If you have lasting back pain and other related symptoms, you know how disruptive to your life it can be. You may be unable to think of little else except finding relief. Some people turn to spinal decompression therapy -- either surgical or nonsurgical. Here's what you need to know to help decide whether it might be right for you.
What Is Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression?
Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction that may help relieve back pain. Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine. That changes the force and position of the spine. This change takes pressure off the spinal disks, which are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine, by creating negative pressure in the disc. As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. This in turn, helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.
Doctors have used nonsurgical spinal decompression to treat:
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Alabama Laser Spine Decompression
Pain Relief Without Surgery (256) 539-1000
Alabama Laser Spine is committed to the diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of the spine. Alabama Laser Spine is the home of LADR Protocol (pronounced ladder) utilizing Cutting Edge MLS Robotic Laser technology and Vax-D Decompression Traction together in the LADR Protocol (Laser Assisted Decompression Traction Rehabilitation). The LADR Protocol is now here in Huntsville and the Tennessee Valley. Our Clinic is proud to be on the medical technology forefront by offering the LADR Protocol using the FDA approved MLS Robotic Laser Therapy and the FDA approved Vax-D Decompression Therapy along with Rehabilitation. We have invested in what we believe is the very best Laser and Decompression technology available in the US in our quest to offer you the finest in health care and pain therapy. The LADR Protocol adds these two together much like adding yellow and green and getting blue. Something entirely different and wonderful. This might just be the solution you have been looking for.
What is the science and research behind all this. Spinal decompression is the relief of pressure on one or many pinched nerves (neural impingement) of the spinal column. A primary focus of decompression (surgical or non-surgical) is to remove "pressure" or reduce mechanical compression on a neural element: either the spinal cord, or a nerve root. But it is increasingly recognized that back pain, rather than being solely due to compression, may instead be primarily due to chemical inflammation of the nerve root, "chemical radiculitis."  It has been known for several decades that disc herniations result in a massive inflammation of the associated nerve root. In the past five years increasing evidence has pointed to a specific inflammatory mediator of this pain. This inflammatory molecule, called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF), is released not only by the bulging, herniated or protruding disc, but also in cases of disc tear (annular tear), by facet joints, and in spinal stenosis. In addition to causing pain and inflammation, TNF may also contribute to disc degeneration.
The theory behind non-surgical spinal decompression is that significant distractive forces, when applied to the lumbar spine can create a negative pressure in the center of the intervertebral disc, thereby creating a suctioning effect or vacuum phenomenon in order to retract or reduce the size of the herniated or bulging disc's gelatinous internal nucleus pulposus, thus diminishing or eliminating nerve compression, while at the same time creating an osmotic gradient which helps bring nutrients and water into the disc. Since intervertebral discs have poor circulation, they depend upon receiving their nutrition through diffusion across the end plates of the vertebrae above and below. Non-surgical spinal decompression was originally studied, developed and perfected by Dr. Allan Dyer, PhD, MD in 1985 and the first non-surgical spinal decompression table, the Vax-D was introduced by him in 1991.
Spinal decompression can be achieved non-surgically with Vax-D G2 tables and is used to treat conditions that result in chronic back and neck pain such as disc bulge, disc herniation, prolapsed disc, sciatica, stenosis, degenerative disc disease, facet disease, spondylolisthesis and other diagnosis of the spine. The success of the Vax-D table has been studied and published time and again with most studies demonstrating about an +-80% success rate. Read Studies
But spinal decompression traction with Vax-D is only 1/2 of the solution. The good news is that spinal decompression treats the mechanical problem (bulge or herniation) nicely. The bad news that spinal decompression does NOT treat the inflammation molecule tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF) that we talked about earlier.
For years in Europe, Laser and light technology has been researched, studied and tested and used in hundreds of hospitals, clinics and research facilities. Here in the United States many medical schools including Harvard have reproduced these findings. Even NASA studied light therapy here in Huntsville and published a paper on its significant pain relieving findings. University medical center hospitals, and doctors all over the country are embracing laser and light therapy in treating pain and inflammation. The laser treats the pain and inflammation specifically the TNFa molecule but it does not treat the mechanical compression of the spine.
Enter the LADR Protocol. The LADR Protocol, "Laser Assisted Decompression Rehabilitation," treats both the mechanical compression "pressure" on the neural element (spinal cord or nerve root) and the inflammation molecule TNFa, the primary cause of pain not caused by mechanical compression. Then we use Rehabilitation to stabilize and strengthen the spine and legs. The non-surgical decompression is done with the renowned Vax-D Table while the pain and inflammation molecule TNFa is treated with the Cutting Edge MLS Robotic Laser. The marriage or combination of the two completes both halves of the whole treatment. If you have had decompression traction in the past or laser for low back pain then you have had 1/2 the necessary treatment. Just like adding yellow and green to make blue the addition of Laser and Decompression Traction makes something new and wonderful.
At Alabama Laser Spine we treat all spine related pain and inflammation problems. We treat problems like Herniated, Bulged and Prolapsed disc; Stenosis, Degenerative Disc Disease and Degenerative Facet Disease; Radiculopathy or Sciatica (pain or weakness down a leg or arm) Our sister company the Laser Pain Center Huntsville treats non-spinal related problems. We offer a Free* No Cost Seminars and Talks with our Doctors explaining demonstrating the LADR Protocol. All you have to do is call. (256) 539-1000. Seating Limited.
 "spinal decompression - definition of spinal decompression in the Medical dictionary - by the Free Online Medical Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia". Medical- dictionary.thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2010-12-18.
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 McCarron RF, Wimpee MW, Hudkins PG, Laros GS (Oct 1987). "The inflammatory effect of nucleus pulposus. A possible element in the pathogenesis of low-back pain". Spine 12 (8): 760–4. doi:10.1097/00007632-198710000-00009. PMID 2961088.
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 Sakuma Y, Ohtori S, Miyagi M et al. (Aug 2007). "Up-regulation of p55 TNF alpha-receptor in dorsal root ganglia neurons following lumbar facet joint injury in rats". Eur Spine J 16 (8): 1273–8. doi:10.1007/s00586-007-0365-3. PMC 2200776. PMID 17468886.
 Sekiguchi M, Kikuchi S, Myers RR (May 2004). "Experimental spinal stenosis: relationship between degree of cauda equina compression, neuropathology, and pain". Spine 29 (10): 1105–11. doi:10.1097/00007632-200405150-00011. PMID 15131438.
 Séguin CA, Pilliar RM, Roughley PJ, Kandel RA (Sep 2005). "Tumor necrosis factor-alpha modulates matrix production and catabolism in nucleus pulposus tissue". Spine 30 (17): 1940–8.doi:10.1097/01.brs.0000176188.40263.f9. PMID 16135983.
Spinal Decompression Therapy involves stretching the spine, using a special computerized table with the goal of relieving back pain and/or leg pain and promoting an optimal healing environment for bulging, degenerating, or herniated discs.
In nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy, the spine is stretched and relaxed intermittently in a controlled manner. The theory is that this process creates a negative intradiscal pressure (pressure within the disc itself), which is thought to have two potential benefits: