Spinal decompression is a therapy which involves tractioning the spine. It uses an integrated traction table to create a negative pressure intended to relieve stress on the spinal cord or one or more compressed nerve roots passing through or exiting the spinal column on the disc(s).

Spinal Decompression therapy is utilized with the goals of ameliorating pain and promoting the best possible therapeutic setting for bulging, arthritic, or herniated discs.

How does Spinal Decompression Work?

Spinal decompression is a type of integrated traction therapy applied to the spine in an attempt to bring about several benefits such as:

  • Creates a negative pressure in the spinal disc(s) to promote repositioning of the disc bulge or herniated disc.
  • Delivers a negative pressure in the disc that will cause an influx of oxygen and nutrients and removal of toxins through a ‘pumping’ motion.

Spinal decompression therapy can be used for either the low back (lumbar) or neck (cervical) spinal discs. The patient (either face down or on their back) lies on a motorized table which can change angles and positions to target the desired area of treatment. In low back procedures, a harness around the hips is attached to a traction head at the lower end. The part of the table (where the head is) remains in a stabilized position while the lower part tractions back and forth to provide the decompression and pain relief.

What does it treat?

Who benefits from Spinal Decompression Therapy

The indications for spinal decompression therapy are somewhat extensive.

Spinal decompression is prescribed as a treatment for many types of lower back pain, leg pain, sciatica, neck pain or arm pain caused by a bulging or herniated disc, and disc degeneration.

Who should not have Spinal Decompression?

The following groups of people are not good candidates for non-surgical spinal decompression:

  • Pregnancy
  • Recent spinal fractures
  • Spinal fusions
  • People who have a replacement disc, or other any spinal surgical implants
  • Failed back surgery
  • Multiple surgeries without improvement 
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Osteoporosis, or osteopenia 
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spinal infection or Spinal tumour
  • Patients on blood-thinning medication

Does Spinal Decompression Hurt?

 It is incredibly unusual for a patient to experience any pain during Spinal Decompression therapy. However, you will feel your muscles stretching in and around your spine. A vacuum or negative pressure created during Spinal Decompression can help relieve pain and stress on bulging, arthritic, and herniated discs.

What is the success rate of spinal decompression?

The Journal of Neurological Research reported that vertebral axial decompression was successful in 71% of the 778 cases. The success rate varied from 73% for patients with a single herniated disc to 72% for people with more than one herniated discs.

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