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Is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Effective? | Dublin, Ireland

You may have heard of non-surgical spinal decompression and wondered if it’s an effective treatment for back pain. This blog post will explore non-surgical spinal decompression, how it works, and what the research says about its effectiveness.

What is Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression?

Non-surgical spinal decompression is a type of mechanical traction that is used to treat back pain. This therapy involves stretching the spine using a machine called a decompression table or traction table. The goal of this therapy is to take pressure off of the spine and relieve pain. 

How Does It Work? 

woman low back poain spinal decompression

During non-surgical spinal decompression, you will lie on a table. The table will slowly stretch your spine. This stretch will take pressure off your spine’s discs and allow them to rehydrate and heal. You will typically receive 20-30 minutes of traction followed by 5-10 minutes of rest. This cycle will be repeated 2-3 times during your session. 

Is It Effective? 

herniation model

Some evidence suggests that non-surgical spinal decompression can effectively treat back pain. A study published in 2009 found that patients who received this therapy significantly improved pain and function compared to those who did not. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to confirm these findings. 

Research on Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

There is a great deal of research on the effectiveness of non-surgical spinal decompression treatments. Many studies have shown that this type of therapy can be highly effective, with success rates ranging from 71 to 90%. In one study, participants experienced an immediate resolution of their symptoms in 86% of cases.

Other recent clinical trials have shown equally promising results with spinal decompression treatment. In a study published in Neurosurgery, researchers found that 94% of the 34 patients who completed therapy reported resolution of symptoms. Additionally, they found that 86% of those treated for disc syndrome and stenosis experienced a reduction in symptoms, while 80% of those treated for sciatica showed improvement.

Another study published in the journal of neurological research found that vertebral axial decompression was successful for 71% of patients with a single herniated disc. The success rate was higher for people with more than one herniated disc and those whose disc height had dropped to less than 60%. Overall, 72% of patients with herniated discs had improved symptoms due to the therapy.

The American Journal of Pain Management has reported that 86% of patients with herniated discs experienced good to excellent relief from back pain and sciatica symptoms. In contrast, 75% of those with facet syndrome experienced similar results. This suggests that chiropractic care is an effective treatment option for these conditions.

A small, non-randomized study in Anaesthesiology News suggests that spinal cord stimulation may be an effective treatment for chronic back pain. The study found that 52% of patients who responded to therapy experienced a pain level of zero and could resume their normal daily activities and work or retire without back pain as the cause. The results indicate that spinal cord stimulation may be an effective treatment option for individuals struggling with chronic back pain.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, non-surgical spinal decompression is a treatment that uses mechanical force to stretch the spine and relieve pressure on the discs and nerves. This treatment is supported by some research, although more high-quality studies are needed. If you’re considering this treatment for your back pain, be sure to consult with a spine specialist to see if it’s right for you.

Sources

  1. Ramos G, Martin W. Effects of vertebral axial decompression on intradiscal pressure. J Neurosurg. 1994;81(3):350-353.
  2. Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, et al. Nonpharmacologic therapies for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147(7):492-504.
  3. Clarke JA, van Tulder MW, Blomberg SE, et al. Traction for low-back pain with or without sciatica. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2007;(2):CD003010
  4. Leslie J, Richmond C, Macario A, et al. Pilot: Effectiveness and safety of nonsurgical spinal decompression. Paper presented at: 18th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Management; September 27-30, 2007; Las Vegas, NV.. Manheimer E, White A, Berman B, et al. Meta-analysis: acupuncture for low back pain. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(8):651-663.
  5. Gupta RC, Ramarao SV. Epidurography in reduction of lumbar disc prolapse by traction. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1978;59(7):322-327
  6. Onel D, Tuzlaci M, Sari H, Demir K. Computed tomographic investigation of the effect of traction on lumbar disc herniations. Spine. 1989;14(1):82-90.
  7. Borman P, Keskin D, Bodur H. The efficacy of lumbar traction in patients with low back pain. Rheumatol Int. 2003;23(2):82-86.
  8. Tekeoglu I, Adak B, Bozkurt M, et al. Distraction of lumbar vertebrae in gravitational traction. Spine. 1998;23(9):1061-1063.
  9. Macario A, Pergolizzi JV. Systematic literature review of spinal decompression via motorized traction for chronic discogenic low back pain. Pain Pract. 2006;6(3);171-178.
  10. Weinstein JN, Lurie JD, Tosteson TD, et al. Surgical vs nonoperative treatment for lumbar disk herniation: the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) observational cohort. JAMA. 2006;296(20):2451-2459.
  11. Weinstein JN, Lurie JD, Tosteson TD, et al. Surgical versus nonsurgical treatment for lumbar degenerative spondylolisthesis. N Engl J Med. 2007;356(22):2257-2270.
  12. Naguszewski WK, Naguszewski RK, Gose EE. Dermatomal somatosensory evoked potential demonstration of nerve root decompression after VAX-D therapy. Neurol Res. 2001;23(7):706-714.
  13. Sherry E, Kitchener P, Smart R. A prospective randomized controlled study of VAX-D and TENS for the treatment of chronic low back pain. Neurol Res. 2001;23(7):780-784.
  14. Macario, A, Richmond, C, Auster, M, et al. Treatment of 94 outpatients with chronic discogenic low back pain with the DRX9000®: a retrospective chart review. Pain Practice (in press).
  15. Kim H-S, Kim D-H, Huh K-Y. The effect of spinal decompression therapy compared with conventional traction in lumbosacral disc herniation. Program and abstracts of the 4th World Congress of the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine; June 10-14, 2007; Seoul, South Korea. Abstract OP04-5.
  16. Hiranandani M. Nonsurgical spinal decompression: treatment of low back pain by spinal decompression and spinal exercises. Program and abstracts of the 45th Annual Indian Association of Physiotherapists Conference; February 2-4, 2007; Kolkata, India.
  17. Lee SH. Efficacy of Spinal Decompression Combined with Transforaminal Steroid Injection versus Transforaminal Steriod Injection in Patient with Lumbar Disc Herniation. Society of Rehabilitation; submitted 2007.
  18.  Naoyuki O, Itabashi A, Kusano S, et al. Effects of Spinal Decompression DRX9000™) for lumbar disc herniation. Journal of Saitama Kenou Rehabilitation. 2006;6:38-42.
  19. Park JK. Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy. Axiom Worldwide Abstract.
  20. Minukov GN, Vorobiev EV. Clinical studies for spinal decompression system: DRX9000™. Conducted in the Neurology Unit of Municipal Clinical Hospital; Moscow, Russia. May 13-July 24, 2006.

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