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Spinal decompression therapy, or nonsurgical decompression, is a procedure used to relieve back pain by gently stretching the spine. It uses a traction table or similar motorized device that is controlled by a computer, known as Spinal Decompression Table, which makes repetitive movements to gently lengthen and releases the spine.
While spinal decompression therapy is mainly used to relieve back pain, it has also been used in an attempt to treat:
During spinal decompression therapy, your doctor will strap you to the spinal decompression table using a harness around your pelvis and trunk. You may lie face up or face down on the table. To keep you comfortable and your spine in the correct position for decompression, pillows will be used. Once you are in the correct position, the doctor will operate the table using a computer and customize treatment to your specific needs. While the upper part of the table remains in a fixed position, the lower part moves back and forth, providing traction and relaxation.
Some patients with extensively injured disc may experience mild discomfort, but the procedure is typically painless and relaxing. Should you feel any discomfort; the doctor can stop the therapy at any point. The therapy usually lasts around 30 to 45 minutes.
You can leave the hospital or the clinic straight after each therapy session. Since you may need 20 to 28 therapy sessions over five to seven weeks, it is advisable that you stay in Vietnam until all of your sessions are completed. Your medical care team or medical travel team should be able to advise you regarding this matter.
The recovery time depends on your specific condition. For the therapy itself, little to no downtime is required. You should take it easy for the remainder of the day, but you may be able to resume your normal activity the next day. You should also make sure to avoid any strenuous activity for several days.
After each session, you will need to drink more water to ensure that your body is properly hydrated, as well as eat a well-balanced diet to ensure your body is full of healthful nutrients. Your doctor will likely give you a few exercises to practice between your therapy sessions as well. The exercises will encourage continued progress and prevent any regression during your normal routine. To help relax your muscles and prevent inflammation, your doctor may also recommend cold packs or a heating pad.
More research is required to establish the effectiveness and safety of spinal decompression therapy. Research into the therapy is ongoing, with a number of studies showing that the results are favorable.
The alternatives to spinal decompression therapy include physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, exercise, limited rest, bracing, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and steroid injections. Alternatively, you can also undergo surgical spinal decompression, such as laminectomy. Make sure to consult with your doctor the best alternative for your specific case.
Before spinal decompression therapy, you may have back pain, neck pain, sciatica, herniated discs, worn spinal joints, or injured spinal nerve roots. After the procedure, you should start experiencing relief of pain during the first week. You will then experience significant relief after 2 to 6 weeks following the procedure.
Whilst the information presented here has been accurately sourced and verified by a medical professional for its accuracy, it is still advised to consult with your doctor before pursuing a medical treatment at one of the listed medical providers. This content was last updated on 28/11/2020.