinal decompression?

Spinal decompression is a treatment that relieves pressure on and pain from the spine and its components. We may recommend this type of therapy if you’re among the 80% of Americans who have experienced lower back pain due to problems like herniated discs, sciatica, or facet joint inflammation. 

There are two types:

1. Surgical spinal decompression

Surgical spinal decompression, performed by orthopedic surgeons or other medical doctors, involves anesthesia and incisions in the lower back. Surgeries are performed in a hospital or ambulatory surgery setting. 

Usually, surgery involves removing part of a spinal vertebra or disc to create more space in the spinal canal, which in turn eases pressure and pain. Some spinal decompression surgeries involve fusion: permanently connecting two vertebrae using hardware or cement. 

Surgical spinal decompression usually requires weeks or months of recovery time. Fortunately, there’s a noninvasive option.

2. Nonsurgical spinal decompression 

Nonsurgical spinal decompression has the same goal as decompression surgery: easing pain and pressure. But, it works in a very different way. Here, we work from outside your body (no incisions) and use gentle mechanical traction to separate your spine. 

Think of it as an extended stretch for your spine: the traction pulls your vertebrae and discs apart. This allows blood to circulate freely in the spine and nourishes damaged nerves with oxygen and nutrients so they can heal. 

Then, after a short period of stretching, the decompression machine gradually returns your spine to its normal length. Our chiropractor programs the machine with highly specific information unique to your spine, controlling the way the spine is repositioned. So, your spinal alignment is much better after decompression than before it. 

Here at Synergy Release Sports, we emphasize natural, non-drug, and high-tech noninvasive strategies whenever possible, so we focus on nonsurgical techniques. That said, our team offers support (which may include spinal decompression) for patients who had back surgery and still have lingering pain. 

What to expect from spinal decompression

Before treatment, change the chiropractor to a trained specialist since our chiropractors won't be the ones setting them up.

The harness connects to straps and rings, which in turn lead to the decompression machine.  You lie flat on a special treatment table while wearing the harness. Our chiropractor positions a wedge under your knees, sets the machine for your specific spinal needs, and activates the machine. 

The straps pull your spine gently. The lower half of the table moves during the treatment, but your upper body remains in place on the upper half of the table. 

You can expect some pressure, but not pain. The process takes around 30-45 minutes. Most patients need a series of sessions, usually taking around 4-6 weeks to complete treatment. 

We also offer many other noninvasive therapies to help you recover and get back to your lifestyle without pain, including chiropractic adjustments and a broad spectrum of pain therapies like dry needling or neuromuscular massage. 

After spinal decompression therapy, you can resume regular activities. It’s a therapy that can fit into your lifestyle so you can stay as active as possible while you heal. 

Want to learn more about spinal decompression? Give us a call, or reach out online now.