Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal Decompression is a very effective in treating neck pain, back pain, and sciatica caused by bulging, herniated, and degenerated discs (facet syndrome). Also called Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression (NSSD), it has been shown to also help certain types of spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that houses the spinal cord.

The discs between the spinal vertebra are made mostly of water. They are avascular. This means there is no blood or nutrient supply to them. So when they herniate or degenerate, they don’t heal. Surgery, epidural injections, and other treatments can’t “rehydrate” a disc. When it’s lost, it is lost…Until now. Spinal decompression can help repair the disc. It slowly lengthens and decompresses the spine. This causes a negative pressure within the disc.1 This reversal of pressure creates an intradiscal vacuum that helps to reposition bulging discs and pull extruded disc material back into place. This takes pressure off pinched nerves. This shouldn’t be confused with spinal traction. Traction pulls immediately to the amount programmed. For example, if a linear traction table is set for 60 lbs., the table will pull you right to 60 lbs.

The problem with this is your back muscles will guard the back and not allow complete pulling of the spine. When it’s done and the pressure is reduced, the back muscles will go into spasm mode, possibly causing additional injury. Not good. Spinal decompression will get to that 60lbs setting but will “ramp” up. It may start at 3lbs, then rest. Then 9lbs then rest. So when it finally gets to the 60lbs mark, the muscles don’t sense danger and will relax. This allows complete pulling of the spine. Decompression experts believe that when we get to this level, nutrients, oxygen, and fluids are drawn into the disc to create a revitalized environment that is conducive to healing.2 Hydrating also occurs within the disc.

Spinal experts conclude that spinal decompression stimulates the body’s repair mechanism, providing the building blocks needed to mend injured and degenerated discs. Though individual results may vary, the majority of patients show positive results. Spinal decompression enables the body to get to work and heal itself! Now there truly is hope for lasting relief without epidural injection, drugs or surgery.

What to Expect When Starting

During your consultation at Breakthrough Wellness Center, one of the doctors will conduct a complete examination with possible x-rays. An MRI may be ordered, or if you have one already done, we will give you a complementary second read. We will then determine the extent of your condition and whether you are a candidate for Spinal Decompression.

When the treatment begins, you will be comfortably fitted into the machine and safely harnessed in. The table will be raised to the proper height for optimal decompression for you. When treatment starts you will start to feel a mild pull. Remember, the table ramps slowly so the feeling is minimal. It is very relaxing and many patients report falling asleep during treatment. Treatment is usually 20-30 minutes. You are also given a safety turn off switch. If at any time you feel pain or discomfort, you can hit the switch which will turn the decompression off.

1. Gustavo Ramos, MD; William Martin, MD, Effects of Vertebral Axial Decompression on Intradiscal Pressure, Journal of Neurosurgery, 81 (3), 1994

2. Michael Schuenke, MD, PhD; Erik Shulte, MD; Udo Schumacher, MD, Thieme Atlas of Anatomy. Germany: Georg Thieme Verlag, 2006.