Traction/Spinal Decompression


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

Spinal Disc Decompression Therapy 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 is an 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 its exceptional results treating chronic back pain without surgery.

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 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.

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. During 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!





Is it safe?
Yes.  The distraction is produced by a FDA approved, computer-controlled device using forces that are usually about 50%-65% 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.

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.

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.