Updated: Sep 12
How long does it take for nonsurgical decompression to work? This is a question that many people are interested in, and there is no easy answer. Nonsurgical decompression therapy is a treatment for spinal cord compression, and the time it takes for the therapy to be effective varies from person to person. This blog post will discuss the various factors that can affect how long it takes for non surgical decompression to work. We will also look at some of the research on this topic to make an informed decision about whether or not this treatment is right for you.
What is Non Surgical Decompression?
Nonsurgical decompression is a form of treatment for spinal cord compression. Spinal cord compression can be caused by anything that puts pressure on the spine, such as slipped discs or narrowing of the intervertebral space. The pressure results in compression of the nerves within the spinal canal, leading to symptoms like chronic pain and numbness or tingling in both arms or legs. The goal of non surgical decompression is to relieve pressure on the spine by freeing up space between the vertebrae through movement and stretching. This increases circulation to your nerves, giving them more room to breathe and reducing any swelling around them and irritation due to chemical imbalances within those tissues.
The Time it Takes for Nonsurgical Decompression to Work
While the goal of non surgical decompression is to relieve pressure from your spine, it takes some time before you will notice a difference. Many factors can affect how long it takes for non surgical decompression to work:
The location and size of the compression on the spine. If you have a herniated disc pressing against your spinal cord, this type of compression typically responds faster to treatment than spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal). However, if both stenosis and herniation are present, treatment works faster for this combined compression type than if only one were present.
Where in your body the symptoms are originating from. Intervertebral discs create pressure on nerves throughout the spine, so the location of your pain is a good indicator of where the compression occurs. For example, if you have sciatica (pain that radiates from the lower back down to your foot), then it follows that there are compressed nerve roots in your lumbar spine. Since this type of compression responds faster to treatment, your non surgical decompression treatment will likely work faster than if you have pain in your neck because there is compression at that level.
The duration of your symptoms. If you have had pain for less than three months, this type of compression usually responds better to conservative therapies.
Factors that Affect the Efficacy of this Treatment
Just like any other treatment, non surgical decompression will not help everyone. While it has had some great results regarding treating spinal cord compression, many factors can affect how well this therapy works for you. The most common reason someone would not respond well to the treatment is that the underlying condition causing their pain persists.
For example, suppose you have spinal stenosis, but your doctor cannot find evidence of a herniated disc on your MRI or CT scan. In that case, this means that the cause of your compression is probably due to structural changes in your spine (such as degenerative discs). As this type of compression usually responds better to surgery rather than conservative care, nonsurgical decompression might not be an effective treatment for you if your condition persists.
Research on Non Surgical Decompression
Many studies show nonsurgical decompression effectively treats spinal cord compression regardless of the cause. For example, one study found that patients who underwent non spinal decompression therapy had an 88% pain reduction within one year compared to 65% in the control group (patients who did not receive this type of care). This study also showed that over 40% of the patients who received non surgical decompression were able to return to work, whereas only 8% of those in the control group could do so. Despite these excellent results, there are some limitations on how much weight can be put into them. First, they were all retrospective studies that looked back at past data rather than conducting a new experiment.
Making an Informed Decision About Whether or Not to Undergo Treatment
It is essential always to ask your doctor questions about the type of care you are receiving, and this is no different when it comes to spinal cord compression. If you were told by a medical professional that you have an underlying condition that can only be corrected by surgery, it would be best to choose the course of action proven most effective for treating this type of compression.
However, suppose your doctor has determined that the cause of your pain is due to non surgical, mechanical compression (such as disc herniation or stenosis). In that case, there is a good chance that nonsurgical treatment will work for you. Other considerations such as quality of life issues related to treatment should also play a role in determining the best course of action.
What to Expect If You Choose To Undergo Therapy
Before beginning treatment, your doctor will have a thorough chat with you about the risks and benefits of non surgical decompression. Usually, this type of therapy is performed as an outpatient procedure so patients can go home on the same day as long as they are not taking narcotics or sedatives. The patient usually spends 30-45 minutes hooked up to a machine that performs spinal decompression therapy.
Some people feel discomfort at specific points during the procedure, but most only experience a feeling of light pressure which does not cause pain. This type of therapy can be repeated a few times a week, depending on how quickly you respond to it. Sometimes, if the compression cannot be relieved by spinal decompression alone, supplementary treatments such as epidural steroid injections may need to be done.
Non Spinal decompression therapy is a great way to treat spinal cord compression as long as the underlying cause can be addressed with non surgical care. Whether or not the treatment will work for you depends on your condition and how quickly it responds to this type of treatment. If you want to take advantage of the benefits non-surgical decompression has to offer, schedule an appointment with clinic director Dr. James J. Dalfino today!