For Severe Back & Neck Conditions in Richmond

1.  QUESTION: I live in or near Richmond. Can Spinal Decompression help my herniated or bulged disc?

ANSWER: Yes, spinal decompression can help both of these conditions by increasing the available space for the nerve tissue in that region.  Decompression creates negative pressure inside the disc, drawing bulging or herniated disc material away from the nerve tissue and allowing the disc to heal. We’re located in the fan area of Richmond, near the downtown area and VCU.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: A bulge is when the inner part of the disc pushes on the outer part of the disc, causing the outer part to “bulge.”  This in turn can press on nerve tissue.  A herniation is when the inner part of the disc pushes clear through the outside of the disc and into the spinal canal, which can also press on nerve tissue.

2.  QUESTION: What is Spinal Stenosis and can Spinal Decompression help with that condition?

ANSWER: Yes, decompression can treat spinal stenosis, a condition previously thought to be treatable only by surgery. This is one of the more difficult conditions that we treat and the success rate depends on how long the person has had the condition, as well as the age of the patient. Spinal decompression helps by gently drawing in the offending disc.  A small change in the opening size can significantly decompress the nerve tissue, alleviating the symptoms.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal and/or openings for the nerve roots. It is caused by two conditions. One is degenerative arthritis and deposition of calcium where the nerve tissue is located.  The second is either a bulged or herniated disc at that level. The two conditions combine to narrow the area, crowding the nerve tissue.  This puts pressure on nerves, causes pain, decreases nerve function and eventually causes the classic stenosis symptom:  increased pain while walking (that goes away when you stop walking or when you sit).

3.  QUESTION: Can you help degenerative arthritis and spondylosis?

ANSWER: Spinal decompression works wonders for degenerative arthritis, as it rehydrates the disc, increases the size of the disc space and provides motion to the joints.  Decompression also reduces the weight bearing stress to the joints of the spine.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Spondylosis is another name for arthritis.  Arthritis usually starts as a dehydration of the disc between each vertebra due to repetitive injury and stress damage. As the vertebrae stops moving due to this drying out, the body responds by laying down calcium.  A combination of lack of motion, dehydration and calcium deposition creates pain and swelling.

4.  QUESTION: Can both the neck and low back be decompressed?

ANSWER:  Yes, our decompression table can do both areas of the spine, but not at the same time. We are the only true non-surgical spinal disc decompression center in the downtown area of Richmond.

5.  QUESTION: Can Spinal Decompression help spondylolisthesis?

ANSWER: Spinal decompression can be performed on a spondylolisthesis that is within a certain degree of displacement.  Careful review of the x-rays and MRI’s will determine if the procedure can be performed on your spondylolisthesis.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Spondylolisthesis is a non-union or disconnection between the front part of the bone, which supports your weight and the back part of the bone, which controls movement. This non-union usually stabilizes by the early to mid twenties. It usually results in an increase in the lumbar curve which is made worse by standing or sitting. Many times there can be a disc bulge at the site of the spondylolisthesis which causes chronic low back pain.

6.  QUESTION: Can Decompression help a facet syndrome or facet joint hypertrophy?

ANSWER: Yes, decompression can help to alleviate facet joint pain by alleviating the pressure on the facet joint surfaces and mobilizing the joints. If there is a herniation, bulge or degenerated disc at the same level, spinal decompression can eliminate their affects by reducing the pressure on the nerve tissue.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The lumbar facets are located on the back of the vertebra and are directly next to the nerve roots.   For that reason, arthritic changes of the facet joints can place pressure on the exiting nerve root.

7.  QUESTION: If I am receiving epidural injections or have been told I need them, can you do Decompression at the same time?

ANSWER:  Spinal decompression can be used at the same time that epidural injections are given. We wait approximately 24 hours after the injection, as the decompression process creates a negative pressure suction force, drawing the epidural steroid into the offending disc.   This helps reduce pain from the disc bulge or herniation due to the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of the epidural steroid.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Epidural injections are given by pain management medical doctors or orthopedists in order to reduce inflammation in the herniated or bulged discs.  In either the low back or the neck, steroid injections are given into the space that surrounds the spinal cord (the epidural space). These injections are used to control inflammation and are not a cure.  A series of three injections are often given, although less may be given.

