What Is Spinal Decompression?

Spinal decompression is a treatment used to treat the number one leading cause of disability in North America - neck and low back pain.

If you have been troubled by significant pain, weakness or numbness related to your neck and low back, you may be a candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy (SDT). 

In Alberta, there are select doctors who are certified in the Kennedy Spinal Decompression Therapy for neck and low back treatment. Dr. Jay Shephard belongs to this group of certified doctors. As a new patient to Spinal Decompression Therapy, Dr. Shephard will begin with an extensive initial health history and examination. All diagnostic x-rays, ultrasounds and/or MRI’s that you have had previously will also be reviewed to properly fully diagnose your condition and determine your fit as a candidate for this therapy.

Once this has been determined, Dr. Shephard will discuss his recommended treatment protocol, listen to your goals and together come up with a plan to relieve you of your symptoms as fast as possible.

Spinal Decompression
Customized Programs For Our Patients

Your customized program will depend on your diagnosis, body weight, tolerance, level of severity and duration of symptoms. 

Spinal Decompression Therapy(SDT) is a revolutionary computer aided technology the helps treat symptoms of neck and low back pain from herniated, bulging, degenerated (aka slipped discs). It is a non-surgical therapy that creates a scenario in which bulging or herniated disc tissue is able to move back into place and heal, alleviating the pain this condition causes. 

SDT works by gently stretching the spine using a computerized spinal decompression table. The patient is securely and comfortably harnessed onto the table, 
then a customized program begins an oscillating motion. This motion is a combination of force of pull, angle of pull and varying time that creates the ideal negative pressure inside the discs of the spinal cord. This reversal of pressure creates a vacuum inside the disc that helps draw in bulging discs and extruded disc material back into place, taking pressure off pinched or irritated nerves.

SDT is unlike other protocols addressing neck and low back pain. It is non-surgical, safe, affordable, and an extremely effective alternative to spinal surgery. Surgical spinal procedures are often considered a last option, while SDT is a safe treatment at any stage of back pain. 

Injuries and conditions that are well suited for Spinal Decompression:
  • Acute/chronic neck pain
  • Acute/chronic low back pain
  • Disc herniation
  • Disc bulges
  • Facet syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Pinch Nerve
  • Arm pain
  • Leg pain
  • Post Surgical Pain


What To Expect From Therapy

During therapy, the patient should not feel pain. After, the patient can experience a feeling of dull, achy soreness for the first week or two as the body becomes accustomed to being stretched and decompressed. Spinal decompression stretches muscles in a lengthening direction which the body is generally not used to. This achy feeling has been described as feeling like, “I just worked out for the first time in a long time.”

A typical Spinal Decompression treatment session may last from 20 - 30 minutes long. The number of sessions you will need for your injury or condition will depend on its severity. This can range from one to two sessions per week or up to 4 to 5 sessions per week, again depending on your diagnosis and response to the treatment. 

Is Spinal Decompression Safe? Yes, absolutely. In addition to your treatment being supervised by Dr. Shephard, you will always be in control of the Spinal Decompression Table as there is an emergency shut off switch. If at any time you feel discomfort, you can immediately reach the shut off switch. 

Contraindications for Spinal Decompression Therapy:
  • Pregnancy
  • Metastasized cancer of the bones
  • Spinal fusion
  • Broken vertebrae
  • Recent spinal fracture
  • Patients with artificial discs or other spinal implants
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spinal Tumor/s
  • Surgery of the spine that has added screws or rods
  • Grade 3 or 4 Spondylolithesis
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • bone/spine infection
  • abdominal/pelvic cancer

These exceptions are identified during the full examination and history intake. 

If you have lasting back pain and other related symptoms, you know how disruptive to your life it can be. You may be unable to think of little else except finding relief. The ultimate goal of Spinal Decompression Therapy is to relieve the patient’s chronic back, arm, neck, and/or leg pain and to heal the source so that they can return to live, work and play pain free. 

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