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Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal Decompression

Safe and effective, non-surgical relief from nagging back or neck pain

Spinal Disc Decompression Therapy using our DTS table is a safe and alternative treatment designed to help relieve your nagging back, neck, or referral pain such as sciatica. Clinical studies of non-surgical spinal decompression therapy are reporting that a high percentage of patients show significant reduction of pain. A percentage reports the elimination of pain. Thousands of people across the country are enjoying the benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy. We are eager to help you learn if you are a candidate for this treatment method.

Spinal Decompression Therapy using our DTS table is a safe and effective treatment for pain without the risks associated with surgery, anesthesia, infection, injections, or prescription medication. As you imagine, decompression therapy is rapidly gaining popularity due to it's exceptional results treating chronic back pain without surgery.

Simply described, this method of treatment uses a therapeutic table that is connected to a computer, to electronically stretch and decompress your spinal structures. You rest on the table while a padded harness focuses the gentle force along your spinal column. This decompresses your spine - specifically the intervertebral discs and joints and stretched your spinal muscles - the three structures that produce most of your pain.

Prior to beginning treatments, we evaluate you to determine if you are a candidate. Your medical history, x-rays, CT/ MRI scans are carefully reviewed. If you are a candidate for therapy, an individual treatment plan is created for your specific needs. A typical plan may be between 10 to 30 treatments. It is important to complete your treatment plan - and thus the full healing process- even if you start to feel improvement early on. It is not uncommon to experience a significant reduction in pain early in your treatments.

At the beginning of each session, you are fitted with a comfortable harness designed to offer optimal decompression, unloading due to distraction and positioning. You are fully clothed, and a specially trained technician will make sure that you are properly positioned for comfort, safety and effectiveness. The computer is programmed in accordance with your specific treatment plan, and your session commences. Additionally, you are in complete control and can shut down the treatment session at any time if discomfort should occur.

During each session, you experience multiple cycles of treatment, which may take 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Each cycle takes between 3 to 5 minutes. The equipment is designed to apply precisely-controlled tension along the axis of your spinal column, creating decompression of the intervertebral discs. The process is fully automated and administered by a computer, which in turn is monitored by a technician.

During the treatment cycles, you may feel some relief of the pressure in the area where your pain exists. Durin this time, your body is responding by flooding the area with valuable oxygen, blood, nutrients which help promote your body's natural healing process.

Your treatments sessions are typically both comfortable and relaxing. At the end of your session, you're ready to head home. Most patients benefit and enjoy their treatments.

Schedule your initial exam today and find out if Spinal Disc Decompression can benefit you!

How Does Spinal Decompression Therapy Work?

Our office is pleased to provide the latest spinal disc decompression table for the Roswell area.

Spinal Decompression Therapy is a revolutionary non-surgical treatment for low back pain and disc herniations. It is safe. It is comfortable. It is effective. Check out the following pages to find out if Spinal Decompression Therapy is right for you.

Spinal Decompression Therapy works by restoring proper function to an injured disc. This is done by producing a controlled, mechanical traction on the spine using our Triton DTS Decompression Table. During the "pull" ,injured discs are gently stretched apart, producing a suction force inside the disc. This draws disc buldges and herniations back into the center of the disc along with oxygen, water, nutrients, and other healing substances. The end result is a strong, healthy, properly functioning disc in about 84% of the patients.

Spinal Decompression Therapy is a lot like disc rehabilitation. Not only does decompression minimize disc bulges and herniations, but it also restores the proper nutrient supply to the disc. This allows the disc to regain its proper motion, and essentially proper nutrient supply. If the decompression is successful, the disc remains healthy even after the  treatment is finished.

Treatment and Cost

The course of therapy varies from person to person, but most patient will require 10-30 sessions over a 6-8 week period. The treatment sessions are brief, lasting about 20 minutes. Disc distraction is most effective when combined with chiropractic adjustments, ice, muscle stimulation, and exercises, all of which are performed in our office and coordinated with your distraction therapy. The response time is usually swift due to the timeliness of treatment.

