So what is Spinal Decompression?
Does Spinal Decompression really work? Can Spinal Decompression really keep you from having an invasive, painful, and expensive spinal surgery? The answer is yes, yes, and yes...but results do vary.
Spinal Decompression is the result of intermittent traction when negative pressure is created within the disc during traction. There are different types of traction. One common type of traction is Intersegmental Traction. This is a common modality used by chiropractors and physical therapists. However, the first thing you should know is that "Spinal Decompression" is technically not a therapy. Spinal Decompression is a result of traction.
With IST, the patient is positioned on their back, on a table. The table has a "roller bar" that gently rolls up and down the spine, passively stretching the spinal joints and adjacent soft tissues. While this type of traction is beneficial and feels good, it does not create spinal decompression because it does not create a negative pressure in the disc.
The type of traction that creates Spinal Decompression (the kind that may prevent spine surgery) cannot be confused with Intersegmental Traction. The mechanisms are completely different and produce completely different results. To achieve Spinal Decompression, this type of traction needs to be applied in long axis of extension. In other words, the spinal segments need to be gently pulled part, systematically and continuously, via a highly technological computerized traction system.
When this technique is applied, negative pressure is created within the disc allowing for the disc material that has moved away from the central part of the disc, and crowding a nerve, to be "sucked back in" and drawn back inside the disc, which takes the pressure off the nerve. Subsequently this results in reduced neck and back pain, reduced arm and leg pain, as well as promotes true healing of the disc. For the degenerated disc, the negative pressure facilitates it to draw nutrients and hydration into it increasing the height of the disc over a sequence of treatments.