Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

My Personal Story

dr-darryl-w-roundy

My interest in non-surgical spinal decompression came about due to a personal crisis with my own spine (2-“severe” lumbar disc herniations/extrusions) after a weight-lifting injury.  I was told I would likely need surgery due to the size of the disc extrusions and the fact that I had lost use of my left leg; I had to use crutches to get around, could not lift my foot or toes and had pain shooting all the way down to my toes. I had some of the highest pain levels I’ve ever had and I knew by my second session that I had to learn more about this form of spinal care, as it was the most effective treatment I’ve seen for disc herniations. By my third session, I was done with crutches and stayed the course until I had received 20 sessions and was fully functional.

Initially, due to the severity of my injury, I thought I would no longer be able to ride my dirt-bike, go snowboarding, lift weights, etc., but I’m back doing all of it. In fact, I regularly lift heavy weights (sqauts and deadlifts to name a few) and do anything I did previously with no discomfort what-so-ever.

Having performed several thousand decompressions on patients over the years, we’re now able to quickly determine who is a good candidate and what it will work best on. We’ve had great success with arthritis, non-specific spinal pain, failed spinal surgery, disc bulges, disc herniations, disc extrusions, spondylolisthesis, atypical migraines and injuries from car accidents.

The Equipment

There are many decompression equipment manufacturers out there, but upon doing my own research on the differences, Hill DT stood out as the best possible decompression table on the market for several reasons:

  • Can better isolate the exact level of disc/joint injury, thereby precisely directing the de-compressive forces for faster results.
  • Uses roughly 50% of the force during decompression, when compared to other tables, so the treatment is much more comfortable; most people fall asleep during the treatment.
  • Every 2-milliseconds, the table measures muscle resistance and/or spasm and will back off the de-compressive force within 0.33-milliseconds so the disc stays in a negative pressure zone (vacuum) for the full treatment session.
Hill DT Spinal Decompression

What is Decompression?

Decompression effects on the disc herniation

Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression is a revolutionary new technology used primarily to treat disc injuries in the neck and lower back. This treatment option is very safe and utilizes FDA cleared equipment to apply de-compressive forces to spinal structures in a precise and graduated manner. Decompression is offset by cycles of partial relaxation. Decompression has shown the ability to gently separate the vertebrae from each other, creating a vacuum inside the discs that are targeted. This “vacuum effect” is also known as negative intra-discal pressure.

decompression-what-can-be-expected-01The negative pressure may induce the retraction of the herniated or bulging disc into the inside of the disc, and off the nerve root, thecal sac, or both. It happens only microscopically each time, but cumulatively, over four to eight weeks, the results are quite dramatic.

The cycles of decompression and partial relaxation, over a series of visits, promote the diffusion of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids from the outside of the discs to the inside. These nutrients enable the torn and degenerated disc fibers to begin to heal.

For the low back, the patient lies comfortably on his/her back on the decompression table, with a set of gel-padded restraints snug around the waist and straps set around the lower chest. For the neck, the patient lies comfortably on his/her back with a set of padded restraints behind the neck. Many patients enjoy the treatment, as it is usually quite comfortable and well tolerated.

Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression is very effective at treating bulging discs, herniated discs, pinched nerves, sciatica, radiating arm pain, degenerative disc disease, leg pain, and facet syndromes. Proper patient screening is imperative and only the best candidates are accepted for care.


Frequently Asked Questions

Will Decompression help a slipped disc?

A “bulging” or “herniated” disc is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a “slipped” disc. Studies demonstrate that Spinal Decompression Therapy succeeds at treating bulging or herniated discs over 70% of the time. This of course varies depending on the complexity of the injury and other factors. Many times patients are able to avoid more costly and invasive procedures.

How much does the therapy cost?

That depends on many factors, as there are many variations of disc injury and severity. The great news is that it can be very affordable, and our office is dedicated to making this safe, breakthrough therapy available to all patients, providing stress-free payment plans. This enables patients to receive the care they desperately need even if they are on fixed incomes and/or Medicare.

Are there any reasons why I can't use this type of therapy?

