Benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy

According to an article published in U.S. News, over 80 percent of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and approximately 30 percent of people live with back pain on any given day. However, for many of these people, spinal fusion and other surgical solutions may be over-recommend and overused by surgeons.

If you have recently been advised to have back surgery, there may be alternative options available to you that are less invasive and could have a more favorable long-term impact. Spinal decompression is a safe, non-surgical FDA-cleared technology that is typically used to treat disc injuries in the lower back and neck.

How It Works

When you’re born, your vertebrae come packed with water, which gives them plenty of cushion to make movements comfortable and fluid. Unfortunately, as you age, fluid leaks out of the joints and causes them to become less fluid and flexible. This process can be accelerated by sustained periods of spinal loading (when excessive pressure is put on the spine). As the spinal discs thin out, a variety of problematic symptoms can develop, including:

  • Chronic lower back or neck pain

  • Muscle atrophy and weakness

  • Sciatica pain (in one or more lower extremities)

  • Radiating nerve pain

  • Tingling and numbness in the extremities

Spinal compression that occurs during sitting and other daily activities squeezes fluid out of the discs and causes pain. Decompressing the vertebrae by gently stretching them apart allows fluid to make its way back in. As the vertebrae are gently separated from each other, a vacuum effect is created inside the discs. It is this vacuum effect that pulls in some of the water that leaks out due to spinal compression.

Non-surgical spinal decompression can help relieve pain and restore more natural function. It is typically conducted on a specialized lumbar decompression table and works by gently manipulating the spinal structures into their proper positions. Spinal decompression therapy forces nutrient-rich fluids and oxygen into the discs where they can facilitate the healing process.

Your Alternative to Spinal Surgery

While spinal surgery may be necessary in some cases, many people have discovered that spinal decompression therapy provides long-term relief without the invasiveness of surgery. To find out if you are a good candidate for spinal decompression therapy, call Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy and schedule your consultation.

Function Based Care Versus Symptom

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, chronic pain affects approximately 100 million adults in the United States. Unfortunately, modern medicine is largely focused on treating symptoms rather than the underlying cause of pain. If you have a headache, you most likely reach for a bottle of Ibuprofen or Tylenol without thinking twice. While symptom relief care provides relief, it is only temporary. If the underlying cause of your recurring pain is not identified and treated, it will most likely continue to cause you discomfort.

How Function Based Care Works

Function based care differs from symptom relief care in that it identifies, targets and treats the underlying cause of pain instead of focusing solely on relieving the symptoms. While symptom relief care can help you feel good temporarily, function based care is designed to help you feel good for longer periods of time.

When chiropractic adjustments are made without considering root causes of pain – such as immune system imbalances – they only serve to temporarily relieve symptoms. Function based care, on the other hand, is designed to provide long-term relief rather than temporary relief.

Function based care involves correcting misalignments in the spine with gentle, specialized adjustments. These adjustments are made with the help of current technology and are based on a detailed understanding of the nervous system and how it can affect spinal alignment.

Nervous System Considerations

Optimal spinal alignment cannot be maintained without identifying imbalances within the nervous system and correcting them. While there are a variety of factors that can over excite your nervous system and cause imbalances, stress is one of the major culprits. According to information revealed by a research team led by Sheldon Cohen with Carnegie Mellon University, stress can cause the body to become ineffective at regulating its inflammatory response. Chronic inflammation overtaxes the immune system and can cause a variety of problems, including muscle and joint pain.

Unfortunately, few chiropractors consider the nervous system when correcting spinal misalignments. For this reason, true spinal correction and optimal nervous system balance is nearly impossible to achieve or maintain, unless care is received from a chiropractor who specializes in function based care.

Seeking Long-Term Relief

If you think your spinal pain and tension headaches may be related to an immune system imbalance, Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy offers function based care for long-term health improvements rather than temporary relief of symptoms.

An Overview of Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Methods

Whether you are recovering from an injury, looking for a solution to chronic pain, or simply wanting to relax, alternative therapies such as massage and chiropractic treatment can be right for you. Before you go in for a consultation, it is nice to have an understanding of the available options. Here are some of the methods of care offered at Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy.

Physical Therapy

This type of treatment can be extremely effective during recovery from an injury or to address chronic pain. Physical therapy programs can also focus on preventing injuries or optimizing physical fitness. Most treatment plans involve a combination of stretching and strength exercises, stability postures, and movements to improve flexibility and balance.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapists design treatments for support and pain relief related to pregnancy, recovery from auto accidents, and sports injuries. Massage offers patients numerous benefits, including:

  • improved blood circulation

  • reduced back and neck pain

  • increased relaxation

  • rejuvenation for low energy levels

  • stress relief

Chiropractic Care

Why is chiropractic care so important? The fact is that many Americans suffer from chronic back and neck pain and/or severe headaches. The CDC shows that nearly 30 percent of Americans commonly experience lower back pain, while nearly 20 percent suffer from severe headaches or migraines. With the potential dangers of addiction to strong pain medications, many people are choosing alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care.

