Spinal decompression is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment for certain types of chronic back pain. Mechanical decompression works by slowly and gently stretching the spine, taking pressure off compressed discs and vertebrae. Spinal decompression is one of the most exciting medical treatments developed in many years, since it demonstrates good statistical results for long term pain relief.
Patients who suffer from neck and back pain commonly experience numbness, tingling, weakness, pain, and decreased function of the upper or lower limbs. These symptoms can be so unbearable that it affects sleep, work, and normal daily activities.
Extremity symptoms occur when the central disc material (Nucleus Pulposus) breaks through the protective outer disc rings (Annular Fibers) of the disc and move into the space occupied by a nerve or nerves that travel from the neck to the arm to the hand, or, from the back and down the leg to the foot or to the groin area.
The following are common techniques for decompression:
Diskectomy: This involves removing a portion of a disk to relieve pressure on the nearby nerve roots. Laminotomy or laminectomy: These procedures involve removing a small part of the bony arches of the spinal canal, called the lamina. During a laminotomy, just a section of the lamina is removed. During a laminectomy, the entire lamina is removed. Removing the lamina increases the size of the spinal canal, relieving pressure. Foraminotomy or foraminectomy: Both procedures are performed to expand the openings for the nerve roots to exit the spinal cord by removing some bone and other tissue. A foraminectomy generally refers to a procedure that removes a large amount of bone and tissue. Osteophyte removal: This involves removing bony growths called osteophytes or bone spurs. Corpectomy: This is surgery to remove the body of a vertebra, as well as the disks.
A combination of techniques may be used; and in some cases, fusion of the vertebrae also is needed to stabilize the spine.
After the procedure, you will stay in the hospital for four or five days, depending on the extent of your surgery. You will be given medication to control pain. Rehabilitation may be lengthy and will likely include a program of physical therapy.
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