Chiropractor for Algonquin and Lake in the Hills
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Spinal Decompression – What is it and how does it work?

Is Spinal Decompression Right for You?

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As the leading cause of job-related disability, sufferers of chronic lower back pain know how damaging the condition can be to their quality of life. While there are numerous treatment options available, many patients still have difficulty finding relief from their pain. For these patients, spinal decompression therapy could be a viable option! Read on to learn more about this powerful treatment and how it can benefit you.

What is spinal decompression therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy uses similar methods that chiropractors, osteopaths, and other healthcare providers have been practicing for years. It’s a painless, noninvasive treatment that uses traction (movement) to pull on the spine gently. This mild movement creates negative pressure between vertebrae in the spine to reposition bulging or herniated discs and soothe other conditions. This decrease in pressure also allows a flood of nutrient-rich fluids to wash over inflamed discs and promote healing.

Usually, doctors recommend spinal decompression when other forms of therapy like massage, chiropractic, and physical therapy haven’t relieved symptoms. It’s used to treat those suffering from degenerative disc disease, chronic neck pain, frequent headaches, sciatica, and many other conditions. If you’re unsure if your symptoms can be treated with spinal decompression, reach out to your chiropractor to see what he or she recommends.

How does it work?

During a typical session, patients lie fully clothed on top of a motorized table. In most cases, patients lie on their backs, but some procedures might have them faced down in a prone position. A brace is fitted snugly around

the patient’s torso, which protects the spine’s stability. Then, the brace attached to the movable lower-half of the table. While this lower-half slides forward and back to provide traction for the spine, the upper-half remains fixed to support the head and shoulders.

Your health care practitioner may combine your spinal decompression session with other types of treatments. These might include electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and heat or cold therapy. Your chiropractor will be able to help you find the best combination of treatments for your unique condition.

What is the timeline?

For best results, patients can typically expect to receive 15-20 sessions over the course of four to six weeks.  Sessions can last between 30-45 minutes and should not be painful, although patients will feel moderate stretching sensations. While there is no precise timeline, many patients report significant relief from their symptoms by the fifth or sixth visit. Other patients even experience total relief from their pain at the time of their decompression. But every patient is different, so it might take longer for some patients to see results from spinal decompression therapy.

Who should avoid spinal decompression therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy can hugely beneficial in treating chronic pain and other conditions. But some people might want to avoid it. Pregnant women experiencing lower back and leg pain shouldn’t seek out spinal decompression as it could put it the baby at risk. Likewise, patients with broken vertebrae, spinal fusion, or metal implants should also seek out other forms of treatment.

Want to know more?

Spinal decompression therapy can be a highly effective, noninvasive alternative to painful and potentially disruptive surgical procedures. If you want to learn more, contact the Algonquin Chiropractic Center in Algonquin, Illinois today to set up a consultation.

What is Spinal Stenosis and How Do We Treat It?

Spinal Stenosis- What Is It and How Is It Treated?

Here at the Algonquin Chiropractic Center, many of our patients come in with back pain. This pain can lead from a variety of causes, but one common source is spinal stenosis. So, let’s discuss this condition, what causes it, and how it’s treated.

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

Let’s turn to Mayo Clinic for an overview:Photo of a man grabbing his lower back in pain.

“Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck…

The backbone (spine) runs from your neck to your lower back. The bones of your spine form a spinal canal, which protects your spinal cord (nerves).

Some people are born with a small spinal canal. But most spinal stenosis occurs when something happens to narrow the open space within the spine. Causes of spinal stenosis may include:

  • Overgrowth of bone. Wear and tear damage from osteoarthritis on your spinal bones can prompt the formation of bone spurs, which can grow into the spinal canal.
  • Herniated disks. The soft cushions that act as shock absorbers between your vertebrae tend to dry out with age. Cracks in a disk’s exterior may allow some of the soft inner material to escape and press on the spinal cord or nerves.
  • Thickened ligaments. The tough cords that help hold the bones of your spine together can become stiff and thickened over time. These thickened ligaments can bulge into the spinal canal.
  • Abnormal growths can form inside the spinal cord, within the membranes that cover the spinal cord or in the space between the spinal cord and vertebrae. These are uncommon and identifiable on spine imaging with an MRI or CT.
  • Spinal injuries. Car accidents and other trauma can cause dislocations or fractures of one or more vertebrae. Displaced bone from a spinal fracture may damage the contents of the spinal canal. Swelling of nearby tissue immediately after back surgery also can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.”

Most commonly in our clinic we will see older patients with moderate to advance osteoarthritis who have spinal stenosis in the neck and/or low back.

What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

Returning again to Mayo Clinic:

Many people have evidence of spinal stenosis on an MRI or CT scan but may not have symptoms. When they do occur, they often start gradually and worsen over time. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the stenosis and which nerves are affected.

In the neck (cervical spine)

  • Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg
  • Weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg
  • Problems with walking and balance
  • Neck pain
  • In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence)

In the lower back (lumbar spine)Visual representation of lower back pain resulting from spinal stenosis.

  • Numbness or tingling in a foot or leg
  • Weakness in a foot or leg
  • Pain or cramping in one or both legs when you stand for long periods of time or when you walk, which usually eases when you bend forward or sit
  • Back pain”

Typically, a patient over 50 will present a history of low back pain and more recently pain, cramping, or tingling in one or both legs. These patients can stand or walk for a period of time from a few seconds to 20-30 minutes before they develop increased leg pain, cramping, or numbness. Sitting down, bending forward, or leaning over a shopping cart will relieve the pain.

