By: Anthony Campo
Recent statistics show that 80 Percent of individuals will suffer a back injury in their lifetime. The overwhelming majority of these injuries stem from improper mechanics and muscle usage during repetitive movements. Learning proper mechanics and how to use proper muscle groups during functional movements is the most important concept in improving and fixing a back injury. This requires a lot of time and effort. Consistently training mechanics to get stronger and improve movement patterns is hard work. Unfortunately hard work does not sell. Coming up with a product that will sell to 80 percent of the population translates to a huge amount of money to be made, so it is not surprising that many businesses have taken advantage of this statistic for the sake of profits.
There are many treatment options for back injury: however, none of them are beneficial without getting stronger and improving mechanics. Many treatment options offer a short-term solution to help treat symptoms, but does nothing to actual solve the real issue. There are merits to many of these treatment options (Example: Physical Therapy, Massage Therapy, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Pharmaceuticals, Surgery, Etc.,) as part of a complete training plan, but are overused in many cases in lieu of training to address the root causes of the injury because they require less time and effort. One treatment option I have seen advertised for that gives misleading information is decompression therapy. Decompression therapy, otherwise known as traction, is a tool that has been used for ages in order to relieve symptoms related to spinal compression leading to neurological symptoms. Spinal decompression therapy, however, is not a one size fits all treatment, and does very little to address to root causes of a variety of back injuries. It is easy and fast, which makes it an attractive option for many. Unfortunately in many cases it offers no long-term solution and just pads some business’s wallet.
Here is the The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in terms of choosing spinal decompression as treatment for a back injury.
The Good – For individuals suffering with a spinal injury resulting in disc slippage, compressed nerves, and narrowing of the structures of the spine, it can help temporarily relieve the symptoms of excessive compressive forces
The Bad – Used when the cause of the symptoms (pain, dysfunction) is not compression (used as a one size fits all treatment.) It does nothing for the long-term solution of the problem. Instead the root causes of the problem should be discovered and then addressed through proper training.
The Ugly – If the injury is caused by muscle weakness or hypermobility in specific areas of the body, decompression therapy can actually be dangerous and make the problem worse.