What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Back and neck pain can be immobilizing and leave you desperate for relief. If you find yourself experiencing severe back or neck pain, tired of trying multiple types of treatment with no improvement, spinal decompression therapy may be the next best option for you. This procedure can be performed by your chiropractor, with the goal being to alleviate pressure and pain in the spine, giving you the pain relief and sustainable recovery you deserve. 

Spinal decompression therapy aims to relieve the pressure and pain occuring between the spinal discs that are found between the bones of your spinal column. This procedure slowly and gently expands your spine, relieving the areas within the spinal column in which the patient is feeling tension, pain, or discomfort. As a result, spinal decompression therapy can provide relief for the following conditions:

  • General neck and back pain
  • Herniated or ruptured discs
  • Dislocated spine
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Sciatica
  • Posterior Facet Syndrome (worn spinal joints)
  • Injury to the spinal nerve roots

Patients typically experience relief from symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness after completing spinal decompression therapy. As the spine is stretched, the spinal discs fill up with fluid, which as a result, improve circulation and reduce inflammation. 

How Does Spinal Decompression Therapy Work?

Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a non-invasive procedure that can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes per session for approximately 30 sessions total.  The chiropractor or medical professional administering the therapy will first strap a harness to the patient’s pelvis and torso. The patient will then be asked to lay either face down or face up on a motorized table. The harness is then clipped onto a cable which is attached to a retracting motor. The chiropractor controls the pull of the cable from a computer, carefully monitoring the force being used. The patient is given a remote with which they can press a button at any time to stop the machine. 

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy Painful?

Spinal decompression therapy is formulated as a pain-free, non-invasive form of treatment. The movement is gradual and slow, very gently expanding the spine. Patients may feel a stretch in their spine, but the sensation should not cause any pain. However, because there may be tension between the spinal discs, this sensation may leave the patient feeling sore after the session. 

What Are The Risks of Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Risks of spinal decompression therapy are very minimal, however, an x-ray should be performed prior to the procedure to inspect the spinal bone structure for any abnormalities. Patients with screws or metal plates in their spine should not receive this therapy. Individuals who have nerve damage, bone cancer, osteoporosis, or are pregnant should also not receive spinal decompression. One risk of spinal decompression therapy is simply that it may not be effective for all patients. 

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy Safe?

Spinal decompression therapy is deemed mostly safe and effective, however, in rare cases it can cause tissue damage or muscle spasms. Speak with your doctor to see if spinal decompression therapy is right for you. However, because this version of spinal decompression therapy is nonsurgical, patients will avoid the many risks that come with surgical procedures, eliminating the risk of infection, blood clots, allergic reaction to anesthesia, or addiction to painkillers. 

What are The Benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Outside of the obvious pain relief, spinal decompression therapy may have some lasting long-term benefits for the patient. After completing treatment, patients can experience improved blood flow, mobility, flexibility, and strength. Additionally, if the spinal decompression therapy is successful, patients may find that it reduces the chance of advancement in herinas, pinched nerves, returning compression of spinal nerves, and spinal degeneration. 

Does Insurance Cover Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy is not usually covered by insurance. However, some major insurance providers do offer some coverage for spinal decompression therapy. These include:

  • Blue Shield Blue Cross
  • Aetna
  • Cigna
  • United Healthcare
  • Humana

Call your insurance provider beforehand to make sure you are fully covered. Due to the price of the equipment required for spinal decompression, sessions can be very expensive for patients paying out-of-network costs. 

How Much Does it Cost for Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Prices for spinal decompression therapy will vary from state to state, and clinic to clinic. Because spinal decompression therapy is typically not covered by insurance, some chiropractors and medical professionals aim to make this form of treatment more affordable and accessible. Average costs will vary anywhere from $20 to $200 per session. Since an approximate 30 sessions are required to complete treatment, this can become a very large expense. 

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy Right For You?

Have you been struggling to find relief from back or neck pain? Have you tried multiple treatment options with minimal improvement? Perhaps spinal decompression therapy is the next best choice for you to try. Keep in mind that spinal decompression therapy is still considered somewhat experimental. Though the risks appear very minimal, spinal decompression therapy is only beginning to grow in popularity. 

Who Offers Spinal Decompression Therapy?

A variety of medical professionals are now beginning to offer spinal decompression therapy. It is most typically available in chiropractic care, but as it grows more popular, many other clinics are beginning to offer it as a service to their patients. Bone surgeons, physical therapists, nerve specialists, to name a few, are some of the professionals who offer spinal decompression care. 

Conclusion – What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy can grant patients serious relief from pain, tension, numbness, and tingling. The procedure works by gently expanding the spine, creating space between spinal discs, and as a result, alleviating pressure and tension. Spinal decompression therapy can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of various conditions relating to the spine. Not to mention, spinal decompression can improve strength, blood flow, mobility, and flexibility, as while promoting healing and delivering pain relief. Check with your primary doctor to see if spinal decompression therapy might be the right treatment for your back or neck pain. 


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