Spinal Decompression vs Surgical Options: Making an Informed Choice

Unleashing Relief: Why Spinal Decompression Might Be Your Answer to Back Pain

Lower back pain, a pervasive global condition, affects most individuals at some point in their lives and for many of us it becomes increasingly prevalent with age. Traditionally, surgery has been a primary response, aiming to directly address the source of pain through intervention

However, spinal decompression provides a non-surgical alternative, prompting the question: when facing chronic back pain, which option should you choose?

A Comparative Analysis of Spinal Decompression and Surgery

Understanding whether a surgical or a non-surgical solution is needed to treat  your back pain can help you make an informed decision.

Surgical Options for Low Back Pain

Doctors may recommend surgery for spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column), spondylolisthesis (one or more bones in the spine slip out of space), herniated disks, vertebral fractures, or degenerative disk disease.

Surgical options might include a discectomy to remove a herniated disk that is pressing on a nerve or the spinal cord, spinal laminectomy to relieve stenosis, plasma disk decompression, which uses a laser to reduce the size of a disk, or spinal fusion, where a disk is removed and the vertebrae are fused together.

The surgery recommended will depend on the precise condition and how severe the damage is. For example, a spinal fusion is typically a last resort for an extremely damaged disc.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression is a non-surgical option that can offer significant relief. You will lie on a specially designed traction table that gently pulls the vertebrae of your spine apart. This can allow bones or disks to move back into place. With many tables, there are three stages, gentle traction to relieve pain and pressure, a custom force to help discs return, and then a relaxation period.

Risks and Benefits of Surgical Intervention

Doctors and back pain specialists will typically only recommend back surgery when non-surgical treatments such as painkillers and physical therapy have failed. One risk of back surgery is that it does not always work, resulting in no improvement or even worse pain. All surgery also carries the risk of infection or a bad reaction to anesthesia, and surgery close to the spine carries the risk of paralysis. Surgeons perform most back surgeries laparoscopically, which shortens procedure time and reduces risk. Some forms of surgery may also have a long recovery time.

However, surgery is sometimes the only way back to a pain-free life and restored range of motion. When done correctly, back surgery allows you to take fewer drugs and avoid additional treatments.

Non-Invasive Alternatives to Traditional Surgery

Spinal decompression therapy has become more mainstream as patients have become more knowledgeable and more apt to seek out non-surgical treatments. Surgery is often seen as a last resort to address chronic back pain, this is where Spinal Decompression Therapy can help. An advanced form is intervertebral differential dynamics (IDD) therapy. This treatment is computer-controlled, dynamic and more effective than older manual tables. Spinal decompression therapy often eliminates the need for surgery (but surgery remains an option if needed).

Other treatments for back pain include controlled exercise, physical therapy, drugs (typically painkillers and muscle relaxants), and massage. They might also recommend lifestyle modifications, including changing how you lift heavy objects. Acupuncture is also effective for low back pain.

Use spinal decompression therapy as part of an overall plan to restore health and pain-free mobility to your back. It is an effective, non-invasive treatment for low back pain that involves no surgery or drugs, and can help you avoid the former and reduce the latter.

If you have low back pain, contact Dickason Chiropractic today to schedule a consultation and find out if spinal decompression therapy can help you return to your pain-free life.