There are several different chiropractic methods. Chiropractors may use a drop table to help move a specific area of the body during spinal alignment adjustments. This specialized table helps make spinal manipulations more effective and comfortable. Spinal decompression therapy is another type of treatment. A lumbar decompression table uses traction to help decompress and stretch the spine to reduce pain. Flexion distraction therapy focuses on the lumbar spine. It's designed to address disc problems such as bulges and herniations and can also help increase spinal motion. This treatment is performed on a specially designed table that flexes and distracts the spine automatically using gentle, repeated motions.

Customized Care

The most important part of pain management or recovery is finding the right treatments for your unique situation. For example, you may be a good candidate for the Accelerated Recovery Protocol, a technique that introduces a bioelectrical current during specific exercises to improve the body's recovery ability. The caring experts at Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy can create an individualized recovery plan for you, so you can get the treatment you need to help heal and maintain your body.

Better Performance with a Sports Chiropractor

It’s no secret that professional athletes seek chiropractic help for pain management and to help recover from injuries. But did you know that chiropractic applications can help enhance athletic performance and prevent injuries too? Just ask a professional football player; every NFL team engages the services of a sports chiropractor in some manner. In fact, an estimated 90 percent of athletes at the world-class level participate in chiropractic care as a means of avoiding injuries and boosting their performance level.

The Impact of Sports on Your Body

Whether you play golf or football, the required training sessions and ongoing practice, practice, practice demanded of athletes affects your body in some way. The exertion improves and helps build muscles, but it places great strain on your body. It also affects your spine and joints, and not always in a good way.

During a soccer match, the average speed of a soccer ball between the time it’s kicked and the point of impact (when another player receives it) is about 67 mph. So it’s no surprise that one chiropractic expert likens the heading of a soccer ball moving at 70 mph to being hit by boxing great Muhammad Ali. If you’re the receiver, it’s surely going to rattle your cage and worse, it can knock spine, leg and arm joints out of alignment. The same is true in football and many other sports, including low-impact sports such as golf.

How Spine Alignment Affects Performance

When the spine is not aligned properly or not moving as it should, irritation can develop in the nervous system. The irritation can lead to decreased functionality, or at least a decrease from peak performance, in other body systems. This includes the respiratory system, which is vital to athletes and non-athletes alike.

Benefits of a Sports Chiropractor

The lion’s share of chiropractic treatment is for spine and nervous system complaints that include back and neck pain. However, as a practice, chiropractic also encompasses leg and arm joints, as well as headaches and strain on your body.

Common athletic complaints also include shoulder pain and ankle injuries, and many athletes prefer to treat these ailments through chiropractic care instead of painkillers or surgery. Athletes who receive regular, non-injury adjustments may find they have better range of motion, heightened blood flow, and fewer injuries. Better flexibility is another benefit, which can also help athletes experience fewer injuries.

Proper spine alignment is a must for athletes seeking to improve their performance and for anyone who wants to feel better. Get in touch with Olympia Chiropractic & Physical Therapy for an evaluation.

Olympia Chiropractic & Physical Therapy Monthly Favorites

20-Minute Dinners You Can Make Even After a Long Day


When meal-prep doesn't happen, pizza delivery does. Because who has time to actually make a full dinner when you get home after a long day? This week's featured foodie, Neda Varbanova of Healthy With Nedi, proves that cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be time-consuming. She compiled her favorite 20-minute recipes so you don't have to settle for takeout, or spend hours in the kitchen (we know you really just want to be sitting on the couch) to get a delicious dinner on the table. Read more...


A 5K Training Plan for People Who Basically Hate Running


So you want to run a 5K? Yes! Except you're not willing to overhaul your entire life to fit in long runs and figure out complicated workouts. We get it. But you can still easily prep for a 5K race or run without sacrificing your sanity. This plan features totally doable weekday workouts and one long run on the weekends. Read more...


6 Ways to Look and Feel Good This Summer


With every new season comes a new set of beauty woes: hair loss as the leaves fall in autumn, dry skin in the cold of winter, humidity from all the rain in spring. And while summer may bring with it beachy waves and sun-kissed cheeks, it also presents many problems of its own. Here, we offer solutions to some common ones. Read more...


24 Actually Helpful Tips for Waking Up Early to Work Out


We know not everyone is a morning person. (And even fewer of us are eager to wake up and hit the gym.) But getting up and moving can actually be an amazing way to start your day—for most of us, it's just a matter of how. Read more...


39 Healthy Breakfasts for Busy Mornings


We admit it: There are some (or more like, many) mornings where it's everything we can do to will ourselves out of bed and grab a fistful of cereal or a crappy granola bar on our way out the door. It's not like a gourmet breakfast is a realistic everyday goal. But that doesn't mean we should settle for a sugar rush that will leave us sad and hungry just a half hour later. You'd be surprised how many healthy breakfast ideas require very little effort when put into practice. We're about to blow your mind with everything from crazy-easy breakfast muffins you can make ahead of time to healthy smoothie recipes you can whip up day-of in just minutes. Overnight oats recipe? Oh yeah. We've got a killer one of those. And did we mention the PB&J waffle sandwich? How had we not thought of this genius combination already?! Read more...

