1. Comprehensive Consultation
Choose a clinic that offers a comprehensive consultation which should include:
- A Complete History
- Orthopedic and Neurological Examination
- Review of your MRI's
- These should be current… within the last 2 years for most cases.
- MRI’s or CAT Scans
(in cases where MRI’s are not possible) are mandatory when considering a patient as a decompression candidate. The best way to make a definitive diagnosis of a disc injury is via MRI. MRI’s show us the disc, bone, ligaments, nerves, joint disease, muscle integrity, change and more.
- Did you know?
An X-ray is used almost exclusively to visualize bone, not disc. Therefore an X-ray is not an appropriate study to evaluate a disc problem. (Lots to think about… I know!)
2. Daily Decompression Setup
Daily decompression set-ups should be performed by a licensed doctor, not by a staff member or tech.
There are clinical decisions being made every day throughout your treatment program that affect outcomes. The most dramatic results with decompression are achieved by fine tuning all aspects of the treatment each session. These include position changes, variances in angle, altering the strength of pull..and there are many more. So choose the clinic wisely!
Re-evaluations should be performed weekly to monitor progress and adjust treatment protocols.
The doctors’ intimate knowledge of your condition and progress again shows how important it is for the doctor to be re-evaluating you and taking you through the daily treatment session. The doctor with the most experience would be ideal.
4. Comprehensive Program
A comprehensive program should address changes in soft tissue on a daily basis.
Disc problems and sciatica dramatically affect soft tissue (muscle cramps, trigger points) in the low back, buttocks and legs. This would include heat, ice, electrical therapy, soft tissue massage, myofascial release, stretches and exercises. These services should be performed by the Doctor for the best result.
5. Low Back Strength Rehab
A quality decompression program should be followed by a comprehensive low back strength-rehabilitation program.
Low back muscle weakness and loss of function, (deconditioning), is the greatest contributor to low back injuries. Rehabilitation will make the success you have reached following decompression long term and help prevent injuries in the future. By not going through a spinal strengthening program, you may set yourself up for continued low back pain or re-injury.