6 Treatments to Complement Spinal Decompression Therapy
While non-surgical spinal decompression is hugely effective in promoting long-term healing of spinal conditions, in some cases it can take some time before patients begin to see noticeable improvements in pain or ability levels. As a result, many healthcare practitioners have seen success in incorporating other treatments and therapies into a patient’s spinal decompression treatment plan. From short-term pain reduction to treatments that target soft tissues, there are a range of complementary therapies that can boost the effectiveness of spinal decompression therapy.
1. Heat and Cold
Both heat and cold treatments can help reduce pain and promote healing for spinal conditions, and are often used in conjunction with non-surgical spinal decompression. Temperature-based treatments are similar in concept and ease of execution, but they have key differences.
- Heat: These treatments usually utilize hot water bottles, compresses, heating pads, or other similar implements, making heat treatments easy for patients to access beyond the clinic. Warm heat treatments applied at the site of pain or injury for a length of time specified by the healthcare provider can provide immediate pain reduction, reduce muscle stiffness, and stimulate blood flow for the promotion of healing.
- Cold: Generally, cold therapy refers to ice massage treatments, though other methods of cooling the affected site can also be classified as cold therapy. Ice massage treatments are typically utilized for muscle strain injuries, though they can be used in conjunction with heat treatments for reducing the pain of other conditions. These massages help to numb the tissue and allow for gentle manipulation of the affected area, such as with spinal decompression therapy. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis or impaired sensation, among others, should not be candidates for cold therapy.
Exercise is commonly prescribed alongside non-surgical spinal decompression due to its long-term benefits for healing and strengthening the spine. Appropriate stretches, cardiovascular exercises, and resistance training may help to improve recovery times and promote lasting health. However, exercise recommendations must be highly personalized to each patient due to a number of factors, such as age and ability level. Exercise plans that are ill-suited to the person or protocol may exacerbate the condition, causing more pain or even lasting damage.
3. Acoustic Compression
Myofascial acoustic compression therapy (MyACT) utilizes targeted acoustic waves to relieve pain and improve circulation in muscle tissue, joints, and tendons. These acoustic waves gently massage tissue at technician-controlled depths, improving blood flow and decreasing inflammation. When used in conjunction with spinal decompression therapy, this is especially useful for treating compressed nerves, as reduced inflammation and swelling of surrounding tissue allows for more space around the nerve. However, it can also be used to manage pain for other conditions.
Learn more about MyACT by exploring the Piezo Wave 2
Massage therapy has a number of benefits that can aid in the effectiveness of a non-surgical spinal decompression treatment protocol. Massaging a patient’s back muscles before or after a treatment may allow for a greater range of motion, though care should be used to ensure that the massage is not causing more pain. It also increases blood flow, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the treated area.
In addition to pain reduction at the site of greatest pain, massage can lead to increased endorphin levels, which can not only provide relief for chronic and acute pain, but can also promote better sleep, less anxiety, and improved mood. By promoting the production of endorphins, massage therapy encourages the patient’s body to undergo natural pain reduction processes which may be effective even where other treatments fail to produce results.
5. Laser Therapy
Laser therapy is a targeted tissue therapy that provides energy to cell reproduction and repair processes, which in turn hastens healing, and reduces pain and inflammation. It is notable for its remarkable safety, regardless of patient demographics or conditions, because it is a non-invasive, non-drug treatment. The inclusion of laser therapy into a non-surgical spinal decompression protocol can shorten the time before patients begin to notice results.
Education may not be commonly understood as a treatment, but it is a vital part of every patient’s treatment plan. Without a complete knowledge and understanding of their condition and the treatments being used to improve that condition, patients may become stressed, which can inhibit healing, or frustrated, which presents the risk of noncompliance to recommendations or discontinuation of treatment. When the patient is on board with the treatment protocol, they can better report worsening or improvement of their pain and work with the healthcare practitioner for improved outcomes. Never neglect patient education as part of a treatment plan - while a doctor or technician may know diseases and treatments, the patient knows their own body, and only by educating one other can they arrive at their best option for treatment.
By combining complementary therapies, patients are likely to see better results, faster. Each patient and condition is unique, so unique combinations of treatments can provide more targeted relief and healing for long- and short-term patient satisfaction. To learn more about the proven results of spinal decompression therapy, download our free resource below.