PHASE I: The Treatment Begins

Decompression Therapy is performed on a specially designed table in either a face up or face down position. Clinical consideration and your comfort are used in deciding which position will be best for you. We may begin in one position but in later sessions it may be necessary to change positions. You will remain fully dressed during the treatment though we recommend wearing loose fitting clothes, and removal of you belt and objects from your pockets.

You will be comfortably positioned on the table and fitted with a wrap-around harness. This restrain is what allows the unloading of the spine and discs by the traction motor. Your position on the table, the harness, and angle of the gentle distraction allows for accurate and focused treatment to the affected disc. Once comfortable on the machine, the computer controlled traction device is programmed to deliver a gentle stretching force to the spinal vertebra. This force is delivered directly to the harness system. The Spinal Decompression system applies the gentle force then releases it approximately every minute throughout the session. The total treatment time is usually less than 18 minutes and often just 10 minutes initially. Most patients report simply feeling a subtle and gentle stretching at their lower back or around their hips. Since Spinal Decompression Therapy is a comfort-based procedure, patients usually report a sense of relief and relaxation during the session. Many patients even fall to sleep.

Imbibing the Discs

The gentle stretching and relaxing of the spine fosters a phenomenon called "imbibition". In the simplest of terms, this is the way a normal disc gets nutrition. This pumping action promotes nutrition intake into the discs, something often lost in damaged and degenerative disc conditions. In health discs, imbibition occurs naturally with daily motions and body positions and accounts for the increase of disc thickness in the morning and decrease at night. A disc with poor imbibtion, fewer nutrients and hydration, is more likely to become injured and painful. Stretching or tractioning the spine in a controlled, comfortable manner can help re-establish a more normal imbibition. This can re-supply the disc with nutrients and blood contact that help the disc heal from the inside out. Also the dramatic decrease of pressure in the disc (decompression) can foster the drawing in of a bulge and help take pressure off a "pinched" spinal nerve.

Re-establish Structural Support

Although most patients report dramatic reduction of their pain within as few as five treatments, an injured spinal disc needs time to heal. This is why we urge you to be regular with your prescribed treatments and office visits. Research shows to completely heal some discs a regular program of home exercises, prescribed by your doctor will need to be followed. Spinal disc structures can take months to heal. Even though your pain may be gone, you must stay on the treatment plan in order to keep your spine healthy.

As you become more mobile and more able to return to your normal lifestyle, your increased activity is what your spine needs most. Now you will be imbibing the discs naturally, like people their healthy discs. Movement is life, and your spine depends on the muscle activity to support your spine, and create fluid movement to and from the discs.




PHASE II: Stabilization of Structure

Pain Is Under Control: Rehabilitate the Structures Supporting the Disc.Most patients feel significant pain reduction in as few as five Spinal Decompression Therapy treatments. That however does not mean the healing process is complete, or that your pain won't return.

During Phase II of your Spinal Decompression Therapy treatments, our office will prescribe a series of rehabilitative measures in order to more fully heal your discs, and keep the pain from returning. Most low back pain suffers have two compounding problems that have contributed to their disc injury and limited their natural healing abilities.

Decreased Spine Flexibility
Poor Muscle Control

A program of focused rehabilitative exercise, with Biofeedback, may begin during or after your Spinal Decompression Therapy course of treatment. Our rehabilitation program involves several clinically effective yet simple, pain-free activities including Biofeedback. Biofeedback allows you to monitor and control spinal motion and re-claim proper spinal movement patterns. Strengthening the muscles that support the spine and regaining endurance in them, is also vital for spinal health.

All the body systems must work in concert for optimum health so nutritional and lifestyle advice may be given as well as an at-home exercise program. We can't over emphasize the importance of the at-home exercises. What you do at home is integral to the overall success we have. Studies show consistent stabilization and endurance exercises control back pain and reduce injury. At what point you start the exercise program is a function of your pain and overall progress based on our findings.

PHASE III: Support of Muscular System

During Phase III, we'll structure an in-office and home-based exercise program that will help to bring your spine back to full health. This exercise program may include in-office resistance training, at home Stabilizer exerciser and resistance training and other "core" exercises.

Regular and consistent home based exercise is one of the keys to long-term relief. We have found through experience the simple home-based exercises we prescribe are most effective. Introduction to the low tech movement exercises you can do to speed the healing process are one of the most important parts of the Spinal Decompression Therapy System.