8.  QUESTION: Can Decompression Therapy be used with Failed Low Back Surgery?

ANSWER:  Yes, decompression is highly successful in conditions known as “Failed Low Back Surgery.”  It cannot be used where there has been hardware installed due to prior surgery (such as plates, screws, cages or an artificial disc).  We have had a very good rate of pain reduction with failed low back surgery, with no side effects.

9.  QUESTION: What conditions are contraindicated for spinal decompression?

ANSWER: Pregnancy, cancer of the spine or nerve tissue, infections of the spine (myelitis), compression fractures within one year, aortic aneurysms (greater than 5 cm.), osteomalacia (very severe osteoporosis), spondylolisthesis grade 2.5 or above, post-surgical conditions where metal implants have been used (screws, plates, cages and artificial discs).

10.  QUESTION: Are there any documented side effects of Spinal Decompression?

ANSWER: No, there are no documented side effects using spinal decompression.  Prior to undergoing the decompression procedure, a careful evaluation of the patient must first be performed in order to rule out any contraindications.

11.  QUESTION: How do I know if I am a candidate for Spinal Decompression?

ANSWER: To determine if you are a candidate for decompression, we first have a consultation to see if you qualify for the procedure.  We go over your present condition, look at your past history and review your medications.  If you’ve had previous surgeries, we detect if they are affecting your condition.

We then review your X-rays, MRI’s and other laboratory reports and tests. A full body exam is performed, including orthopedic, neurological, range of motion, and strength evaluation. If you do not have MRI’s and or X-rays, we will send out for these.

This information is then analyzed and a determination is made whether or not to accept you case for spinal decompression.

If you live near Richmond are willing to make the trip to our office, we very well may be able to help you to avoid surgery or epidural injections.

12.  QUESTION: Is Decompression different from traction of the spine?

They are indeed very different.  Traction tables are very inexpensive to manufacture because they lack the sophisticated technology to successfully circumvent the body’s natural guarding reflex, which is initiated when a cervical/lumbar spine undergoes distraction (pulling apart) forces.

Although traction devices can stretch the neck or lower back, they have not demonstrated the ability to specifically decompress the discs and reduce pressure on the spinal nerves.

The big difference between traction and decompression is that a true decompression system is able to specifically open up the disc space enough to create a significant amount of negative intradiscal pressure (a significantly lowered pressure in the disc).  The body’s safety guarding system is not provoked with true decompression tables, so the intradiscal pressure can be lowered extremely low.

13.  QUESTION: What are my chances for success?

First thing first, we have to determine IF you’re a candidate for spinal decompression.  If you are a candidate, your chances for success are statistically very high, but your case has to be evaluated individually.  Dr. Lassiter will only accept patients that he truly feels he can help.  People have travelled from all surrounding areas of Richmond for our therapy.

14.  QUESTION: What is the cost for the decompression therapy?  What about insurance coverage?

Remember that we absorb the cost of your initial consultation.

We don’t know if your insurance will cover decompression therapy until we verify your insurance benefits.  Some insurance companies will cover decompression therapy, but each plan is different.

If limited or no insurance reimbursement is available, our cost for decompression is reasonable.  We’ll do our best to provide everyone who’s a candidate with the opportunity to receive decompression therapy.  We provide several flexible payment plans to accommodate most people’s needs.  All costs will be disclosed prior to any commitment from you.

15.  QUESTION: How long does each treatment take?  How long will the whole program take?

Each session requires about one hour on average.

Most patients start at 3 to 4 decompression visits per week for 4-6 weeks.  After this initial period, their decompression visits are reduced in frequency for the remainder of their program, which could last up to 10 weeks.

16. QUESTION: Does the treatment offer a permanent relief?

Yes! When non-surgical spinal decompression is successful, you should not have to return for further care unless you re-injure the area.  We will teach you how not to re-injure the area.

Decompression strengthens and heals the tears in the outer ligament-like bands that hold the inner disc gel in place.  This process seals the injury, prevents future recurrence and provides permanent relief. This is a natural healing response from decompression therapy and will only happen once the pressure in the damaged disc is sufficiently lowered (decompressed).

In many cases the healing process requires only a few weeks.  Patients come to us to return to a normal, pain-free life.