Our daily life is involved with a lot of activities that might affect our spine. Some of these activities include gravity imposed on the back either by the way we stand or sit. These activities bring compressive forces on the spine which eventually causes postural effects, pain on the neck and on the lower back. This is when spinal decompression is applied so that it can aid in reversing such effect.
Decompression is a traction therapy applied on a spinal cord to help relieve the pain on the back. This therapy involves gentle stretching of the spine so that the pressure is taken off on the spinal disks which are gel-like cushions that are found between the spine’s bones. During this process, herniated or bulging disks tend to retract and thus, pressure on nerves and other structures is taken off. Movement of water, oxygen and fluids rich in nutrients is therefore enhanced into the disks for them to heal.
Decompression is beneficial to the spine as it gently pulls it to create space between spine bones. The effects of gravity are also dealt with to allow the spine to position itself in the right place. Decompression is normally by the use of a machine or through exercises.
Why Spinal Decompression Is Beneficial
The advantages of using a decompression belt include the following:
- Decompression takes pressure off the discs of the spine and as a result the pain reduces.
- It gives nerves exiting the spine enough space and as a result, pain is reduced.
- The flow of the blood in the region is enhanced which eventually can quicken recovery of damaged structures in the region of the spine.
- It makes the spine to be positioned in the opposite direction where it was pushed by gravity.
What Is Decompression Therapy Used For?
Decompression therapy has been used by several doctors to rectify or treat back or neck pain or sciatica which is basically weakness, pain or tingling that can even be experienced down the legs. They also use decompression in rectifying bulging or herniated disks as well degenerative disk conditions. Worn out spinal joints that is well known as posterior facet syndrome and injured or infected spinal nerve roots can be also be treated through the use of decompression therapy.
Spinal decompression can be done at home especially if you have low back pain that stretches down to the leg, poor posture, pain in the leg, numbness or tingling which is related to your back. Spinal decompression therapy is not recommended on your own if at all you have the following:
- The spinal is fractured
- If you have spinal fusion
- You are pregnant
- If you have osteoporosis
- Increase in pain
- If you have undergone a surgical procedure for the low back disc placement.
The reason why the above conditions may become dangerous when you do it on your own at home is that, decompression therapy has a stressful impact on your spine’s bones. When it is applied to your back under these conditions it might cause very serious complications.
How Is Decompression Administered At Home?
The exercises listed below are not a guarantee that you might fully benefit from your back condition. The exercises might also not be appropriate for everyone. If you experience unusual pain during your exercise that stretches down the led(s) or arms, it is advisable you stop.
- The first step with the overhead stretch is to be in the upright position with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Interlace your fingers and then stretch the arms overhead and the elbows straight.
- Stretch towards the ceiling with a range of 20 to 30 seconds
- Do this again 4 to 5 times, several times a day.
Bar Hang Method
This method involves hanging from a bar. A pull-up bar, sturdy playground equipment or any kind of high bar can be used. Reach up and hold on to the overhead pull-bar and then hang on it slowly with the entire body weight. Remain in the same position for about 20 to 30 seconds with some deep breaths. Repeat the process 2 to 3 times, several times a day.
The first step is to begin on your knees and hands. Then proceed with your hands stretched to the front while sitting with the bottom touching your heels. Remain in this position for about 10 seconds. Repeat the whole process but with your arms now on the left and then slightly to the right. Again hold on in this position for approximately 10 seconds. Do this in each direction, which is forward, left and right 3 times.
Cat Cow Stretch
With this method, you start on your hands and knees. The knees should be directly underneath the hips with the hands directly underneath the shoulders. While in this position, arch the back slowly as much as you can with the head going downwards. Go back to the starting position again and now with the back sagging downwards towards the floor. The head now should be facing upwards as if you are looking at the sky. Do this process 20 to 30 times, several times a day.
This method involves lying on your back while the feet rested on the chair. It is not really an exercise but rather a way of reducing severe pain. Position yourself comfortably on the floor with a chair next to you. With your back on the ground, lift your legs and position them on the chair. Remain in this position for about 5 minutes or as much as you can as long you feel comfortable.
Standing kitchen Sink Stretch
Find a comfortable and strong surface that can accommodate your weight. Hold on to the surface and then slowly lean back with your elbows now in a straight position. The entire weight should be leaning back behind you and remain in this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Take deep breaths while in this position. Do this 2 to 3 times and as much as you can throughout the day.