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Decompression Therapy

Alleviate pressure on the spinal discs.
How do you know if spinal decompression therapy may be a treatment option for you?
01

You have bulging, herniated, or degenerative discs in your spine.

02

You’re experiencing back, neck, or radiating pain throughout your arms and/or legs.

03

Taking a non-invasive approach and trying to avoid surgery is important to you.

04

You understand that the best things don’t happen overnight.

Schedule an appointment Have a question? Talk to a rep.

 

What is spinal decompression therapy used for?

Back and neck pain can be debilitating. When your back is out-of-whack, your nervous system is impeded and works overtime to care for the affected systems in the body. This can create a host of symptoms from digestive dysfunction to insomnia and migraines if left untreated. Spinal decompression therapy is used to help treat:

  • Back pain
  • Bulging discs
  • Degenerative discs
  • Herniated discs
  • Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots
  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Pain from muscle spasms
  • Posterior Facet Syndrome (worn spinal joints)
  • Radiating pain or tingling in the legs and/or arms
  • Sciatica
  • Sports injuries
  • Whiplash
  • And more!

 

*There are a wide range of  therapies available at Loehr Health Center. Your provider will discuss which treatments they think may be a right fit for you including athletic training training, prolotherapy, or seeing a chiropractor.

What is nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy?

Decompression Therapy website image patient on tableNonsurgical spinal decompression therapy gently stretches the spine in a controlled manner to reduce pressure on the discs in the back. By taking the pressure off of the discs, those gel-like cushions between the joints in your spine, there is negative pressure created. Then, your discs are given a reprieve which then gives the corresponding nerves who’ve been working overtime a break too. The result is that the body is able to increase the movement of nutrients, oxygen, and water into the discs so they can heal.

By focusing the treatment on addressing the structure of the spine and its intradiscal pressure, decompression therapy offers the following benefits:

  • Improved range of motion, flexibility, mobility, and strength—especially when combined with physical therapy
  • Increased circulation
  • Greater ability to absorb nutrient-rich fluids at the source of the issue (the discs)
  • An alternative to pain relievers and other medications
  • Noninvasive solution to pain

 

Are there other types of spinal decompression?

Surgical decompression is another treatment option for specific types of spinal issues and is recommended by our providers only as a last resort. It is extremely rare that our doctors are not able to offer an alternative solution for surgery.

decompression therapy tables

 

Surgical decompression or other forms of back surgeries may be suggested as a treatment option for bone growths, ruptured discs, or other spinal conditions if no other treatment has been successful. During spinal surgery, a surgeon removes part of the bone or surrounding tissue to alleviate pressure on the discs in the spinal column. The difference between the surgeries is what is removed. Common types of back surgeries include:

Discectomy or diskectomy: This is when a surgeon removes a portion the disc to reduce pressure on the nerves.

Foraminotomy or foraminectomy: In this procedure, a surgeon removes tissue and bone to create openings for nerve roots.

Laminectomy or laminotomy: A surgeon removes a section of the bony arch or entire bony arch to alleviate pressure and increase the size of the spinal canal.

Osteophyte removal: A surgeon removes bone growths.

Corpectomy: During surgery, the surgeon removes a vertebral body and the discs between the vertebrae.

As with any surgery or invasive procedure, there are risks. The more common risks associated with spinal decompression surgery are

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Infection
  • Or tissue damage

One of the largest risks of surgery is also that your flexibility, mobility, and pain level may not be improved by that much or at all. It is difficult to determine the outcome of back surgery. We encourage patients to explore all of their options before getting surgery.

Everything you want to know about nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy

Decompression Therapy FAQs and Answers

What happens during a decompression therapy session?

You are completely clothed during your spinal decompression therapy session. Your provider will ask you to lie on your stomach or back on the motorized decompression table. Based upon the area of the spine that is being focused on, your chiropractor will secure your hips, torso, or head using a harness. Then, the length and intensity settings for your specific needs are entered into the decompression machine.

Do you have to be a current chiropractic patient to receive decompression therapy?

No, you do not have to be a current chiropractic patient at Loehr Health Center to receive decompression therapy treatments. Spinal decompression is typically recommended as part of an integrated treatment plan that may include chiropractic or other modalities. If you are NOT a current patient, our team will coordinate your recommended decompression treatment plan with your current chiropractor.

How much is a decompression therapy session?

Loehr Health Center’s clinical team takes a multidisciplinary approach to managing and treating spinal disorders. Decompression therapy is usually part of an individualized treatment plan that includes spinal adjustments with a chiropractor. The cost of nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy per treatment is $40.