Chiropractic Care and Soccer Performance

Chiropractic Care and Soccer Performance

Soccer has come a long way in the U.S. since our national team qualified for the final round of the World Cup in 1990. An estimated 24.5 million Americans now play soccer at some level, second in numbers to only China. With the rise in popularity has come a rise in injuries and a closer look at how chiropractic care can help players avoid injuries and increase performance.

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Reduce Football Injuries with Chiropractic Education

Results of Cervical Spine Football Injuries

Players and coaches alike know that cervical pine injuries place players of this American contact sport at high risk. All too frequently, this type of injury happens when a player lowers his head just before either blocking or tackling an opposing player.

Once the lowering movement is made, the Cervical Lordosis and cervical spine flatten out – taking away almost all of the spine’s ability to absorb the shock of the hit. Such a hit can result in symptoms that range in severity from temporary pain and weakness in extremities to cervical cord neuropraxia which may result in permanent damage or death.


Education is Key

A chiropractor who has spent years studying the workings of the spine and correcting related problems may be just the professional to advise coaches and athletic directors about the best ways to keep athletes safe. They are frequently willing to meet with coaches and players and offer safety suggestions meant to keep each player safe and well.  Some of these suggestions may include:

  • Advising players about the importance of keeping the head up.
  • Explaining why making first contact with the helmet may be harmful.
  • The importance of a protected neck.
  • How to keep your head protected beyond simply wearing a helmet.

Pre-season safety meetings with players, coaches and parents may help all involved to take heed of the many ways to stay safe while still enjoying America’s favorite sport.


An Ounce of Prevention

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the phrase “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In the case of football injuries, this certainly rings true. Working with a chiropractor who can help instruct coaches and players has been shown to decrease the rate of injury. Having a plan for addressing any catastrophic injuries that may happen at practice or during a game is another way to ensure that all involved will be prepared, should an injury occur.

Athlete of the Month - Brian Fogle

Our team at Olympia Chiropractic & Physical Therapy takes care of far more than just those suffering from back pain. The increased movement and flexibility that chiropractic care offers can prove beneficial in a number of areas in life, especially sports. Don’t just take our word for it: every month we profile a different athlete that has put our promises of improved competitive performance through chiropractic care to the test, and experienced the difference for themselves. Introducing our June Athlete of the Month, Brian Fogle.

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Life After the NFL with Matt Bowen

Recovery After the NFL

I started going to Dr. Mike Calcagno's clinic, Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy in Elmhurst three years ago. After playing seven years in the NFL and experiencing post-career pain in my lower back, neck and joints, I needed a place that would help my with pain-management techniques, strengthening, flexibility and provide a competitive environment of training. And that's exactly what I've received with my treatment at Olympia due to Dr. Calcagno and his excellent staff.

My body has completely changed since starting treatment at Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy.

Not only have I added overall strength, but I've also dropped from my NFL playing weight of 208 pounds to 192 pounds thanks to Dr. Calcagno's attention to detail on nutrition and health management. Along with the treatment plan to correct multiple alignment issues in my body, I've added core strength, lower body power and have seen a major difference in flexibility due to the functional training with Dr. Calcagno's staff.

Coaching and Feeling Good

As a high school football coach at IC Catholic Prep in Elmhurst, the adjustments I've made to my body have allowed me to be pain-free on the field when working with my players. That's key to coaching defensive backs in terms of demonstrating techniques and movements. In the past, before starting treatment, the overall pain in my body limited my ability to perform functional movements.

Here’s the thing with Dr. Calcagno and his staff — it’s not just treatment to fix pain. This is a complete program, one that teaches strength, conditioning, health management and provides overall gains.

Very similar to being a professional athlete, I wanted a place that provided a challenging and competitive environment. And that's exactly what I get when I walk in the door at Dr. Calcagno's clinic. His ability to motivate and provide a working atmosphere has been so beneficial to my development years after playing football in the NFL.

Family Life

We are an active family with four small boys and the little things that would cause pain or limit me in the past have been erased. As an NFL analyst for ESPN, writing is at the top of the list of favorites for me. But my passion is in coaching. From the high school level to coaching my four boys in youth baseball, basketball, flag football and soccer, I love to teach and be a part of the Elmhurst community.

Speaking of community, I think you will find Olympia Chiropractic and Physical Therapy have created a great one. No different than building a successful and productive football team, Dr. Calcagno and his staff are the main reason I train three days a week in the clinic.

This is a top-tier group that cares for their patients and works to put you in the most positive situations so you can make the needed corrections and see monumental gains with training or treatment.

Whether you're looking for injury rehab, general health management, or pain reduction our unique blend of Chiropractic Care, Physical Therapy and Massage can help you. Contact us today for a consultation.