Chiropractic Works with Dr. Birk

Spinal Decompression Therapy vs. Surgery

Posted: February 7, 2018
By: Dr. Ruminder Birk

For patients with severe conditions such as pinched nerves, bulging disc, herniated discs, acute lower back pain, severe sciatica etc.. their family doctor may go to extremes and recommend surgery to try and fix the issue once they have exhausted all pain medications they can possibly prescribed. The problem with this, is that it can leave many patients confused and stuck in a position where they feel they may have no where else to turn.

At Atlantis Wellness Center, we see severe conditions on a daily basis and strive to ensure our patients avoid taking such extremes to get their life back. Spinal Decompression Therapy is a non-surgical therapy that causes the relief of pressure on one or many pinched nerves (neural impingement) of the spinal column. Studies have shown that Spinal Decompression is both safe and effective. A recent study studied 94 patients who had pain in various levels of severity and the pain in all patients after spinal decompression was greatly reduced and no undesirable effects were evident. A second study designed to report the effectiveness and safety of spinal decompression followed 18 patients as they underwent 20 treatments over a six week period. Again, pain levels dropped considerably and no significant unfavorable events or safety issues were reported.

Typically, doctors will recommend trying various pain medications which truly only help to mask the symptoms rather than providing any type of cure. Medications are also associated with many types of risks and side effects.Of the medications prescribed for lower back pain, the most common are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, known as NSAIDs. Unlike spinal decompression, these drugs carry significant risks such as:

  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Heartburn
  • Dizziness
  • Rash
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Vomiting

More serious side effects include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Bleeding, ulcers
  • Perforation of the stomach or intestines
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney problems, including kidney failure
  • Life-threatening bleeding

Even such advice as bed rest can cause problems. These problems include:

  • Muscle atrophy
  • Heart and lung weakness
  • Bone mineral loss
  • Blood clots

Of all available options, surgery is the most dangerous, the most expensive and has the lowest success rate. Surgery also has the longest total recovery time and is the most painful treatment option. The failure rate of surgery for back pain and neck pain is very high. In Canada and the U.S alone 200,000 patients undergo lumbar spine surgery every year. On average, approximately 53 percent of all lumbar spine disc surgeries fail to relieve symptoms. Surgery also comes with various risks such as:

  • Failed back surgery syndrome
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Deterioration of general heath
  • Post-operative complications

Because spinal decompression does not involve any of the risks listed above, for patients there is really little to lose and so much to gain- for example, getting your life back! Our office Atlantis Wellness Center has seen great results and success rates and we are proud of all of our patients who stuck it through and avoided getting back surgery. To learn more about spinal decompression and if you're a good candidate for this therapy, feel free to give our office a call at anytime and we would happy to assist you.

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