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A Doctor's Perspective: Spinal Decompression & Laser Therapy for Your Herniated Disc

Published January 4, 2018

“I still remember hearing about Spinal Decompression Therapy for the first time in 2004 and was intrigued by the notion of helping people with 'slipped' or herniated discs without using surgery,” Dr. Ward Wagner of Dixie Chiropractic in St. George, Utah — a pain relief specialist reveals. “Although I kept an open mind to the idea, I was skeptical when the process was first explained to me. Although it seemed too simple, I didn’t discount the theories completely.”

Spinal decompression therapy is a modern, non-surgical traction procedure that effectively treats lower back, neck, and radiating leg and arm pain. This type of traction is very successful in relieving pain associated with spinal disc herniation, degenerative spinal discs, sciatica, bulging discs, spinal stenosis, as well as facet joint syndrome. Spinal decompression is intended to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or on one or more compressed nerve roots passing through or exiting the spinal column.

Normally spinal decompression is used with laser therapy as a combination treatment for the conditions described above. Spinal decompression re-hydrates your discs and reduces disc bulges and herniations while deep tissue laser therapy (DTLT) draws circulation to the area that speeds up the repair of the discs. The laser works in conjunction with spinal decompression or can work all by itself for a variety of other aches and pains, all depending on your diagnosis.

DTLT works by flooding the tissues with photons, energizing the damaged cells and increasing circulation to the painful area. This produces a cascade of healing responses in your body, reduces inflammation, thereby reducing or even eliminating your pain.

The Beginning

When Wagner originally heard about these treatments, he began researching as much information as possible to see if it actually was as good as it appeared to be. As the saying goes, 'If it's too good, chances are it's too good to be true.'

“For the next 3 years, I read literature, case studies, and attended seminars on spinal decompression therapy and finally, I had the therapy performed on me,” he recalls.

Wagner was diagnosed with multiple herniated discs in his lower back as well as bulging discs. While undergoing the procedure, he advised that he felt a gentle pulling sensation but it really didn't hurt. In fact, he thought that it didn't even begin because he felt such little pressure.

Doctor's performing spinal decompression on patient.
“After that day, it was only a short time before I was treating patients in my office with this amazing therapy,” Wagner affirms. “Since then, I have successfully treated many patients with painful spine conditions, especially herniated or bulging discs like myself.”

He says that there appears to be a 'vacuum phenomenon' that occurs during the decompression process that brings the disc material back into normal position and gives the patient immediate relief. Patients of his have reported that they were able to move a lot easier after the therapy — especially when they were going from a seated position to a standing one —including getting in and out of bed.

The Middle

“Shortly after my beginning decompression therapy, I learned about laser therapy and the effect it has on tissue healing and regeneration,” the doctor explains. “I also started hearing about a more powerful laser therapy than lasers of the past.”

Wagner explains that these new Class IV lasers have a deeper tissue effect than the much weaker models of a lesser class. These powerful lasers can penetrate deep enough to even speed the healing of discs. This enables us to help discs in roughly half the time we used to (with decompression alone), and to be able to heal more severe disc herniations than we could.

“By stimulating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and enhancing cell membrane permeability, a Class IV Laser actually helps injuries heal, rather than just masking the pain. It is even safe to apply over metal implants, broken skin, and on acute injuries,” the doctor adds.

The End

“This is how we help many people avoid spinal surgery,” Wagner concludes.

With invasive back or spinal surgery, there's always the potential of the operation not working paired with the inherent risks that any operation posses. There's got to be a better way to regain mobility, reduce pain while improving your quality of life, and now there just might be.

Last change: January 27, 2019