What is spinal decompression?

Spinal decompression is an advanced chiropractic technique that lightly stretches the spine and is effective in reducing pain associated with back injury and sciatica. The stretching modifies the placement and force of the spine, thereby lifting pressure off of the spinal disks and nerves. This allows herniated or bulging disks to retract. The result is a free flow of nutrient-rich fluids, oxygen and water into the disks so that they can heal.


Who should consider spinal decompression?

If you have back pain that won’t go away and other related symptoms, you may be a good candidate for spinal decompression. Before considering surgery, try a less invasive and lower risk treatment alternative. Some conditions that can be treated include the following:

Runner with lower back pain who needs spinal decompression

How is spinal decompression performed?

Spinal decompression is a type of chiropractic adjustment that uses a special table to stretch a patient’s spine. The angle and pressure applied to the stretch depends on the patient’s needs. Each procedure is carefully calculated and ultimately results in repositioning the spinal discs and disc material to alleviate pain due to misalignment.


What is a spinal decompression table?

A spinal decompression table is the primary device used in nonsurgical decompression therapy. The table may consist of a manually operated cable and pulley system or a computerized table segmented by the upper and lower body where the patient is harnessed in. Both types of tables are used to stretch the patient’s spine, create negative pressure within the discs, retract or reposition disc material and ultimately evoke pain relief. Both tables are also effective at preventing muscle guarding, which is the body’s natural defense against injury that may resist to the stretch. Your chiropractor will know the desired settings to use on their preferred decompression table based on your body and injury.


Is spinal decompression painful?

When a patient is in pain, even a slight stretch during therapy can be uncomfortable, but spinal decompression serves as an effective alternative to surgery and other more painful treatment options. Many patient compare this treatment to certain types of massage therapy because while mild pain may be felt during the procedure, the results after treatment include less pain and better range of motion.


How often should you do it?

How often you go to the chiropractor depends on your injury and treatment plan. At an initial visit, the chiropractor will do a full body exam and design a unique program to meet the patient’s needs. Spinal decompression therapy usually consists of anywhere between 15 to 30 sessions. Each of these sessions will last between 30 and 45 minutes, and are typically scheduled over a 4 to 6 week time frame.


How much does it cost?

The cost of each session varies depending on the location and practice, but most patients can expect to pay anywhere between $30 and $300. Sometimes health insurance will cover a portion of the treatment, so call and check with your insurance company before you book an appointment.


Is spinal decompression safe?

Each session is performed by a licensed chiropractor, who is trained in the field of chiropractic medicine. Earning a Doctor of Chiropractic degree requires 4 years of schooling after obtaining an undergraduate degree. Your chiropractor will have a deep understanding of the human body and can safely perform a spinal decompression. Nonsurgical decompression therapy is both safe and effective. Before resorting to surgery which has risk of further injury or complications, nonsurgical treatments should be explored.