Dr. Roundy will determine if you are a candidate as there are certain conditions for which this therapy is contraindicated. First and foremost, Dr. Roundy will only accept cases that he believes this therapy will help. Certain people are not candidates for spinal decompression therapy and usually have conditions such as:

  • Tumors
  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurism
  • Fractures
  • Metal Implants/Screws/Plates in the spine
  • Advanced Osteoporosis
  • Pregnancy or
  • Certain diseases

What about lumbar disc herniations?

Low back (lumbar) disc herniation symptoms:

  • Leg pain (sciatica) may occur with or without low back pain; typically the leg pain is worse than the low back pain.
  • Numbness, weakness and/or tingling in the leg.
  • Low back pain and/or pain in the buttock.
  • In severe cases (rare), there can be loss of bowel/bladder control and this requires immediate medical attention.

The vast majority of disc herniations will occur toward the bottom of the spine at L4-L5 or L5-S1 levels. In addition to typical sciatica symptoms, nerve impingement at these levels can lead to:

  • L5 nerve impingement (at the L4 – L5 level) from a herniated disc can cause weakness in extending the big toe and potentially in the ankle (foot drop). Numbness and pain can be felt on top of the foot, and the pain may also radiate into the buttock.
  • S1 nerve impingement (at the L5 – S1 level) from a herniated disc may cause loss of the ankle reflex and/or weakness in ankle push off (patients cannot do toe rises). Numbness and pain can radiate down to the sole or outside of the foot.

Treatment options we offer:

  • Chiropractic spinal adjustments help to optimize joint function and position so the disc has the best chance of healing properly and faster.
  • Non-surgical spinal decompression – research shows 71-86% effectiveness for disc herniations.  We have found this to be the fastest and most effective method for the majority of patients.
  • Therapeutic massage therapy – assists primarily with pain control and spasm and is very effective when used in conjunction with chiropractic and decompression therapy.

Other options:

  • Wait and see approach – there are times when a disc can heal on its own over the course of 2-5 months.
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the supporting spinal musculature, which we typically recommend following spinal decompression once the pain is under control as PT will be better tolerated.
  • Pain management: some patients elect to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral steroids (e.g. prednisone or methyprednisolone).  We suggest caution with this approach as there are many well-documented side-effects taking this route.
  • Epidural steroid (cortisone) injections.  Again, we suggest caution with this approach as there are many well-documented side-effects taking this route.
  • In severe cases non-responsive to any of the above approaches, surgery is considered to be a last treatment option as there are many potential bad outcomes, but in some cases is warranted.  If this is the case, we will offer recommendations for the best possible outcome.

What about cervical disc herniations?

A cervical disc herniation occurs when the inner contents of a disc in the neck bulges or leaks out of a disc and presses on an adjacent spinal nerve root.  These types of herniations are most common in the 30-50 year age group and can happen after a trauma/injury or without any known provoking factors.

When a nerve is compressed by a spinal disc, pain travels down the arm in a predictable path called a dermatome.

Treatment options we offer:

  • Chiropractic spinal adjustments help to optimize joint function and position so the disc has the best chance of healing properly and faster.
  • Non-surgical spinal decompression – research shows 71-86% effectiveness for disc herniations.  We have found this to be the fastest and most effective method for the majority of patients.
  • Therapeutic massage therapy – assists primarily with pain control and spasm and is very effective when used in conjunction with chiropractic and decompression therapy.

Other options:

  • Wait and see approach – there are times when a disc can heal on its own over the course of 2-5 months.
  • Physical therapy to strengthen the supporting spinal musculature, which we typically recommend following spinal decompression once the pain is under control as PT will be better tolerated.
  • Pain management: some patients elect to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or oral steroids (e.g. prednisone or methyprednisolone).  We suggest caution with this approach as there are many well-documented side-effects taking this route.
  • Epidural steroid (cortisone) injections.  Again, we suggest caution with this approach as there are many well-documented side-effects taking this route.
  • In severe cases non-responsive to any of the above approaches, surgery is considered to be a last treatment option as there are many potential bad outcomes, but in some cases is warranted.

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