A NEW LEASE ON LIFE
How spinal decompression therapy can help you
The design of the human body means that, since our distant ancestors began walking upright, spinal decompression therapy has been a desirable and often vital treatment. Sadly for our ancestors, what was required was for science to catch up with a need that was not fully understood. But fortunately for current generations, the concept has now been defined and much study has been undertaken to find the best ways to carry it out.
What is spinal decompression therapy?
The basic idea is simple enough: the spinal column is a system of bones (vertebrae) with cushions (discs) between them as protection. The way we walk, the physical tasks we undertake and the amount that we sit in between bouts of exercise, often with bad posture, combine to place strains on our back that it was not originally designed to deal with.
Thus the spine becomes compressed, and often not even in a straight line, which causes the column to stiffen and contort. The discs can get pushed out of place or even damaged, and can aggravate the nerves that are present to alert us to harm.
Depending on the area of the spine that is affected, patients can experience discomfort and loss of mobility in the neck, or the insistent, sharply radiating pain of sciatica, where the discomfort is transferred and, as some sufferers say “it crackles down the legs like lightning”.
This in turn, the pain or underlying, nagging discomfort, can be linked to depression and the result can range from incapacitating pain to low-level chronic misery, a steady drain on our spirits that reduces a once-happy person to someone with a dark cloud constantly hanging over them.
How does it work?
By definition, spinal decompression therapy aims to reduce the compression and allow the column to expand back to a comfortable state. The process could be compared to plumping up a pillow or cushion that has been squashed by our body weight: once the natural texture is reestablished it can do its job properly again.
Spinal decompression therapy is a logical extension of the treatment that has been applied manually by chiropractors and osteopaths. But rather than a practitioner using just his or her hands, a specially designed, electrically operated apparatus carries out the process in a much more efficient manner.
What is the process?
The patient lies on a treatment table.
A harness is placed around the hips and is attached to the lower table near the feet.
The upper part of the table remains in a fixed position while the lower part, to which the patient is harnessed, slides back and forth to provide the traction and relaxation.
The word “traction”” is one that is bandied around when we joke about people needing treatment to combat the effects of physical assault. “You’ll end up in traction”, we say, and the truth is that traction does provide relief for many people with back problems. It’s a word that deserves a more affectionate connotation befitting the benefits it can bring.
Who can benefit from spinal compression therapy?
The therapy can help a broad range of people with back problems. While many patients whose problems are caused by a sedentary lifestyle will leave it until a severe problem occurs, therapy at an earlier stage can help prevent a serious problem developing.
Once an issue has established itself and is clearly not going to go away on its own, spinal compression therapy can work like a thorough overhaul of a car, rejuvenating the body and refreshing the spirits.
Perhaps a better question is “who is not eligible?” And the answer to that is: pregnant women; patients with broken vertebrae or who have had spinal fusion or who have an artificial disc, or other implants, in their spine; patients with failed back surgery and those who have had multiple surgeries without significant improvement.
In other words, if you have not had the sort of trouble that brackets you as having a problematic back, you could well benefit.
A good practitioner will very quickly tell you whether or not this is the path for you.
What are the benefits?
The spine is stretched and relaxed intermittently in a controlled manner. The theory is that this process reduces pressure within the disc itself, which pulls bulging or escaping material back into the disc and returns it to its natural shape. It is also thought to promote the entry of healing nutrients into the disc, creating a better environment for it to heal. The treatment has the added attraction of being a soothing, relaxing process.
Why is his better than surgery?
While surgical techniques have improved dramatically over the years, the trend today is to use simpler, gentler methods that leave the mechanics of the body untouched. Having surgery for this condition involves spending up to three days in hospital, plus a recovery period of 4-6 weeks. Surgery of this kind can involve removing slivers of bone to tackle the problem of irritation of the nerves. The spine is such a crucial part of the body that physical interference with it is to be avoided if at all possible. Spinal decompression therapy is non-invasive: it achieves results in a more subtle, natural way.
Why Doctor L?
Practising at Fairway Chiropractic and Rehab in Rowland Heights and serving the surrounding areas of Los Angeles, Dr. Nimesh Ladhawala (or Dr. L) is a highly skilled all-round chiropractor who offers spinal decompression therapy as part of a range of treatments including massage therapy, physical therapy and posture analysis. As one of the city’s leading experts on spinal decompression therapy, he brings to the area a solution to one of the 21st century’s most troublesome - yet avoidable - health issues.
Take advantage of this opportunity
When medical science comes up with a solution to a health issue that is affecting your life or that of a loved one, it makes sense to take advantage of it. Now that spinal decompression therapy is a recognised answer to an increasingly common problem, why suffer any longer? Help is at hand.
Got a question? Need clarification? Ask away and take the first step towards a return to a happier, more comfortable life.