Decompression Therapy FAQ

Decompression Therapy for your Neck and Back Pain?

Do you are suffer with low back pain or chronic neck pain? Is a spinal surgery possibly looming in your future?

Decompression Therapy is an effective treatment for these conditions. It is very safe and less expensive than many other treatments.

Decompression Therapy is the hottest new therapeutic device for
compression and disc syndromes!

The Decompression-Reduction-Stabilization therapy is an effective treatment for:
• Herniated disc
• Degenerative disc
• Facet syndrome and Arthritis (with or without spurs)
• Sciatica
• Chronic post-surgical pain
• Spinal Stenosis

Research indicates disc problems are responsible for a significant number of low back and/or leg symptoms as well as neck and/or arm pain syndromes. Compression from injury, poor posture and gravity increases pressure leading to disc degeneration and even disc herniation in some cases. Since the disc has no capillaries inside it, it doesn’t receive fresh blood and oxygen with every beat of the heart. It requires diffusion created by motion and decompression to restore nutrients and enhance healing.

Decompression is defined as reduction in pressure inside the disc. The act of lying down decreases this pressure slightly in comparison to standing and sitting. However, focused, computer-guided traction with the proper forces applied with the patient in the proper position, decompresses the spine MUCH more effectively and has been shown to dramatically enhance the healing response.

There is some suggestion in the literature that extruded nuclear material from inside the disc may be “drawn in” by the reduction of intradiscal pressures. This concept however is not uniformly accepted since the length of time the material stays ‘drawn in’ has not been established in controlled studies. However, a temporary reduction in intradiscal pressure can still have a profound effect on the healing process through “fibroblast migration.”

The research calls these “phasic effects.” The disc is allowed to better “imbibe” its nutrient fluids. Additionally, pain relief is enhanced neurologically by stretching the soft tissues of the spine. The combination of decompressing the disc while simultaneously stretching the muscles and connective tissues make decompression therapy a logical and powerful tool in a spinal treatment program.

The Spinal Decompression Table in conjunction with appropriate physical therapy effectively relieves the pain and disability resulting from disc injury and degeneration, by repairing damaged discs and reversing dystrophic changes in nerves. Spinal Decompression addresses the functional and mechanical aspects of discogenic pain and disease through non-surgical decompression of lumbar intervertebral discs. Studies verify the significant reduction of intradiscal pressures into the negative range, to approximately minus 150 mm/HG, which result in the non-surgical decompression of the disc and nerve root. Conventional traction has never demonstrated a reduction of intradiscal pressure to negative ranges; on the contrary – many traction devices actually increased intradiscal pressure, most likely due to reflex muscle spasm. The Decompression Table is designed to apply intermittent distraction tension to the patient’s lumbar or cervical spine without eliciting reflex paravertebral muscle contractions.

By significantly reducing intradiscal pressure, Spinal Decompression promotes disc healing and facilitates influx of oxygen, proline and other substrates. The promotion of fibroelastic activity stimulates repair and inhibits leakage of irritant sulphates and carboxylates from the nucleus. The most recent trial sought to correlate clinical success with MRI evidence of disc repair in the annulus, nucleus, facet joint and foramina as a result of treatment and found that reduction of disc herniation ranged between 10% and 90% depending on the number of sessions performed, while annulus patching and healing was evident in all cases.

Decompression is not a magic cure-all. Unfortunately, spinal pain syndromes are complicated and are caused by many different factors. Spinal decompression cannot address all of these factors, but it has been shown to play an extremely powerful role in the healing process of multiple spinal conditions. However, Decompression therapy (done safely within established protocols and a clear understanding of its limitations) can often dramatically enhance healing and render rapid, effective and often amazing pain relief in a properly selected patient population (many of whom have previously failed other treatments).

Indications and Use: Any non-acute (>1 week) low back or neck pain syndrome not related to a disease process, canal stenosis or acute injury is theoretically treatable by decompression. Disc and facet pain can often be relieved by early intervention with decompression. The acute inflammation of injuries however should be reduced by other means, in most cases, prior to beginning Decompression. Contraindications are similar to manipulative therapy, however since mechanical stretch creates no impact, mild to moderate Osteoporosis may not be contraindicated. (This holds true overall for frail and elderly patients who could potentially be injured by manipulative thrusts. Disc fragmentation, calcification, severe arthritis and any surgical spinal appliances are all relative contraindications.

