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What causes disc pain?

The bones (vertebrae) that form the spine are cushioned by small, spongy “discs”. When these discs are healthy, they act as shock absorbers and keep the spine flexible. But when a disc is damaged, it may bulge or break open. This is called a “herniated” or “slipped” disc.

You can have a herniated disc in any part of your spine but most herniated discs affect the lower back (lumbar spine). The second most common place is the neck (cervical spine) and then, rarely, in the mid back (thoracic spine).

What causes a disc to herniate?

A herniation is usually caused by war and tear on the disc. As you age, your discs dry out and aren't as flexible. One sudden injury or smaller, repeated injuries over time may cause tiny tears or cracks in the hard outer layer of the disc. When this happens, the gel inside the disc can be forced outward causing the disc to bulge.

What are the symptoms of a disc problem?
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Spinal Decompression
When the discs are damaged they tend to bulge causing pressure on the surrounding nerves, resulting in pain. This can happen anywhere in the spine but most commonly occurs in the neck or low back regions. If the pressure from the discs is severe enough it will cause pain to “radiate” from the spine down the length of the nerves, sometimes to their very ends in the hands or feet.
When a herniated disc presses on nearby nerve it can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the area of the body where the nerve travels. For instance, a herniated disc in the lower back can cause pain, numbness or weaknes from the buttock down the leg to the foot. This is called “Sciatica”. It is the most common symptom of a herniated disc in the low back. 

Likewise, a bulging disc in the neck can cause pain, numbness or weakness spreading from the neck down to the arm, hand and fingers. This is referred to as "Cervical Radiculopathy". A common condition called “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” (pain and numbness in the hand) can actually have a disc bulge in the neck as a contributing or major cause of the hand symptoms.

Since the underlying cause of Sciatica and Cervical Radiculopathy is disc herniation, Non-Surgical Disc Decompression can be used to successfully treat both conditions.

Disc herniations are diagnosed by means of a spinal examination, X-Rays, MRI and Nerve studies.

What does “Non-Surgical Decompression” mean?

The term refers to a computer controlled non-surgical therapeutic machine designed to gently stretch or “traction” the spine in a very specific way. The treatment is gentle, painless and very relaxing. 

Unlike traditional traction that pulls the entire spine with a constant force, Non-Surgical Decompression utilizes a varying “intermittent” force focused on a specific disc.

The wave-like intermittent force generates a negative pressure or vacuum inside that one damaged disc. This is referred to as “decompression” of the disc. The decompression effect causes the herniation to be sucked back into the disc and healed. It also causes a flow of blood and nutrients back into the disc to speed recovery. 

Disc decompression is achieved by using a specific combination of patient positioning on the machine and varying the angle and intensity of force applied to the disc. These settings are based on the individual patient’s MRI or X-ray results, orthopedic exam findings and other data. 

How effective is Non-Surgical Disc Decompression?

Non-Surgical Disc Decompression has been proven effective at relieving pain associated with bulging and herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, and even failed back surgery. Clinical studies have revealed an amazing 86% of people suffering from back pain gain relief with the application of non-surgical disc decompression. This is remarkable when compared to the traditional 50% failure rate for spinal surgery.

The FDA has granted formal approval for Non-Surgical Decompression technology. It is presently being utilized by neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractic physicians, pain specialists and physical therapists across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

How long will it take to see results?

Most patients report a reduction in pain after the first few sessions. Typically, significant improvement is obtained by the second week of treatment. The goal for the average patient is a 40% to 50% improvement in 4 weeks, with further improvement as time goes on, aiming ultimately for the patient to be pain free.

How long does a treatment session take?

The usual treatment time ranges from 20 to 45 minutes, with session time increasing as the patient heals and becomes stronger. Initially, treatments are scheduled 3 per week, with the frequency decreasing as the patient improves.

Are other therapies involved?

To maximize the healing effect of Non-surgical Decompression our Center also utilizes rehabilitative exercise to strengthen and stabilize the key muscles that hold the correction in place. This promotes long-lasting pain relief and better spinal function. We also provide chiropractic care, physical therapy and home care programs. Together, they offer our patients a clear, effective alternative to drugs and surgery.

Do I qualify for Non-Surgical Decompression treatment?

Not everyone qualifies for Non-Surgical Decompression therapy and proper patient selection can only be made after Dr. Carlucci conducts a thorough spinal examination. We offer a free Initial Consultation for prospective patients to determine if they qualify for this procedure.

Are there any side effects to the treatment?

Most patients do not experience any side effects though you may initially have some routine “athletic soreness” in chronically tight areas.  This will pass quickly in a few days as the muscles regain their tone.

Is there any risk to the patient with Non-Surgical Decompression?

Spinal Decompression is completely safe and comfortable for all patients. The treatment is gentle, painless and very relaxing. The initial sessions are brief and use a very low force. The amount of time and force are both gradually increased within patient tolerance during subsequent sessions. The system even has automatic emergency stop switches (a requirement by the FDA) that can terminate treatment immediately.

Can Non-Surgical Decompression be used for patients who have had spinal surgery?

In most cases, Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression can be used for patients who have had spinal surgery. In fact, many patients have found success with decompression after a failed back surgery.

The main exceptions would be for patients with surgical fusions or when surgical hardware has failed.

How much does it cost?

We do not charge you extra for Non-Surgical Decompression therapy. As a participating provider with all major insurances, the Jackson Spine & Disc Center accepts your standard co-pay and deductible as payment in full while providing all therapies, including Non-Surgical Decompression, as needed for your best recovery. 

How do I get started?

Contact our office at 732-370-5800 to schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with Dr. John Carlucci to determine if you are a candidate for Non-Surgical Decompression.

After carefully studying your case history and performing a comprehensive spinal examination, he will explain his recommended plan of action for you. The doctor will also clearly answer any questions you may have.

At that point, if you qualify as a candidate you may immediately begin your care with Non-Surgical Decompression.