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Q: Is surgery the only option for a bulging disc?

Posted June 18, 2014 in Advice Column, Grimes

A: No, there are many non-invasive options which include chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy and spinal decompression therapy.

Spinal decompression therapy is the application of intermittent traction to a region of the spine to create a negative intradiscal pressure. This is often referred to as a “vacuum effect” inside the spinal disc. It is designed to reduce the pressure inside the disc and allow the transfer of fluids, nutrients and oxygen back inside the disc. This allows the disc to heal from the inside out. In healthy spines, this occurs naturally with daily motions and activities. A disc with decreased nutrition, fluids and oxygen is more likely to become injured. The traction also decreases the pressure in the disc which allows the disc bulge to be drawn back into its normal boundaries and results in taking pressure off a “pinched” nerve.

Spinal decompression therapy usually consists of several treatments but patients usually report a reduction of pain within a few treatments. Remember, discs need time to heal, sometimes months. The goal of spinal decompression therapy is to make the patient more mobile with less pain so he or she can return to a lifestyle of more activity. More activity and movement in the spine creates more nutrient movement to and from discs which results in a healthier spine. It is important to remember that chiropractic care and regular back strengthening exercises work with spinal decompression therapy to provide a speedy recovery and a healthy spine.

Information provided by Williamson Chiropractic, 206 S. Main St., 986-9189.

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