Your back consists of stacked bones, or vertebrae, separated by cushioning discs. You can liken these discs to jelly doughnuts, in which a tougher exterior surrounds a softer, jelly-like interior. When a tear in the disc’s exterior causes some of the jelly to leak out, it’s known as a herniated disc.
When a herniation occurs in your lower back, pain may radiate down your legs and buttocks. Herniation in a cervical disc in your neck may cause referred pain in your arms and shoulders. Irritation to nerves in the area of the herniated disc may prompt tingling and numbness, and you may have muscle weakness in the area, too. Not all cases of herniation result in pain, however.
You may hear a herniated disc referred to as a “slipped disc” or a “ruptured disc.” All of these terms describe the same condition: a tear in the outer area of a spinal disc that causes fluid to leak out.
Spinal decompression therapy is a completely safe process designed to reduce compression-causing pain. Specific equipment, approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, applies light pressure to separate the vertebrae in a gentle manner, creating a vacuum and promoting the healing process.
In such a therapy session, you lie on your back or stomach and have belts wrapped around the area of your spine affected by the herniation.The belts attach to the machine that provides the gentle decompressive action. Most people find the treatment to be comfortable or even enjoyable.
Each session of spinal decompression therapy yields only microscopic changes in the position of the disc, but after several weeks, many people experience dramatic improvements in their symptoms.
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