Phase 1: The Treatment Begins
DTS - Decompression Therapy System
Spinal Decompression Therapy is performed on a specially designed table in either a face up or face down position. Clinical consideration and your comfort are used in deciding which position will be best for you. We may begin in one position but in later sessions it may be necessary to change positions. You will remain fully dressed during the treatment.
You will be comfortably positioned on the table and fitted with a wrap-around harness. This restraint is what allows the unloading of the spine and discs by the traction motor. Your position on the table, the harness, and angle of the gentle distraction allows for accurate and focused treatment to the affected disc. Once comfortable on the table the computer controlled traction device is programmed to deliver a gentle stretching force to the spinal vertebra. This force is delivered directly to the harness system. The system applies the gentle force then releases it approximately every minute throughout the session. The total treatment time is usually less than 18 minutes and often just 10 minutes initially. Most patients report simply feeling a subtle and gentle stretching at their lower back or around their hips. Since Decompression Therapy is a comfort-based procedure, patients usually report a sense of relief and relaxation during the session. Many patients even fall to sleep.
Imbibing The Discs
The gentle stretching and relaxing of the spine fosters a phenomenon called "imbibition". In the simplest of terms, this is the way a normal disc gets nutrition. This pumping action promotes nutrition intake into the discs, something often lost in damaged and degenerative disc conditions. In healthy discs, imbibition occurs naturally with daily motions and body positions and accounts for the increase of disc thickness in the morning and decrease at night. A disc with poor imbibition, fewer nutrients and hydration, is more likely to become injured and painful. Stretching, or tractioning the spine in a controlled, comfortable manner can help re-establish a more normal imbibition. This can re-supply the disc with nutrients and blood contact that help the disc heal from the inside out. Also the dramatic decrease of pressure in the disc (decompression) can foster the drawing in of a bulge and help take pressure off a "pinched" spinal nerve.
Re-Establish Structural Support Although most patients report dramatic reduction of their pain within as few as five treatments, an injured spinal disc needs time to heal. This is why we urge you to be regular with your prescribed treatments and office visits. Research shows to completely heal some discs a regular program of home exercises, prescribed by your doctor will need to be followed. Spinal disc structures can take months to heal. Even though your pain may be gone, you must stay on the treatment plan in order to keep your spine healthy. As you become more mobile and more able to return to your normal lifestyle, your increased activity is what your spine needs most. Now you will be imbibing the discs naturally, like people with healthy discs. Movement is life, and your spine depends on the muscle activity to support your spine, and create fluid movement to and from the discs.
Phase 2: Stabilization of Structure
Pain Is Under Control: Rehabilitate The Structures Supporting the Disc
Most patients feel significant pain reduction in as few as five treatments. That however does not mean the healing process is complete, or that your pain won't return. During Phase 2 of your Decompression Therapy Treatments, our office will prescribe a series of rehabilitative measures in order to more fully heal your discs, and keep the pain from returning. Most low back pain sufferers have two compounding problems that have contributed to their disc injury and limited their natural healing abilities.
- Decreased Spine Flexibility
- Poor Muscle Control
A program of focused rehabilitative exercise may begin during or after your DTS therapy course of treatment. Our rehabilitation program involves several clinically effective yet simple, pain-free activities. Strengthening the muscles that support the spine, and regaining endurance in them is vital for spinal health. All the body systems must work in concert for optimum health so nutritional and lifestyle advice may be given as well as an at-home exercise program. We can't over emphasize the importance of the at-home exercises. What you do at home is integral to the overall success we have. Studies show consistent stabilization and endurance exercises control back pain and reduce injury. At what point you start the exercise program is a function of your pain and overall progress based on our findings.
Phase 3: Support of Muscular System
Keeping Up The Good Work
During Phase 3, we'll structure an in-office and home-based exercise program that will help to bring your spine back to full health. This exercise program may include in-office resistance training, at home Stabilizer exerciser and resistance training and other "core" exercises. Regular and consistent home-based exercise is one of the keys to long-term relief. We have found through experience the simple home-based exercises we prescribe are most effective. Introduction to the low tech movement exercises you can do to speed the healing process are one of the most important parts of the Decompression Therapy System.