If you’ve never experienced lower back pain, chances are you will at some point in your life. Studies show about 80% of adults suffer from this condition. Because so many working Canadians sit at a computer for hours a day, lower back pain has become one of the leading causes of missed work and job-related disabilities in the country. It affects men and women equally, and many people experience the condition as a dull constant ache while others feel sharp throbbing sensations. Lower back pain can be the result of sports-related activity, a motor vehicle accident or an aging spine.
According to Bone and Joint Canada, Canadians spend between $6 and $12 billion per year on medical expenses related to lower back pain. This estimated figure does not include additional costs associated with loss in worker productivity and disability payments. When patients complain of lower back pain, many of them are referred to a spine surgeon. There is, however, an extensive waiting list. And once they do see a specialist, many patients are disappointed to discover surgery is not even viable. It’s because of this inefficiency in treatment options that many Canadians resort to the prolonged use of prescription medications instead.
What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?
If you suffer from lower back pain, a rehabilitation clinic like Focus Physiotherapy can provide non-surgical relief. Spinal decompression therapy is an effective treatment option that uses a motorized traction to stretch out the spine. This change of position takes pressure off the spinal disks, which are gel-like cushions. Bulged or herniated disks will retract—allowing oxygen, water and other nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can properly heal.
During spinal decompression therapy, you are fully clothed. Your physiotherapist will place a harness around your pelvis and another one around your trunk. You will lie either face up or face down on a motorized table. The physiotherapist will then use a programming device to slowly move the table vertically to stretch the spine. All treatment sessions can be customized to suit your specific needs. The procedure is very safe with many patients actually falling asleep during treatment. Although many people will feel results after just one session of decompression therapy, it may take several sessions to notice lasting benefits.
Why Do Patients Favour Spinal Decompression Over Surgery?
Many experts say back surgery has a success rate of only 25% while decompression therapy averages about 86%. There are also many risks associated with back surgery including scarring, increased use of medicated painkillers, longer recovery periods and an increased chance of needing further surgery. One out of four patients report being dissatisfied two years later and only a quarter of patients end up returning to work.
Here are some reasons why spinal decompression may be better than surgery:
- Painless and relaxing treatments that are only 20-30 minutes long
- Less expensive option with faster recovery times
- Side effects, if any, may include minor muscle spasms
Furthermore, decompression therapy can treat much more than just back pain. Consider this safe alternative if you suffer from neck pain or sciatica, which is pain or tingling that extends down the leg. Decompression can relieve herniated discs or degenerative disc disease. Worn spinal joints and injured spinal nerve roots can also benefit from this type of treatment.
What Treatments Can be Used in Conjunction?
Spinal decompression works best when used in conjunction with a physical therapy regimen. Many physiotherapists will recommend combining treatments with an effective core-strengthening program that targets postural muscles. Exercise and massage should also be performed regularly for noticeable results.
At Focus Physiotherapy, each patient will receive a customized treatment program tailored to their specific needs. In addition to spinal decompression, our team will choose from a wide range of therapies to maximize results. Manual therapies can include resistance training and stretching while our exercise programs can include muscle strengthening and posture retraining. We also make use of effective laser and ultrasound techniques to generate heat and promote healing.
Whether you’ve been involved in a car accident or have suffered a sports-related injury, lower back pain is a treatable condition. Reclaim your health and return to normal activities with spinal decompression therapy. It’s no wonder why thousands of Canadians are choosing to avoid surgery in favour of this safe, drug-free approach.
For more information on spinal decompression therapy, please call Focus Physiotherapy at 1-888-341-6101 or contact us here.