Does decompression therapy hurt?

Modern spinal decompression machines look like a medieval torture device called The Rack with a small computer control panel attached. While the machine may look intimidating, it is not like you may be recalling from watching movies.

Spinal decompression should feel like gentle stretching. You may feel sore, similar to how your muscles feel after weight lifting. You may feel your back stretch and pull. You may even feel a pop as the gas between joints in the spinal column is released and decompressed. This is normal.

You should not experience any increase in pain, unbearable pain, or sharp pain during a decompression therapy session. Notify your provider immediately if you feel your pain increases during your decompression treatment. Your muscles should feel like they are gently being pulled on—nothing more than that.

Many patients find decompression therapy to be a successful treatment to helping reduce their chronic pain, correct spinal issues, and prevent back surgery.

Is decompression therapy covered by insurance?

Decompression therapy is not covered by  insurance. For many other services at our office, we are in-network with various insurance companies. We will run your insurance benefits prior to your first appointment so that you know what is covered before receiving treatment.

A health savings account (HSA) may be used to pay for lab fees if they are part of medical care, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). A patient may also submit a claim to their insurance company for potential partial or full reimbursement of lab work.

We accept Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) to pre-pay these services in advance. We will provide you with all of the required receipts to submit these services. Please note that most HSAs and FSAs will allow you to pre-pay for these services in advance. However, it is the account holder’s responsibility to determine the limitations with their contact person who holds these specific guidelines.

For many other services at our office, we are in-network with various insurance companies. We will run your insurance benefits prior to your first appointment so that you know what is covered before receiving treatment.

How many decompression treatments are required to resolve my condition?

Every patient is unique and how many treatments are needed to reach your treatment plan goals depends on the severity of your condition and pain level. Your doctor may recommend 20 to 28 treatments over the course of several weeks. The treatment may last from 20 to 45 minutes and should be performed in a licensed provider’s office. Your doctor may integrate other types of therapy into your treatment plan including

  • Interferential therapy (electrical stimulation): This uses electric current to make the targeted muscles contract and relax.
  • Ultrasound therapy: This therapy uses sound waves to generate heat and promote healing using controlled inflammation.
  • Heat or cold therapy
  • Cold laser therapy: This therapy uses light to help the cells regenerate to create new tissues and help the body heal.

 

What side effects should I expect after a decompression therapy treatment?

The most reported side effect of decompression therapy is muscle soreness. Your doctor may recommend using a ice pack or heat pad to alleviate the soreness. Nonsurgical spinal decompression is not recommended for individuals that have

  • Advanced osteoporosis
  • Metal implants in the spine
  • A fracture or tumor
  • An abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Spinal decompression therapy is also not recommended for individuals who are pregnant.

What is your cancellation policy?

Loehr Health Center is committed to providing all of our patients with exceptional care. When a patient cancels without giving enough notice, they prevent another patient from being seen. Please call us at 417-887-8075, 24 hours prior to your scheduled appointment to notify us of any changes or cancellations. If prior notification is not given, you will be charged for the missed appointment.

 

Spinal Decompression Therapy Research

 

Restoration of disk height through non-surgical spinal decompression is associated with decreased discogenic low back pain: a retrospective cohort study
| BMC Musculoskelet Disord.2010 Jul 8;11:155. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-11-155.

Conclusion: “Non-surgical spinal decompression was associated with a reduction in pain and an increase in disc height. The correlation of these variables suggests that pain reduction may be mediated, at least in part, through a restoration of disc height. A randomized controlled trial is needed to confirm these promising results.”

Influences of spinal decompression therapy and general traction therapy on the pain, disability, and straight leg raising of patients with intervertebral disc herniation| J Phys Ther Sci. 2015 Feb; 27(2): 481–483.  doi: 10.1589/jpts.27.481

Conclusion: “Spinal decompression therapy and general traction therapy are effective at improving the pain, disability, and SLR of patients with intervertebral disc herniation.”

Comparison of the short-term effects of the conventional motorized traction with non-surgical spinal decompression performed with a DRX9000 device on pain, functionality, depression, and quality of life in patients with low back pain associated with lumbar disc herniation: A single-blind randomized-controlled trial: | Turk J Phys Med Rehabil. 2018 Mar; 64(1): 17–27. Published online 2017 Feb 16. doi: 10.5606/tftrd.2017.154

Conclusion: “This study concludes that both conventional motorized traction and nonsurgical spinal decompression are both “effective methods in pain management and functional status and depressive mood improvement in patients with low back disc herniation.”

Have another nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy question? We’re happy to help.

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