What Is Decompression Therapy

Decompression therapy is designed to decompress the pressure on a nerve from a herniated or degenerated disc.

As we age and the various traumas of daily life accumulate, the discs of the spine undergo a gradual process of deterioration. When a disc degenerates, the outer border buckle onto a nerve, producing pain numbness, or muscle weakness. The nerves that are affected in the low back can be compressed, which can produce leg pain or sciatica.

Studies of traction treatment have shown that when traction is applied to the spine, this can cause the disc material to move away from the nerve. Sometimes a negative pressure (vacuum) within the disc is produced; this can move the herniated nucleus back towards the center of the disc where it can cause less nerve pressure.

Treatment – What to Expect?

During treatment you lie on your back in a relaxed position. Your knees are elevated with a bolster underneath for comfort. A harness is attached to your chest and lower back. You will fee a slight pull and then a backing off of pressure. Gradually your spine elongates allowing for decompression of the disc and nerve.

Several treatments are usually required and at each visit the amount of the traction may be increased. Each patient will require a different protocol; some patients do better with less traction while others with more. After treatment, ice or muscle stimulation may be applied. After the first few treatment, there may be a slight increase in pain – This spinal soreness should then be followed by much less pain as treatment progresses.


*Decompression may also be used to treat the neck and wrists.

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