The cost for this procedure varies based on the patient's response and insurance coverage. As a good measure, the cost for the 6-8week period is usually between $1500 - $2500, however co-payments may mean substantially less out of pocket expense. In the case of no insurance coverage, various payment plans are available which makes this treatment affordable for most people. Exact costs are unable to be determined prior to initiating treatment.  Please call our office for more information.

Spinal Decompression FAQ's

Is it safe?
Yes.  The distraction is produced by a FDA approved, computer-controlled device using forces that are usually about 50 of the patient's body weight, and therefore well within safe limits.

Is it painful?
No. Distraction force is always set within the patient's pain tolerance. In fact, most patient's comment that it "feels good." There are cases where patients are sore after the treatment. This is usually temporary, and is a result of the necessary healing process. In the rare case that a patient is sore after treatment, this discomfort typically reduces with continued treatment and tissue healing.

Will it work?
Individual results vary based on the severity of each patient's condition, however, distraction is effective in about 84% of patients.

How many times will I have to come?
Usually about 20 sessions are required to produce the desired results. Accomplishing the distractions in a relatively short period of time is important to appropriately heal the injured disc. This may mean that distractions are done 3-4  days a week for 4-6 weeks. This may seem frequent, but is sometimes necessary to produce the optimal results.

How much does it cost?
Your cost will depend on your response to care. We can give you an accurate assessment of how much care you need and at what cost once we have
evaluated you. Remember, payment plans are always available.

Do I need an MRI ?
Maybe. It varies case by case, but having an MRI is preferred. If you've already had an MRI , bring copies with you to your first appointment. If you've never had an MRI , we'll discuss your clinical need with you after your examination. (MRI 's are not available at our facility, but are referred to local radiology centers.)

Is this procedure supported by clinical research?
Yes. Here are some brief abstracts with references:

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-excellent symptomatic improvements were noted in over 82%.  The authors draw the conclusion improving the disc's contact with the blood supply accounts for healing of herniation and there is an excellent prognosis for herniation with conservative treatment.

  • Komari H, et. al.: The Natural History of Herniated Nucleas with Radiculopathy.  Spine. 21: 225-229, 1996.

Three weeks of the described traction method to large volume herniations resulted in complete resolution of symptoms in all 4 patients.

  • Constatoyannis, C. et. al.  Intermittent Cervical Traction for Radiculopathy Due to Large-Volume Herniations.  JMPT.  25(3) 2002.

29 Patients and 7 healthy volunteers had intermittent traction done while in MR.  Substantial increase in vertebral length was seen.  Full herniation reduction in 3 and partial reduction in 18 of the patients was reported.

  • Chung, TS; Lee, YJ, et. al.  Reducibility of Cervicial Herniation: Evaluation at MRI during Cervical Traction with a Nonmagnetic Traction Device.  Radiology.  Dec, 225(3):895-900, 2002.

30 patients with lumbar herniations axial disc decompress in a CT scanner at 58% body weight for 20 minutes.  Hernia retraction occurred in 70% and good clinical improvements were seen in over 93%.  The authors concluded improved blood flow was the source of healing.  Additionally, they speculated previous studies showing traction doesn't create negative intradiscal pressures perhaps used too light a force.

  • Onel, D, et. al.: CT Investigation of the Effects of Traction on Lumbar Herniation.  Spine. 14: 82-90, 1989.

The application of supine lumbar traction with adherence to several specific characteristics including gradual progression to a peak force and altering the angle of 'pull' from 10 degrees (L5-S1) to 30 degrees (L3) enhanced distraction at specific levels and patient outcomes.

  • Shealy, N.; Leroy, P. New Concepts in Back Pain Managment.  American Journal of Physical Medicine. (1)20:239-241, 1998.

A retrospective analysis of over 770 cases, many assumed to be unresponsive to previous therapies, showed a 71% good-excellent success rate with 20 treatments on the prone Vax-D traction device.  All patients treated prone with 65-95lbs. of force 3-5 times per week.

  • Gose, E.; Naguszewski WR.  Vertebral Axial Decompression for Pain Associated with Herniated and Degenerated Discs or Facet Syndrome: An Outcome Study.  Journal of Neurological Research.  (20)3,186-190, 1997.