Our clinical findings suggest Decompression will create a relatively rapid initial response. Many patients tend to feel a sense of relief (which can be direct pain cessation, a decrease in referred pain or reduction in sharp pain to an ache or stiffness) within two to six sessions. Full relief, if attainable through this passive treatment will usually be in 8-12 sessions. We treat every case individually and recommend appropriate treatment duration according to our experience and published research. Typical treatment frequency is 2-3 times per week. Modalities like cold laser, ultrasound or electrical stimulation are often applied to reduce muscle spasm and increase circulation. If spinal muscle tightness is reduced, the pressure on the spine is reduced as well. Specific exercises will be applied to individual programs. Our experience also suggests Decompression is also an excellent supportive or maintenance treatment for those cases where pain relief is complete but prone to exacerbations.

Decompression therapy is very affordable and cheaper than surgery. Spinal Traction is highly recommended by scientific studies. In one study it was found that out of 778 cases of patients receiving spinal decompression 92% said that they showed improvement (Neurological Research; Volume 20, Number 3, April 1998).

Spinal Disc Decompression, utilizing Decompression-Reduction-Stabilization, is a unique, non-surgical therapy developed for the treatment of chronic spinal pain of multiple causes. It has been shown to be effective for:
• Disc syndromes (bulging, herniated or degenerated)
• Arthritis (with or without spurs)
• Facet syndrome
• Sciatica
• Chronic post-surgical pain (pain that persists in spite of surgery)
• Chronic post-traumatic pain due to soft tissue injuries

Frequently Asked Questions
What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical, comfortable traction therapy for the relief of back and leg pain or neck and arm pain. During this procedure, by cycling through distraction and relaxation phases and by proper positioning, a spinal disc can be isolated and placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it. The vacuum within the disc stimulates a healing response. This results in pain reduction and healing on a cellular level. Must I pay for treatments in advance or buy a “PACKAGE” of treatments? No. Dr. Cooper has never believed in that concept. Most patients will know in 2-4 visits if they will respond to this therapy. The cost is charged per visit. It usually requires around ten visits, which are NOT paid in advance.

What machine is used for this purpose?
Dr. Cooper began studying spinal traction when he was the Spine Therapist at the Methodist Hospital Physical Therapy Department in Lubbock, Texas in 1981. He used Chattanooga traction tables then and has stayed with the same manufacturer due to their long history of research, development and state of the art equipment.

Who can benefit from Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Spinal decompression therapy is designed to unload the spine. Any back pain or neck pain caused in whole or in part by a damaged disc or arthritis may be helped by spinal decompression therapy. These conditions include herniated, protruding or bulging discs, spinal stenosis (in some cases), sciatica, arthritis or radiculopathy (pinched nerves).

Are there conditions where Spinal Decompression is not indicated?
Spinal decompression therapy is usually not recommended for pregnant women, or patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe obesity or severe nerve damage. It is not recommended for patients over 70. However, every patient is evaluated on an individual basis. Spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws and metal plates or “cages”) is also contraindicated. Surgery to the discs without fusion or fusion using bony replacement is not contraindicated. How often do I take treatment sessions? How long does each session last? Each session includes decompression therapy and may or may not be accompanied by adjunctive treatments ordered by Dr. Cooper. Sessions last around 20 minutes. Core strengthening exercises are often required for the best long term results. Spinal decompression is usually performed 2 or 3 times a week for 6 to 15 sessions.

What are the results of Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Over 70% of patients have significant and long lasting pain relief.
I have had spinal surgery, but continue to have pain. Can I try Spinal Decompression Therapy? Spinal decompression therapy can help people with back pain after failed spinal surgery. It can be performed in most patients who have not been left with an unstable spine after surgery or do not have fusion with metal implants.

How can I be scheduled for Spinal Decompression Therapy?
Simply call our office at 817-267-6222 and tell the receptionist that you are interested in decompression therapy. An initial consultation can usually be scheduled within 48 hours.