How does spinal decompression work?

Spinal decompression machines are designed and built to treat neurovascular compression syndromes such as herniated and bulging discs non-surgically.  Spinal decompression can also help conditions such as Facet Syndrome, Degenerative Disc Disease, and Spinal Stenosis.

So how does it do it?

The machine we use is the DRX-9000. We chose this machine because of patient comfort and favorable outcomes. We have a combination unit so we can treat both the lumbar and cervical spine.

The lumbar spine requires some harnessing to connect you to the machine. This takes about 5-7 minutes and is not uncomfortable. Depending on the location of your disc problem…say L5, we adjust the angle to target the specific spinal segment involved.

The spinal decompression system is designed to negate the forces of gravity during treatment. The DRX seeks to elongate the spine, stretch the spinal ligaments, enlarge the disc space, re-hydrate the disc, and move the bulging or herniated disc away from the nerves and spinal cord and back to the center of the disc.

A negative pressure is actually created during spinal decompression that helps to accomplish this to the extent it is possible…which is most cases.

The DRX9000 or DRX9000c (cervical) both have built-in bio-feedback mechanisms which closely monitor your muscles during treatment. There is a natural tendency for the body to protect the injured area and the machine will lessen its pull or increase it as needed.  This is the biggest difference between traction and spinal decompression (at least in the more expensive machines). Traction just pulls which can harm you. Spinal decompression pulls and releases based on your response to decompression.

The treatment protocol for spinal decompression is 20 one-hour sessions done over 6-8 weeks. It’s a process, not a magic bullet. A typical visit involves set-up, 30 minutes of spinal decompression and 10 minutes of ice and muscle stimulation. Some patients require other services such as laser, massage, chiropractic or physical therapy.  We also have medical doctors at our main clinic a few blocks away to co-manage difficult cases.

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