Intervertebral pressure was recorded before and during traction.  62% of prolapsed discs showed a negative pressure prior to traction.  64% reduced in pressure with traction which was related to the distraction distance.  In 19% of prolapsed discs the pressure actually increased, demonstrating the disruption to the hydrostatic mechanism occurring with annual damage and prolapse.

  • Chen, YG; Li, FB; Huang, CD.  Biomechanics of Traction for Lumbar Disc Prolapse.  Chinese Orthopedics.  Jan. (1): 40-2, 1994.

Cervical intermittent traction was shown to be effective in relieving pain, increasing frequency of myoelectric signals and improving blood flow in affected muscles.

  • Nanno, M.  Effects of Intermittent Cervical Traction on Muscle Pain.  EMG and Flowmetric Studies on Cervical Paraspinals.  Nippon Medical Journal.  Apr;61(2):137-147, 1994.

The author's analysis shows loads not greater than those occurring in everyday life cause loss of stability of the disc and allow lateral nucleus displacement.  The model indicates conservative therapy by traction may result in retraction of herniation by about 40%.

  • Dietrich, M; et. al. Non-linear Finite Element Analysis of Formation and Treatment of Disc Herniation.  Proc Inst Mech Eng; 206(4):225-31, 1992.

Significant negative pressure (-100mm Hg) was recorded at L4-L5 disc in 3 volunteers as axial decompression was administered.  Negative pressure was observed at ~50lbs tension perhaps representing a minimum threshold force.  Patients were prone and harnessed.

  • Ramos, G.; Martin, WM.  Effects of Axial Decompression on Intradiscal Pressure.  Journal of Neurology. 81:350-353, 1994.

A controlled trial of traction with manipulative techniques.  Traction force applied at 100lbs. for 20 minutes leading to substantial relief in over 85% of participants.

  • Mathews, JA, et. al.  Manipulation and Traction for Lumbago and Sciatica.  Physiotherapy Practice. 4:201,1988.

58 subjects had an inclusive conservative program including traction (when initially shown to reduce leg symptoms).  Overall, 86% had good-excellent results.

  • Saal, JA; Saal, JS.  Nonoperative Treatment of Herniated Lumbar Disc with Radiculopathy.  Spine. 14(4): 431-437, 1989.

There is no scientific basis for the belief muscles are a source of chronic pain.  However, controlled studies show how common disc and facet pain is accounting for more than 70% of chronic back pain.

  • Bogduk, N,: The Anatomical Basis for Spinal Pain Syndromesl  JMPT 6:Nov.-Dec. 1995.

3 patients with a ruptured lumbar disc had contrast medium and radiographic images taken during and after a lumbar traction procedure.  The protrusions were shown to lessen considerably with the 30-minute prone traction sessions and dimpling of the outer annulus suggested a negative intradiscal force was created.

  • Mathews, JA.  Dynamic Discography: A Study of Lumbar Traction.  Annals of Physical Medicine.  IX(7), 265-279, 1968.

Intermittent supine traction with >50% body weight, ten 20-minute sessions with added exercises showed considerable improvement in over 90% of the 62 patients.

  • Lidstrom, A. Zachrisson, M.  Physical Therapy of Low Back Pain and Sciatica.  Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitative Medicine.  2:37-42, 1970.

40 patients with neurological signs treated with traction on a friction-free table at 55-70lbs. for 20 minutes.  Good-excellent results were seen in 55%.

  • Hood, LB; Chrissman, D.  Intermittent Traction in the Treatment of Ruptured Disc.  Physical Therapy.  48: 21, 1968.

Patients were subjected to a supine angled traction force of up to 100lbs. with x-ray examination.  A rope angle of 18 degrees revealed separation greatest at L4-L5.  A more acute angle of 10 degrees may cause greater separation at L5-S1.  The separation was obvious up to T12-L1 with total elongation of the spine approaching +5mm.  The vertebra separation is greater on the posterior aspect of the disc.

  • Colachis, S.; Strohm BR.  Effects of Intermittent Traction on Vertebral Separation.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 50: 251-258, 1969.