Commonly Asked Questions and Answers Regarding Spinal Decompression Therapy

What is it?
Spinal Decompression Therapy is FDA cleared and has a high success rate for pain associated with herniated or bulging discs…even after failed surgery. It is a non-surgical, traction based therapy for the relief of back and leg pain or neck and arm pain. During this procedure, by cycling through distraction and relaxation phases and by proper positioning, a spinal disc can be isolated and placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it.

How does this negative pressure affect the injured disc?
During spinal decompression therapy, a negative pressure is created within the disc. Because of that negative pressure, disc material that has protruded or herniated can be pulled back within the normal confines of the disc, and permit healing to occur.

What Makes it so Effective?
The computerized traction head technology and doctors’ skills are the keys. Proper assessment and the use of preprogramed patterns of distraction and relaxation may permit disc material to be pulled back within the normal confines of the disc and allow healing to occur. Our treatment is administered start to finish by a qualified doctor not an assistant. We administer oxygen throughout the entire process which also helps in the healing process.

Who Can Benefit from this Treatment?
Anyone who has back pain or neck pain caused in whole or in part by a damaged disc may be helped by spinal decompression therapy. These conditions include herniated, protruding or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica or even failed surgery.

Is there Research to Support Spinal Decompression?

Here are just a few of the many research studies and papers in support of Spinal Decompression over the past 15 years:

Glonis T, Groteke E. Spinal Decompression. Orthopedic Technology Review 5(6):36-39; Nov-Dec 2003.
This study involved 219 patients with herniated discs and degenerative disc disease. 86% who completed the spinal decompression therapy showed immediate improvement and resolution of their symptoms and 92% improved overall.

 Gose E, Naguszewski W, Naguszewski R. Vertebral Axial Decompression Therapy for pain associated with herniated or degenerated discs or facet syndrome:an outcome study. Journal of Neurological Research 20(4):186-90; Apr 1998.
“We consider decompression therapy to be a primary treatment modality for low back pain associated with lumbar disc herniation at single or multiple levels, degenerative disc disease, facet arthropathy, and decreased spine mobility. We believe that post-surgical patients with persistent pain or ‘Failed Back Syndrome’ should not be considered candidates for further surgery until a reasonable trial of decompression has been tried.”

O’Hara K, editor. Decompression: A Treatment for Back Pain. Clinical Care Update. Occupational Medicine 11(10); Oct 2004.
“Decompression has been shown on MRI examination to widen disc space height, while assisting the disc to optimally reposition itself; this triggers herniation shrinkage, which reduces or eliminates protrusions and pressure on surrounding nerves.”

Naguszewski W, Naguszewski R, Gose E. Dermatosomal Somatosensory Evoked Potential Demonstration of Nerve Root Decompression After VAX-D Therapy. Journal of Neurological Research 23(7); Oct 2001.
“Successful reduction of intradiscal pressures with decompression therapy represents a technological advance in lumbar spinal treatment and is likely to affect both the biomechanical and biochemical causes of discogenic pain.”

Guehring T, et al.: Disc distraction shows evidence of regenerative potential in degenerated intervertebral discs as evaluated by protein expression, magnetic resonance imaging, and messenger ribonucleic acid expression analysis. Spine. 2006 Jul 1;31(15):1658-65.
“Distraction results in disc re-hydration, stimulated extracellular matrix gene expression, and increased numbers of protein-expressing cells.”

Komari H, et al.: The Natural History of Herniated Nucleus with Radiculopathy. Spine 21: 225-229, 1996
77 patients verified on pre-post MRI with signs and symptoms of herniation, underwent non-surgical intervention including pelvic traction. Changes in herniation and good to excellent symptomatic improvements were noted in over 82%. The authors draw the conclusion improving the discs contact with the blood supply accounts for healing of herniation.