Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The therapy of spinal decompression involves the stretching of the spine with the help of traction tables or like motorized devices with the aim of relieving pain in back or leg. This procedure is also known as non-surgical decompression therapy.


The devices used for spinal decompression works on the exact basic principle of spinal traction that is offered by osteopaths, chiropractors and other trained health professionals. The goal of both decompression and traction therapy is to relieve pain and promote a healing environment for herniated, degenerated, or bulging disks.
It is a kind of traction therapy that is applied to spine in order to achieve several theoretical benefits such as:
  • Lowering the pressure in the disc to cause an influx of healing nutrients and other essential substances in the disc. 
  • Creating a negative intradiscal pressure in order to promote repositioning or retraction of the bulging or herniated disk. 

Conditions That Can Be Treated Using Spinal Decompression

Following are the conditions that can be treated using SD:

Bulging and Herniated disc

Discs are situated between the bones of spine also called vertebrae and their function is to absorb shock caused to spine. Annulus fibrosis is the outer disc of the wall and it surrounds a jelly like center called nucleus pulpous. Year of bending, twisting, lifting coughing sneezing, wear and tear can weaken the walls of the disc and cause a tear or bulge which causes pressure on the surrounding nerves. In this condition, all or part of the gelatinous center of a disc is forced from the weakened area of the pout wall which eventually results in irritation in nerve roots and back pain.
Use of spinal decompression therapy to as a cure for this condition helps take the pressure off the damaged discs to aid the disc bulge to shrink back to its original position and size.


This condition refers to the pain that a person feels along the sciatic nerve. The pain caused by this condition is generally felt in the buttocks, from where it further radiates down the leg. A sudden pain in your hip or lower back radiating to the back of the thigh and towards the leg might mean that you have a herniated (protruding) disc in spinal column which is pressing the roots of sciatic nerve. This condition is referred to as sciatica.
An important thing to know about sciatica is that it is a symptom of a condition – of something irritating or compressing the roots of the nerves that make up the sciatic nerve – rather than being a medical disorder or medical diagnosis in itself. This is important to know because often the underlying medical diagnosis needs to be treated in order to relieve the pain.

Degenerative Disc Disorder

This can also be treated with the therapy of spinal decompression. Vertebral bodies can move closer due to loss in the height of the disc and this condition can be aggravated by the spinal compression. This causes the nerves to compress and can cause other types of common back pains.
Using spinal decompression can reduce the pressure in the degenerated discs eliminating or reducing the painful symptoms.
Facet syndrome, neck pain, failure following a surgery or relapse, and spinal stenosis can also be treated by using Spinal decompression method.

Methods and Techniques

Following are the methods and techniques used in spinal decompression therapy:


This is the practice of applying gentle traction to spine by hanging upside down and it has been around for around 2,000 years. The principle behind this is when the body is inverted, the quantity of weight pulling on every level of the spine is directly proportional to the force required to gain proper alignment.


It is a massage therapy that places every joint through manual distraction, from the finger to spine. Manual distraction means that the pulling in done manually. While pulling a finger can be fairly easy, distracting the spine by pulling is not. So the skill and strength of the professional working on your back will determine the effectiveness of the therapy.


This is the most commonly used technique for spinal decompression, and majority of the chiropractics and physical therapists have this equipment in their offices. In this equipment there are two harnesses; one is meant for the hips and the other for the chest. The force applied externally can be easily controlled and the equipment can be set on intermittent and continuous pull. Most patients start with 50% of their body weight. The legs should be at 90 degrees from the upper body. If that does not work, then the table that the patient is lying on can be split in to so that the hips of the patient can move along with the pull. A typical session might last for about 10 to minutes and with each subsequent the pull is increase by approximately 10 pounds.


 For more information on Dr. Joseph Mills, visit: www.westhillspaincenter.com or call: 631-659-2980



Hefferon, S. PTA, CMT. What is it and will it work for you and your condition? Retrieved from <http://www.losethebackpain.com/treatments/spinal-decompression/>
What causes back and neck pain? Retrieved from <http://www.silvermanspine.com/treatable-conditions/>
E. Gay, R. MD, DC. All about spinal decompression therapy. Retrieved from <http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/all-about-spinal-decompression-therapy>

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