Spinal Decompression and Peripheral Neuropathy
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” – Helen Keller
All feeling, normal or abnormal is carried by nerves from your body to the brain. The nerves in the feet, for example send messages to the brain depending on the information they receive. If someone steps on your toe, your brain instantly is aware of the discomfort. The same holds true if you wear a shoe that is too tight. It feels much better when you take it off! All of this is due to nerve stimulation. Just like information goes from your feet to your brain, nerves come from the brain down to the feet.
Nerve Irritation Is A Major Cause of Neuropathy
All nerves begin in the brain. From there they travel down throughout the body, some reaching down the legs to the feet. If there is irritation to those nerves before they reach the feet, a person will experience abnormal feelings in the feet themselves. These feelings may be sensations such as pain, heat and tingling.
The Low Back Is A Common Place for Nerve Interference
As the nerves come from the brain down the spinal cord, they exit the spinal cord in the lower back and then extend down to the feet. It is at this point of exit that many problems may occur. Think of it like a person travelling by car down a highway and getting off at an exit ramp to enter a town. If things are not running smoothly or there is construction on the ramp, there can be trouble getting into the town. The nerve flow can be easily disturbed at this crucial spot when it exits the spine.
How The Lower Back Works
The spine is made of several bones piled on top of another. In between each bone is a thick piece of dense jelly material that keeps the bones apart. By keeping the bones apart, we can bend and move. It is also by keeping the bones apart that the nerves can exit to the legs and feet.
If a person has a problem where the jelly material wears away, the bones begin to come closer to each other. When this happens, the bones may begin to irritate the nerves going to the legs and feet. This is sometimes called a pinch nerve. Sometimes the low back hurts when this happens. Other times the only problem may be in the feet or legs. Symptoms come in many forms, such as pain, burning or tingling.
This jelly material, also known as the disc, wears away due to various stresses over time. The stress may be sudden (accident) or long and slow (lifting and bending improperly). When it wears away it begins to dehydrate or lose some of its fluid because the fluid in it is compressed out to the surrounding area. This causes the disc to become thinner and thinner over time. This creates more potential problems down below in the legs and feet as the nerve is pinched.
The ideal solution for this would be to somehow separate the two bones apart so that they no longer pinch the nerve. This would then allow fluid back into the disc and the nerve can then send messages without pinching down to the feet.
Spinal Decompression is FDA approved equipment designed to decompress the spine in the area where there was the nerve pressure mentioned above. To be performed, the patient rests on a padded table with one or two belts gently placed around the lower back. These belts are attached to a computer that uses precise measurements to gently pull on the area of problem. This is done with a person fully dressed and in a comfortable position.
During each session there are multiple cycles of decompression and relaxation over a period, usually between 10 and 20 minutes.
With each decompression or distraction cycle, the body responds as the disc is rehydrated and takes in valuable oxygen and nutrients from the nearby blood stream.
Over time, the disc space can become broader, and pressure is relieved from the nerves going to the feet. This can often lead to relief from pain, burning or tingling.