Spinal Decompression Surgery

What is Spinal Decompression Surgery?

Spinal decompression surgery is a broad term that includes several different procedures used to relieve the signs and symptoms caused by compression or pressure on the nerve roots or spinal cord. Bony growths, bulging discs, loosened ligaments or thickened joints can cause narrowing of the spinal canal and narrow the foramen, or spinal nerve openings, causing inflammation and irritation.

People with lasting back pain and other related symptoms may be unable to think of little else except finding relief because of how disruptive it is to live. Some people turn to spinal decompression therapy, either surgical or nonsurgical.

Spinal decompression therapy involves stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar motorized device, with the goal of relieving back pain and/or leg pain. This procedure is called nonsurgical decompression therapy (as opposed to surgical spinal decompression, such as laminectomy and microdiscectomy).

Spinal decompression devices use the same basic principle of spinal traction that has been offered by chiropractors, osteopaths, and other appropriately trained health professionals for many years. Both traction and decompression therapy are applied to the goals of relieving pain and promoting an optimal healing environment for bulging, degenerating, or herniated discs.

Spinal decompression is a type of traction therapy applied to the spine. The spine is stretched and relaxed intermittently in a controlled manner in an attempt to bring about several theoretical benefits including creating negative intradiscal pressure to promote retraction or repositioning of the herniated or bulging disc material and creating a lower pressure in the disc that will cause an influx and passage of healing nutrients and other substances into the disc and fosters a better healing environment. The patient should not feel pain during or after the decompression therapy although they should feel a stretch in the spine.

Spinal nerve compression causes symptoms such as:

- Muscle weakness

- Pain

- Unsteadiness

- Numbness

- Tingling

- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control

- Paralysis

Spinal decompression surgery is usually the last resort. It is another option for treating certain types of back pain. If other measures don't work, a spinal decompression surgery for bulging or ruptured disks, bony growths, or other spinal problems is suggested. Surgery may help relieve symptoms from pressure on the spinal cord or nerves, including pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.

The following are the more common types of back surgery:

- Discectomy: a portion of the disk is removed to relieve pressure on nerves.

- Laminotomy or laminectomy: A surgeon removes a small portion of the bone (a section of the bony arch or the entire bony arch) to increase the size of the spinal canal and relieve pressure.

- Foraminotomy or foraminectomy: A surgeon removes bone and other tissue to expand the openings for nerve roots.

- Osteophyte removal: During the surgery, bony growths are removed.

- Corpectomy: This procedure involves removing a vertebral body along with disks between the vertebrae.

As with any surgery, there are risks. Some of the more common risks associated with spinal decompression surgery are infection, bleeding, blood clots, allergic reaction to anesthesia, nerve or tissue damage. Another risk is that it may not improve back pain much. It can be difficult to determine who will benefit from spinal decompression surgery.

Sometimes, a combination of procedures is used and fusion of vertebrae may also be needed to add stability to the spine.

What are the risks of spinal decompression surgery?

The risks associated with these procedures include:

- Infection,

- Bleeding,

- Blood clots,

- Nerve or tissue damage,

- Allergic reaction to anesthesia.

Spinal Decompression Therapy Procedure

Patients are fully clothed during spinal decompression therapy. The doctor fits patients with a harness around the pelvis and another around the trunk. The patient either lie face down or face up on a computer-controlled table. A doctor operates the computer, customizing treatment to specific needs. Treatment may last 30 to 45 minutes and you may require 20 to 28 treatments over five to seven weeks. Before or after therapy, patients may have other types of treatment, such as Electrical stimulation (the electric current that causes certain muscles to contract), Ultrasound (the use of sound waves to generate heat and promote healing), Heat or cold therapy.
While spinal decompression therapy may be recommended as a potential treatment for a variety of lower back pain conditions, as with all lower back pain treatments, it is the patient's decision whether or not to have the treatment.
Although the risk is low, the benefit of these treatments is not established. It is still the discretion of a Physician whether or not a patient is a good candidate for nonsurgical spinal decompression or not. It is not recommended for pregnant women. People with fracture, tumor, abdominal aortic aneurysm, advanced osteoporosis, and metal implants in the spine should not have nonsurgical spinal decompression.

