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Persistent back pain is one of the most common health complaints. Compounded with other related symptoms like neck pain or radiating pain along legs or arms can be disruptive to your daily routine. It not only affects your quality of life but can also cause huge financial and mental stress!

Spinal disc degeneration, bulges, and herniations are some of the reasons for neck or low back pain. 

A surgical procedure such as laminectomy and microdiscectomy to decompress the spine is often chosen by those who wish to relieve their back pain and get back to a normal routine. However, spinal surgeries sometimes fail, and the back pain returns either immediately after the surgery or several months down the line. 

The overall failure rate of lumbar spine surgery was estimated to be 10%–46%. In an April 2020 study in the Journal of Orthopedic Surgery and Research, it was found that there is a substantial risk of ongoing pain following spine surgery with 20% patients experiencing persistent pain within couple of year post surgery. 

Why did the back surgery fail?

Several factors including inappropriate choice of surgical procedure, pre-existing conditions like obesity or history of smoking, and/or post-operative procedural complications are some of the factors that adversely affect the outcome of a surgical spinal decompression procedure.

What’s next after a failed back surgery?

A second surgery may be conducted if the initial back surgery failed to provide relief to the back pain. However, a subsequent surgery often yields only minor success. Moreover, only 30% of the patients experience a successful outcome after a second surgery.

Various pain medications including but not limited to epidural Steroid injection shots also do not have clearly determined clinical outcomes for back pain relief. They work by reducing the size of the stressed nerve root and thereby easing pain temporarily. However, steroid injection shots are effective only in a minority of patients whose back surgery failed, and they have the additional risks of side-effects. They offer only limited long-term benefits if the pain doesn’t improve within the first 6 weeks to 12 months.

Non-Surgical spinal decompression therapy is a non-invasive alternative to help relieve your back pain when surgery or steroid shots have both failed to provide any relief.

What is non-surgical spinal decompression therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy is a modern non-surgical traction procedure that works by stretching the spine thereby taking pressure off your spinal disks. The procedure helps create a negative pressure on the spinal disk and promotes retraction or reposition of herniated or bulging disc. The pressure relief resulting from the therapy also helps to provide an influx of healing nutrients to the disc thereby 

How does spinal decompression therapy work?

Modern-day spinal decompression therapy is performed using advanced computer-aided technology and is a non-invasive procedure that can provide lasting pain relief and overall help increase the mobility of your back and neck.

The Physical Therapist first assesses you to ensure that you are the right fit for this therapy. If you have recently suffered from spinal fractures or infections, severe osteoporosis, or if you are pregnant, then you are not an ideal candidate for this therapy. 

The Physical Therapist expertly guides your body to be fitted perfectly in a harness support system on the spinal decompression table and the computerized system is controlled by the therapist to provide customized treatment for your back pain. 

How long does the treatment last? How many treatments will be needed?

The duration of the treatment and the number of treatments required to achieve maximum pain relief is determined by the Physical Therapist depending on the severity of your symptoms. However, each treatment can last anywhere from 30 – 60 minutes and require concurrent sessions over several weeks.

What can I expect after the therapy?

Most patients notice some relief from their pain after the first few treatments. There is a significant reduction in back pain for many patients within the second week of treatment. 

Spinal decompression can be used in conjunction with other treatments such as hot and cold therapies, electrical simulation for additional pain relief.

If you have failed to find relief from constant back pain even after surgery and steroid shots are not working to manage your pain, considering spinal decompression therapy can be an effective choice. 

Non-surgical spinal compression therapy may also be a great option for you if you are looking to avoid surgery or steroidal injections to get relief from your back pain.

The team at South Orange Rehabilitation & Wellness is here to help. Contact us today with your questions or book your appointment online.