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Spinal Decompression

"The spine is the tree of life.  Respect it."                                                                  - Martha Graham

If you’re affected by chronic neck pain, back pain, or sciatica, spinal decompression therapy is one of the safest and most efficient ways to relieve pain without having to resort to medication or surgery. That’s because decompression therapy, which involves the mechanical stretching of your spine, doesn’t merely reduce pain: it addresses it at its root. At Summit Health Group, Dr. Shay Shani offers spinal decompression therapy to patients from communities throughout the Los Angeles area.

What is spinal decompression therapy?

The primary goal of spinal decompression therapy is to relieve pain while promoting an optimal healing environment for degenerating, bulging, or ruptured spinal discs. The treatment technique is usually performed on a traction table, using the same basic principal to stretch the spine that chiropractors have been using for years.

How does spinal decompression work?

The therapy works by slowly and steadily stretching your spinal column, which helps relieve pressure on the discs that sit between the vertebrae of your spine. This action also creates a negative pressure inside the discs that allows them to retract, causing an inflow of nutrient-rich fluids and oxygen into the disc. Because this gentle technique stimulates and supports the body’s natural healing process, it’s a viable alternative to surgery for patients who are affected by disc trauma or damage.

What conditions can the therapy help address?

Spinal decompression therapy is designed to help restore spinal discs to a healthy, working order. It’s typically used to help heal the following:

  • Bulging discs: A disc that has pushed outside of its usual space in the spinal canal can put pressure on nerves and cause pain at the site and throughout your body. Left untreated, a bulging disc can rupture.

  • Herniated discs: A disc that cracks and oozes some of its soft, interior gel has ruptured, or become herniated. Herniated discs can affect nearby nerves, and may cause burning pain that radiates from your lower back down into your legs

  • Degenerated discs: A disc that’s affected by age-related degeneration may have low fluid or a tear in its tough exterior. Bone spurs located on the spine may also accompany it.

  • Disc problems can lead to a wide variety of symptoms, which is why correcting a disc condition through spinal decompression may help relieve neck and shoulder pain, lower back pain, sciatic nerve pain, and numbness or tingling in your legs. 


What is the treatment like?

Spinal decompression therapy takes place on a motorized table, the lower half of which moves when activated. To treat disc problems in your lower back, a harness is wrapped around your hips and attached to the bottom end of the table, near your feet. As the upper portion of the table remains fixed, the lower part of the table slides back and forth to decompress your spine and alleviate pressure slowly.

During this slow, gentle motion, you’ll feel your spine being intermittently stretched and relaxed. Each session lasts for about 15 to 20 minutes, and most patients benefit from having a series of 20 to 30 sessions, scheduled over the course of four to six weeks. 

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