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According to Duke Medical Center research, at any given point in time, roughly 20% to 30% of Americans are experiencing back pain. Low back pain is the second most frequent reason for people to visit a physician. More than $26 billion is spent annually on back pain treatment.

Spinal decompression, a relatively new technology, gives many back pain patients a non-surgical option for alleviating pain. This Federal Drug Administration approved, non-invasive technique is an advanced traction-based system that treats pain from degenerated or damaged discs.

According to U.S. Spinal Care, spinal decompression is the therapeutic elongation of the spine in a slow, gentle manner in order to relieve pressure on compressed vertebrae and discs. It can be used to treat:

  • bulging or herniated discs
  • degenerative (worn down) disc desease
  • facet syndrome
  • leg pain
  • pinched nerves
  • radiating arm pain
  • sciatica

Patients are typically experiencing numbness, tingling, weakness or pain in the neck or back and decreased function in the upper and lower limbs for more than four weeks and have gotten no relief from other treatments.

People with cancer, osteoporosis or metal rods/appliances in the spine as well as pregnant women are not candidates for spinal decompression.

How it Works

The patient lies down on a computerized decompression table with a fitted harness. The harness is made of soft rubber pads, which are strapped around the waist, across the lower chest and/or behind the neck. The carefully calibrated system then slowly stretches the spine to decompress discs, gently separating the vertebrae and taking pressure off the disc and/or nerve. The negative pressure induces the retraction of a herniated disc, moving bulging tissue back into the disc and off of the nerve.

Each treatment lasts between 20 and 45 minutes. A treatment program will be set up for you by the doctors after an evaluation and a thorough health history have been taken.

Spinal decompression is painless. Patients remain dressed throughout. Many decompression tables have headphones and monitors allowing patients to listen to music or watch a DVD during treatment. There are generally no side effects. Results are cumulative over a four-to-six week period.