When Is Spinal Decompression My Right Choice?

Thousands of back pain sufferers continue to seek medical help to ease or eradicate their spinal problems. As our bodies age, the degree of pain and damage to our spinal system can increase for many reasons. In our youth, it would have been ideal to be handed a crystal ball and set of red flags to alert us of the impending damage that our bodies would experience during our life span. We could then begin to plan “preventative maintenance” of our spinal system to avert irreversible spinal problems. Unfortunately, the reasons for our back pain problems are made aware to us in our later years by medical professionals following that dreaded doctor’s visit. As many of us have heard often, our backs may have gone through accidents and trauma that resulted in muscle, nerve, bone, and tissue damage to our spine. Other causes may have been physical abuse due to impact sports, incorrect weight training, construction heavy lifting, sitting in the office extended periods, daily poor posture, and a myriad of other non-conforming body movements that ultimately threw the spinal system out of alignment with the rest of our limbs and body.

It is man’s experience historically, that back pain becomes more noticeable and serious enough after 25 plus years of age. During this early period and for the next 10 years, pain sufferers either take the high road or low road to recovery (or prevention) if you will. In other words, that person will either exercise while staying active regularly, addressing certain body movements that will slow down the damaging back pain symptoms or, he will choose a sedentary or limited lifestyle that will only worsen the unknown causes of his back pain. Unfortunately, by the age of 35 to 50 years, back pain sufferers begin to flood the offices of orthopedic doctors, chiropractors, physiotherapists, only to be told following an x-ray, MRI and other tests, that their back pain condition and physical being are in the serious stages. At this point, the patient is diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis or herniated discs, resulting in pinched nerves and sciatica. Perhaps his condition is one of scoliosis, a misalignment of the spine, or degenerative disk disease due to arthritis, or spondylolisthesis, a slipping of the lumbar vertebrae in the lower spine.

The question then becomes how to treat the patient’s particular spinal problem. Depending on the patient’s diagnosis and spinal demise, he will be advised of his options as to the best treatment program by medical professionals. These can range from epidural shots in the lumbar, thoracic, or cervical sections of the spine; prescribed medication such as hydrocodone for pain relief, naproxen for inflammation of spinal parts, or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS); physical therapy to strengthen core and back muscles that support the spinal sections; and last but not least, the dreaded surgery in extreme cases.

So, having presented the medical side of the back pain sufferer’s dilemma, there are options outside of the medical arena that are worthy of consideration by the back pain sufferer. These options should be considered carefully in conjunction with the knowledge and understanding that the back pain sufferer has gained during the discovery and diagnosis stages of his condition. It is not implied that this person should attempt to diagnose his own back pain problem nor should he take medications that are not prescribed by his doctor for his particular back pain condition.

Option 1 – He can embark on a program of self-administered natural health supplements and healing aids in lieu of damaging NSAIDS as mentioned earlier.

Option 2 – He can pursue corrective exercises and activities which are assisted or self-administered under the direction and resources of spine medical facilities or professional health organizations such as the Back Pain Institute. One such program focuses on the merits of using “Spinal Decompression” for back pain relief. The degree of treatment using this method can vary from opting for a costly high level specialty staff to provide the service, to what we’ll refer to as a lower level self-directed endeavor.

What is Spinal Decompression?

Most everyone will experience compression of the spinal bone and vertebrae system due to gravity, as they get older. This mechanism ultimately results in muscle imbalances that create poor posture and may result in herniated or bulging discs that result in pinched nerves that cause back pain symptoms.

Spinal decompression occurs when your body is placed in an inverted position (hence Inversion Therapy), or any stretching exercise or mechanism, that relieves the pressure on the spinal system. The most common form of achieving self-induced spinal decompression is by using an “inversion table” at home. A lesser scaled-down back stretching program can be accomplished using the Nubax Trio decompression device.

When Should You Consider the Spinal Decompression Option?

To answer this, let’s consider two arguments.

First, if you are being seen by an orthopedic or spine specialist, you will almost always be administered a traditional program as related to your particular problem. In basic terms, he will perform diagnostics using x-rays, ultrasounds, or MRI to form his conclusion about your condition; then he will prescribe pain killers, initiate epidural shots in the problem area, or suggest back surgery. However, these doctors will almost never recommend or suggest Spinal Decompression. There are perhaps many pros and cons regarding this approach which suggests that it is either not very lucrative for them, or there are still differences of opinion as to the validity of such a method yielding reliable or safe results.

Secondly, there are medical professionals who actually practice the art of administering Spinal Decompression using “inversion therapy” under controlled conditions (intermittent stretching). Although inversion therapy has been around for a long time, technology has only recently yielded modern inversion equipment and facilities, and there are now specialty medical personnel willing to set up shop for this service. It is recommended that anyone considering an inversion or spinal decompression approach, first consult with your spine doctor to determine if you are a candidate, based on certain body limitations and restrictive conditions that may not be in your best interest. Keep in mind that many health insurance programs may not cover such professional services.

Choosing to pursue a self-administered decompression option can be a personal choice but it may come with risks. A person must realize whether his physical condition is capable of supporting repetitive stretching of his spine and other body parts when using for example a commercially available “Inversion Table” or other available back stretchers such as the Nubax Trio. Many stores such as Wal-Mart and Sporting Outlets sell inversion equipment but the “buyer beware” slogan is always implied. It is recommended that you purchase a quality inversion table such as the Teeter Hangups. Common sense should dictate whether such a purchase meets your needs without harming your body. Another factor to consider is your age. Most persons who are physically fit and well-conditioned in their early years will probably coast through a decompression session without adverse effects. This may not fare so well with older folks who lack the stamina and well-being necessary to meet the challenge.

You are probably one of many back pain sufferers who will be advised, by those who have “been there done that”, not to agree on back surgery because spinal decompression may very well relieve your symptoms and eradicate your problem. For those not wanting to seek chiropractic or physical therapy help for their back pain, consider a low-scale low-impact decompression home exercise program using the Nubax Trio stretching device. Most medical back-pain personnel will emphasize the importance of supplementing back stretching with strengthening one’s core and back muscles that support the spinal column. Many people have discovered their back pain gone or reduced after following a routine home decompression program along with other stretching and strengthening exercises.