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It’s a position no one wants to be in. You have sharp, debilitating pains. This isn’t your standard muscle tension. This pain is produced by a nerve. You get electric shocks, tingling and numbness or burning in your back or even your arms and legs. It has gotten to the point where it controls your every move. You can barely get through the day, let alone go for a walk or play with your children/grandchildren. Frustrated, you call your doctor. After a whole series of tests, it shows that you have nerve impingement due to a herniated disc / disc degeneration or spinal stenosis.

What now? At this point, most doctors will offer you various treatment options; Prescribe pain medication, prescribe physical therapy, receive injections, or have spinal surgery to decompress your nerves, depending on the severity of the situation. With today’s increasingly sedentary lifestyle and longer life expectancy, rates of chronic back pain have continued to rise. Likewise the number of spinal operations.

Due to the poor success rate and high incidence of complications in spinal surgery, non-surgical spinal decompression was invented. It all started when Dr. Allan Dyer MD, Ph.D., former Canadian Minister of Health and former medical researcher who was already recognized as a pioneer in the development of the external cardiac defibrillator, conceived and developed this new technology in a way that is very different from traction devices. By combining his understanding of physiology with the basic principles of physics, Dr. Dyer found that applying sufficient axial load to the spine would create a vacuum within the disc and that in turn this could reduce the protrusion of a herniated disc.

Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy is achieved through the use of an FDA-cleared, computer-controlled table that gently stretches the spine, relieving pressure on discs, joints, and connective tissue. Unlike traction machines, spinal decompression tables are able to sense resistance from your muscles and adapt to that resistance, causing your body to relax. Amazingly, the spinal decompression table is able to do this with little to no patient discomfort. This is due to the table’s ability to comfortably remove pressure on the discs to allow them to heal. The key to nonsurgical decompression therapy is controlled, slow stretching. This creates a vacuum in the disc that naturally pulls the bulging disc material back into place while fluids and nutrients are pushed into the disc. This action reduces pain and allows the disc to heal.

I’m often asked if decompression is the same as an inversion table or traction. The answer is no, non-surgical decompression tables are not the same as inversion or traction units. In inversion, the traction force is created by your weight, and the only control over that force is the angle at which you hang. The force is constant unless you change the angle. In a spinal decompression, there is a controlled force. The application of pressure, the maximum and minimum force applied, and the length of time the pressure is applied are all controlled by the table’s computer. The pattern of changing pressure creates a pumping action that creates a vacuum that naturally pulls bulging disc material back into place, relieving pain and allowing the disc to heal. As an added bonus, it improves blood circulation. This is particularly important when disc disease is involved, as discs do not have a direct blood supply. Thus, the nutrients that the disc needs to heal are pushed into the disc along with water to rehydrate the disc.

To check this, non-surgical spinal decompression therapy is used to reduce nerve compression and irritation caused by disc and joint disease. For many patients, it offers a safe, narcotic-free, and non-surgical solution to chronic spinal conditions.

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dr Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor with Natural Spine Solutions. The shop is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene. For more information please contact us at 208-966-4425.