As spine treatment centres pop up in my city, I’ve noticed that many of these facilities (usually run by chiropractors), offer Spinal Decompression Therapy to relieve pressure on herniated or degenerative discs.
The basic premise of SDT involves laying on some sort of traction table, hooked up to a computer with electronic pulses stimulating certain muscle groups. By taking pressure off the disks, which function like gel cushions between the bones in your spine, the bulging or herniated disks can retract, taking pressure off nerves. With less pressure, the spine can move more freely increasing the movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids which promotes healing.
Of the more common types of back surgery to relieve disc related pain, Spinal Fusion seems to be the most complex involving implants and bone grafts.Â Here’s how a spinal fusion isÂ performed.
After several lengthy discussions with my Orthopedic surgeon and Neurosurgeon, I’ve been told that a spinal fusion will be a last resort if all other treatment methods fail.Â From my conversations, it seems like surgeons want to avoid this type of surgery as it’s difficult to determine exactly where the pain is coming from.Â As Dr. Peter Ulrich states “spinal fusion surgery only works for specific indications and only can work if we can identify what the specific pain generator for the patient is. Probably 80-90% of the time, the pain generator can’t be identified.”