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John R. Greensfelder, DC
Discopathy and Spinal Decompression
Odenton Chiropractic & Holistic Wellness Center

Discopathy and Spinal Decompression

Intervertebral discopathy is one of the most painful and physically debilitating health issues that chiropractors encounter. The spine is composed of a series of 26 bones that are designed to enclose and protect the spinal cord. Between these vertebrae lie the intervertebral discs that act as shock absorbers and permit the various movements of the spine.

Discopathy is any disease of the intervertebral discs. When discopathy occurs, the soft tissue and nerves that exit the spine in the region of injury can be irritated, resulting in a very painful condition.

In the center of the intervertebral disc is a gel-like substance called the nucleus pulposus. Enclosing the nucleus pulposus are several rings of tough, fibrous tissue called the annulus fibrosus. Together the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus work to withstand the compressive forces placed on the spine. If there is any injury to these structures, the disc’s ability to withstand the compressive stress is impaired and the disc will most likely fail.

If this occurs, the nucleus may push against the rings of the annulus causing the disc to push outward. This is called a disc bulge. Additionally, if the rings of the annulus fail and are torn, the nucleus may itself protrude through the annulus forming a disc herniation.

Both of these conditions can be terribly painful and disabling due to the injured disc material applying pressure to the nerves that exit at that level of the spine. Frequently, those suffering from discopathy are forced to seek surgical intervention. There is an effective, conservative alternative to surgery known as spinal decompression.

When administered, spinal decompression applies a stretching, decompressing force to the spine in a manner that maximizes spinal elongation. When elongated, the vertebrae of the spine are spread apart and the disc material, which was displaced, may be drawn back in place. Spinal decompression also decreases the pressure within the disc, thus drawing nutrient and oxygen filled fluid into the injured disc. Spinal decompression relieves the pressure on the disc and nerves and promotes healing of the impaired structure.

Discopathies are a common contributor to approximately 916,000 spinal surgeries annually in the U.S. Although sometimes necessary, surgery is not always the best option. If you or a loved one suffers from spinal discopathy, there is a good chance that a chiropractor administering spinal decompression can help. The debilitating and life altering effects of discopathy can be reversed.

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