Next time you are in a supermarket look for the older people leaning over their shopping carts—they have spinal stenosis!

These patients feel worse when they are walking and being active. So, what do they do? They sit! They sit to avoid or relieve the pain.

Spinal stenosis is more than back and leg pain. People go from being active and living an active lifestyle to sitting most of the day. A sedentary lifestyle will cause you to gain weight, increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and peripheral artery disease, and cause you to become “deconditioned.”

We know bones grow when they are stressed by physical activity, so when you’re deconditioned your bones will become weaker, causing osteoporosis. When you’re deconditioned your balance isn’t as good either. Having weak bones and losing your balance is a recipe for a hip fracture, spinal fracture, or head injury.

So how do we treat this?

How is Spinal Stenosis Treated?

Looking at Mayo Clinic’s website, they list medication, physical therapy, steroid injections, and surgery as the only treatment for spinal stenosis.

Let’s look at those options:

Medication–In May of 2017 the FDA recommended physicians look for non-pharmacological (no drugs) treatments when dealing with pain, including chiropractic. In Section II of their “Education Blueprint for Health Care Providers Involved in the Management or Support of Patients with Pain,” they listed chiropractic as an option.

Soon after, the American College of Physicians recommended non-pharmacological treatments as a first line of treatment.

These recommendations are all designed to keep people away from opioid drugs and the devastating addiction that can go along with their use.

Physical Therapy–In 2006 a study in the European Spine Journal found that patients with leg pain did “significantly better” with our techniques compared to physical therapy. Patients also had “significantly lower pain scores” after one year. Physical therapy has its place, but if you have leg pain you may want to consider chiropractic first.

Steroid Injections–How effective are cortisone injections for relieving back and leg pain?

Another study in the December 2004 issue of the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine found that 50-75% of patients with radicular pain (leg pain) had temporary relief after the injections, and only 25-57% received excellent long-term relief.

Meanwhile, the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in March 2004 reported that lumbar injections provide only 32% of patients sustained relief.

Surgery–As a general rule, most people want to avoid surgery if they can. On top of that, in 2008 the British Medical Journal reported that outcomes for surgically treated patients and conservatively-treated patients were similar after one and even two years. Why go through surgery if you won’t be any better than you would have been without it?

You can avoid all this!

According to the Spine Journal in 2012:

  • 0% of spine surgery patients have at least one documented complication
  • 0% had an extended stay in the hospital due to complications
  • 5% had post-operative complications
  • 5% had surgical complications
  • 5% died

As it turns out, even the mighty Mayo Clinic may not have all the answers for spinal stenosis.

Does this make sense? You want to take as few meds as possible, right? You want to stay off opioids at all costs. Injections may be an option, but if we can avoid it, even better. We also want to avoid surgery at all costs.

With proprietary, individualized treatment plans for spinal stenosis and leg pain, we use a combination of the Cox Technic, massage therapy, spinal bracing, orthotics, vibration therapy, laser therapy, and rehab to improve patients’ quality of life.

Spinal stenosis surgeons don’t like us, but you will like the results!

Be Well!

Conservative Chiropractic Care or Back Surgery: How You Decide to Treat Back Pain

Back pain? What treatment do you want? We can see from the graph below that what provider you initially choose will have a MAJOR impact on what form of treatment you receive.

(Read how Margaret avoided back surgery below!)

Conservative Chiropractic Care or Back Surgery by Algonquin Chiropractic Center

Many non-chiropractic health care professionals recognize the value of chiropractic back pain treatment. In the Journal of the American Medical Association article published in 2013, the authors suggested chiropractic for low-back pain. Surgery was mentioned as an option only if all else fails.

In another highly respected medical journal, manual manipulation (chiropractic) was shown to beat medication for short-term relief of chronic back pain. With prescription pain drug abuse now classified as an “epidemic” in the United States and the number of spinal fusions soaring 500 percent over the last decade, the essential services provided by doctors of chiropractic (DCs) are more critical than ever.

Doesn’t back pain simply disappear by itself?
Researchers used to believe that back pain would heal on its own. But although back pain may disappear temporarily, it is relatively likely to return. It has been demonstrated that more than 33 percent of people who experience low-back pain find that it lasts longer than 30 days. With recurrence rates as high as 94% proper management of back pain is essential.

What separates our clinic from others?
Numerous reasons, but the Cox Technique is one of the main reasons. This specialized table allows me to painlessly decompress the disc (creating a negative pressure on the disc) and give the nerve 28% more room. Decompressing the disc and relieving pressure on spinal nerves is why this technique is so effective treating difficult back conditions like sciatica, stenosis and disc herniation.

For example, “Margaret” was told by 2 different surgeons that she would need immediate surgery or suffer “permanent nerve damage” or would “be paralyzed.” Well, after treatment on the Cox table she never had surgery and is back to her normal lifestyle which includes working, exercising, walking the dog, traveling, etc… No permanent nerve damage and no paralysis.

Margaret chose a chiropractor as her first choice of provider, she didn’t know it but she only had a 1.5% chance of having surgery. With a case like hers, seeing a surgeon first and hearing the lies about “paralysis and nerve damage” might scare anyone into surgery.


Anthony R. Galante DC CCSP
2210 Huntington Dr. N.
Algonquin, Il. 60102

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