Recovering from spinal decompression surgery

Length of stay in the hospital depends on the type of surgery you had completed. You will be given pain medication to keep you comfortable so you can participate in therapy. Rehabilitation typically includes physical therapy.

Is spinal decompression surgery successful?

At least 80 to 90% of patients who have surgery to relieve pressure on their nerve roots experience successful outcomes. A possibility exists for the symptoms to return, as decompression does not treat the degeneration of the spine due to the normal wear and tear associated with aging.

You might also like to read:
- Scoliosis Surgery,
- Smith-Peterson Osteotomy.

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Questions & Answers
Q:
What is the best way to treat permanent back and neck pain and stiffness?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Use a telephone headset

Never hold a phone between your shoulder and your ear. Use a headset or other hands-free system to talk on the phone and avoid abusing your neck and spine.

Neck Pain Tips: Exercise your neck muscles

One of the best neck pain tips is using the chin tuck. You can do this often throughout the day. In addition to helping strengthen the muscles that hold the head in alignment over the shoulders, it also helps strengthen the scalene and sub-occipital muscles.

Read more tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
What is the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder Pain?
A:

One of the best treatment for neck pain and shoulder pain is exercises:

Neck Pain Exercises: Neck Extension

  1. To begin this neck pain exercise, sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the palm of your hand on the back of your neck, at the base of your head
  4. Apply slight forward pressure with your hand, while resisting the forward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

Neck pain exercises: Side bend

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place your left hand, palm down, on the left side of your head (around your ear)
  4. Slightly push your head to the right side with your hand, while resisting the sideways motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat 5-10 times
  7. Repeat the neck pain exercises with the other side.

Neck pain exercises: Neck flexion

  1. Sit up straight in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Looking straight ahead, tuck your chin slightly (starting position)
  3. Place the tips of your fingers on your forehead
  4. Slightly push your head backward with your fingers, while resisting the backward motion of your neck and head
  5. Hold for a count of 5 and return to the starting position and relax.
  6. Repeat the neck pain exercises 5-10 times

More exercises here: Neck Pain Exercises

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Temed Holdings
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Q:
How do I reduce the shoulder and neck pain?
A:

Here are some tips:

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep with a cervical pillow

Orthopedic or cervical pillows are made with special contours to support the space beneath the neck and head. They are also more concave for the head and provide more support to the neck.

Neck Pain Tips: Sleep on your back

The best position to lie to sleep is on your back. If you sleep on your stomach or on your side, make sure your pillow is not too thick. It should raise your head no more than 4 to 6 inches. This will keep your neck and head from turning to either side.

Neck Pain Tips: Position your computer screen at eye level

While you are working at a computer, sit comfortably in your chair with your computer in front of you. Close your eyes and then open them. When you open your eyes, you should see the middle of the computer screen. If your gaze is not in the middle of the screen, adjust the height of the screen using items like books.

To keep your head from gradually drifting forward, take frequent breaks to stretch. Getting up to walk around at least once every half-hour is one of the best neck pain tips.

Neck Pain Tips: Carry weight evenly

Many people make the mistake of carrying a heavy briefcase or their purse on their shoulder or on one side of their body. Doing this causes strain in the muscles and leads to pain.

Remove non-essentials from your briefcase or purse. Consider using a backpack to evenly distribute the weight across your shoulders. If you choose to carry a purse or backpack, keep your shoulders level while carrying it.

Neck Pain Tips: Maintain a proper posture

The most common posture contributing to neck pain is the “head-and-shoulders-forward” posture. In this position, the neck slopes forward, putting the head in front of the shoulders.

In this position, the head pulls the upper back forward also in a slumped position. This places a strain on the entire spinal column.

More tips here: Neck Pain Tips: Sleeping, Posture, Exercising, Hydration & Prevention

Read more
Temed Holdings
4 answers