San Francisco Chiropractor offers Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression as an option for Cervical Disc Herniations
Posted Jun 02 2009 4:35pm
Cervical Disc Herniations responding favorably to treatment with the DRX 9000
San Francisco and Marin County residents now have another nonsurgical option for cervical disc herniations to consider, the DRX 9000. Up until recently nonsurgical options were considered to be pain killers, rest, physical therapy, and various forms of pain management and injections. Treatment for cervical disc herniations can be divided into two categories, surgical and nonsurgical. Here is a paragraph regarding treatment options from the Chicago Institute of Neurosurgery and Neuroresearch:
The treatment of cervical disc herniation can be divided into two categories, conservative (non-surgical) and surgical. In some rare cases of very large disc herniation causing significant pressure on the spinal cord, surgery may be considered the conservative option.
In general, conservative management consists of maneuvers to reduce pressure on the nerve root. Immobilization with the neck in a flexed forward position may be helpful. Straining should be avoided. Medication in the form of an anti-inflammatory such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, celebrex or vioxx may be taken. As these medications have side effects, patients should carefully read the package material or consult their doctor if taking any medications for longer than a few days. Physical therapy may be prescribed. This can consist of traction, mild stretching, exercise, heat, massage and ultrasound. These can be using in various combinations depending on the patient. A course of home cervical traction may be helpful. In some cases, a referral may be made to a pain management specialist or a physiatrist. These are doctors with special training in the diagnosis and treatment of pain. Various injections in and around the cervical spine can be performed. The particular type of injection depends on the individual patient. Up to 95 percent of patients will get better without the need for surgery.
Surgical treatment is reserved for patients who exhibit the signs and symptoms that require urgent decompression, patients who can not or do not wish to spend the time to allow conservative approaches to work and patients who have failed conservative management after a reasonable amount of time (six to eight weeks). Surgery for cervical disc herniation is divided into two approaches, anterior (from the front) and posterior (from the back). Since the disc is located in front of the spinal cord, the anterior approach is the more direct approach. The most common anterior operation is the anterior discectomy and fusion (ACDF). The disc is removed and usually replaced with a small piece of bone (either from the patient's hip or from cadaver donor). Sometimes, metal plates and screws may be used to assist the fusion. Depending on the type of surgery performed, a cervical collar may need to be worn for anywhere from a week to twelve weeks. The posterior approach is much less commonly performed. In this operation, a small amount of bone is removed from the back of the spine over the affected nerve root. Gentle retraction may allow removal of a soft disc. Few surgeons perform this operation.
As you can see, there is no mention of nonsurgical spinal decompression as it is relatively new. I have been practicing at my San Francisco location for 15 years. During this time I have treated thousands of cases with conventional chiropratic care (using my hands, exercise, and some instruments). I have treated hundreds of patients with cervical disc herniations, some successfully, some not. However, since I started incorporating nonsurgical spinal decompression into my treatment protocol I have been able to obtain better outcomes. I have also been able to initiate care with patients I would have referred out in the past. These are patients I would not even consider for conventional chiropractic. Sure, some cases will still require surgery, but some will avoid surgery. It's worth a shot. Surgery for cervical disc herniations is not much fun, and the success rates are a topic of debate.