Spinal Decompression Therapy is a non-surgical activity and involves stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar motorized device, with the goal of relieving back pain and/or leg pain. Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorized traction that may help relieve back pain.
Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine. That changes the force and position of the spine. This change takes pressure off the spinal disks, which are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine, by creating negative pressure in the disc. As a result, bulging or herniated disks may retract, taking pressure off nerves and other structures in your spine. This helps promote movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal.
Theory of Spinal Decompression
Spinal decompression devices use the same basic principle of spinal traction that has been offered by chiropractors, osteopaths, and other appropriately trained health professionals for many years.
Spinal decompression is a type of traction therapy applied to the spine in an attempt to bring about several theoretical benefits including:
- Create a negative intradiscal pressure to promote retraction or repositioning of the herniated or bulging disc material.
- Create a lower pressure in the disc that will cause an influx of healing nutrients and other substances into the disc.1
- Spinal decompression is an alternative therapy designed with the goal of alleviating spinal pain and promoting healing of the intervertebral disc.
Indications for Spinal Decompression Therapy
Nonsurgical spinal decompression can be used in an attempt to treat:
- Back or neck pain or sciatica, which is pain, weakness, or tingling that extends down the leg
- Low back pain
- Bulging or herniated disks or degenerative disk disease
- Worn spinal joints (called posterior facet syndrome)
- Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots
Contact a pain specialist if you have any of these symptoms.