Spinal Decompression Specialist Monmouth County NJ

Dr. Tom Gustafson, of the Active Healing Center for Wellness, provides spinal decompression, a non-invasive form of traction, as one of a variety of chiropractic services to help patients with back pain. . Dr. Gustafson practice services the Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex county area.

Spinal Decompression Q & A

by Tom Gustafson, DC

Why Do People Develop Back Pain?

Although serious conditions like fracture and spinal cord tumors can cause back pain, in many cases, this condition is the result of longstanding habits like poor body mechanics or posture. Degeneration of the spine, particularly the discs that separate and cushion the spine bones (vertebrae), is another concern. As people age, the flow of nutrients to the discs gradually slows, which makes them more susceptible to injury and degeneration. Obesity (especially when accompanied by a protruding abdomen) and weak abdominal or back muscles can also be a factor.

What is Spinal Decompression?

The focus of spinal decompression is to relieve pressure on the discs. Gently stretching the spine and pulling the vertebrae apart allows the discs to return to normal position. It also relieves pressure on the spinal cord and promotes the flow of nutrients to the discs. Pain and/or numbness from compression on the nerves can often be relieved by spinal decompression. The therapy is usually used for conditions like spinal arthritis, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis — narrowing of the spinal canal.

What’s the Treatment Like?

Spinal decompression is performed with a special motorized table with a movable bottom section. The patient lies either face up or face down, with a special harness around the hips that is attached to the bottom of the table. When the table is activated, it slowly moves back and forth, gradually applying and then releasing traction on the spine. Patients report they can feel the stretch with spinal decompression, but it doesn’t usually cause any discomfort.

Is Spinal Decompression Effective?

Research on spinal decompression is limited, as it is a relatively new therapy. However, spinal traction has long been used for back pain. Patient responses vary, as is common with most medical therapies. In some cases, spinal decompression is very effective in relieving pain and spasm. Some patients report immediate relief, while others need several treatments before they notice effects. The patient and chiropractor should discuss this as well as other therapeutic options when developing a treatment plan.