Frequently Asked Questions of Spinal Decompression Therapy




Q.Will Spinal Decompression Therapy treatments hurt? Is it safe?



A. Spinal Decompression Therapy treatments are one of the most gentle and comfortable therapies available. The treatments utilize equipment with proven safety and efficacy. Most patients report a mild sense of stretch on their back or hips, and often fall asleep during treatment sessions. The Spinal Decompression System is produced by the world's largest manufacturer of hospital based rehabilitation equipment, with over 58 years of experience.



Q. Is Spinal Decompression Therapy new?



A. Although traction therapy has been around for thousands of years, Decompression Traction is relatively new. Advances in equipment and procedures have dramatically improved effectiveness. Spinal Decompression Therapy is the most comprehensive program available, allowing the safe delivery of this previously hospital based therapy in our office. Continual improvements in the delivery system and regular updates in protocol keep the Spinal Decompression in the forefront of non-invasive disc therapy. Each year over 50,000 patients are treated with DTS Therapy and that number is growing.



Q. Why is Spinal Decompression Therapy more successful than other treatment options?



A. Spinal Decompression Therapy is a comprehensive program of the newest traction techniques and targeted "core" stabilization exercises with Biofeedback. In addition, we use other adjunctive treatments that have proven effectiveness in back care. It is this multi-faceted approach that makes the overall treatment so effective. Additionally, discs have been shown to be a predominate site of pain, so treating it as directly as possible makes sense. The blending of focused traction to the site, rehabilitation to the supporting structures, and overall strengthening of global musculature makes the treatment unique. Spinal Decompression Therapy affects the disc as directly as possible without surgery.



Q. Why the need for exercises and other therapies?



A. Along with the damage in the disc we also need to treat the supporting spinal muscles. A complete program targeting the function of the stabilization muscles is a vital part of Spinal Decompression Therapy. Heat, muscle stimulation, Ultrasound, and cold laser therapy can offer an additional benefit for inflammation and spasm reduction. Our hope is not only to help heal the disc but enhance muscle control and support of the low back. A gradual breakdown of the foundational support of your back is what puts undue stresses on the discs and leads to pain and loss of function. Exercise and adjunctive therapies will assist in rehabilitating these structures.



Q. Will my pain go away for good?



A. Although it is difficult to predict the future, our experience is that most patients do find long-term relief or effective management of their pain when they complete the entire program of treatments. Regular home exercise and periodic visits to our clinic will help in maintaining your spinal health and reduce the probability of reoccurrence. As with any comprehensive rehabilitation program your continued home care exercises and discretion in some daily activities is key to long-term relief.



Q. How much will it cost?



A. Our office visits vary as to the extent of care needed, (Spinal Decompression Therapy, adjustments, cold laser therapy, muscle stimulation, ultrasound, massage, auriculotherapy, etc.). However, we promise to only do those procedures necessary for your fullest recovery. You always have the choice as to the extent of care. Our staff will review all costs, payment options and insurance coverage up front. We want to help, and believe finances shouldn't stand in the way of you and good health. The costs associated to series of Spinal Decompression are usually much less then your deductible and co-pay for spinal surgery.



Q. Can Spinal Decompression Therapy help my pain?



A. Though each patient is different and no doctor can guarantee success, the clinical results of this type of therapy have been effective in over 75% of patients treated. Common problems too many back conditions are damaged discs and poor spinal muscle control. Our treatment program addresses both of these core problems. The Spinal Decompression System creates a controlled unloading of the vertebra to decrease disc pressure thus increasing blood and nutrient exchange. This exchange of fluids is something the damaged disc desperately needs to help it heal from the inside out. Muscle strength, control and endurance can all be improved with other facets of Spinal Decompression Therapy that include specific controlled exercises.



Q. How long will my treatment program be?



A. It depends on the complexity and extent of the rehabilitation needed; however, we typically treat 3 times a week for 1 month, transitioning from passive to active treatments as you respond. The treatment is administered over a reasonable time frame and your response is continually evaluated. Further treatments may be necessary or a reduced frequency may be recommended at that time. The rehabilitative phase may include additional Spinal Decompression Therapy treatments, with spinal adjustments to enhance the results. Most patients are release from treatments after 8 weeks.