Back Pain Treatment: Spinal Decompression Therapy Can Help

Are you suffering from back pain? Looking for the best back pain treatment? Or maybe it’s not you who is in pain but someone you love. It is hard when someone you love is hurting and you can’t help. The experts on our Medical and Scientific Board have advice to help you get started in the right direction.

Back Pain Explained

There are many reasons for back pain, and back pain treatments include more options than ever these days. The key is to get the correct diagnosis so you will know how to treat the pain. Here are some treatment options you may discuss with your doctor. 

You may be a candidate for spinal decompression surgery if you have:

  • Significant pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms, legs, or feet. The pain started in your back but now seems to have moved to your arms, legs, or feet. 
  • Difficulty in balancing, walking, and standing for a long time. Quality of life can be affected by the inability to stand or walk. 
  • Your pain does not improve with physical therapy or medication. Physical therapy may seem to make the pain worse initially. Any physical activity is painful. 
  • Diagnostic tests that show stenosis in the central canal or lateral recess.

Spinal decompression does not cure arthritis or heal spinal stenosis but it may relieve the pain, eliminate the symptoms, and let you get back to your life. Unfortunately, this does not mean you will never need spinal treatment again. As the degenerative aging process continues, additional spinal decompression therapy may become necessary.

How Can I Benefit from Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Narrowing or stenosis of the spinal cord and nerve root canals causes chronic pain, numbness, and muscle weakness in your arms or legs. Treatment options for spinal decompression therapy include medication, physical therapy, and surgery. Surgical treatments are opted for if the pain is severe and/or if there are any neurological problems. 

How Is the Need For Spinal Decompression Surgery Diagnosed?

Be sure to clearly express yourself when describing your complaints and symptoms to your medical team. You must be thorough and accurate in what you tell them. Your surgeon will do some response tests and will order an MRI or CT.  The result of these tests will provide the specific information that your physician needs to help you decide the level that is best for you. There are several options for spinal decompression therapy.

Spinal Decompression Surgeries 

Some of the surgical options that are available are listed below. Your surgeon will review the results of your tests and discuss the options with you.

  • Discectomy is the removal of a small portion of a bulging or degenerative disc to relieve pressure on the nerves. The problematic disc may be caused by a slipped disc or bone spur.
  • Laminoplasty is the expansion of the spinal canal by cutting the laminae on one side and swinging them open like a door. Only cervical surgery is available.
  • Foraminotomy is the removal of bone around the canal where the nerve root exits the spine. This method is used when disc height collapses and pinches a nerve.
  • Laminotomy is the removal of a small portion of the lamina and ligaments, just to relieve the pressure on the nerve in a certain spot.
  • Laminectomy is the removal of the entire bony lamina, a portion of the enlarged facet joints, and the ligaments overlying the spinal cord and nerves. This pressure can cause pain, weakness, or numbness that can radiate down your arms or legs. 

Check out our Patient Journey to get started on the path toward the right back pain treatment for you. Check out Spine-Talks for video content on all things back and neck pain.