Are there medical studies that document the effectiveness of Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Yes! One study documented by MRI up to 90% reduction of disc herniation in 10 of 14 cases and other studies reported that the majority of ruptured disc patients achieved “good” to “excellent” results after spinal decompression therapy.

Here are a few summaries on Spinal Decompression Research:

Effects of Vertebral Axial Decompression on Intradiscal Pressure: G. Ramos M.D., W Martin M.D.; Journal of Neurosurgery 1994

ABSTRACT:The object of the study was to examine the effect of vertebral axial decompression on pressure in the nucleus pulposus of the lumbar discs. Intradiscal pressure measurement was performed by connecting a cannula inserted into the patients L4-L5 disc space to a pressure transducer. Changes in intradiscal pressure were recorded at resting state and while controlled tension was applied by the equipment to a pelvic harness. Intradiscal pressure was decreased to below -100 mm HG.

(This study concludes that spinal decompression does actually decrease the pressure within the disc, thereby reducing pressure on the nerve roots.)

Outcome Study: Vertebral Axial Decompression Therapy for Pain Associated with Herniated Discs, Degenerated Discs, or Facet Syndrome. Gose, et al; Journal of Neurological Research April 1998

ABSTRACT: Outcomes of Decompression therapy for patients with a diagnosis of herniated disc, degenerated disc, or facet syndrome.

  • 778 cases
  • Average time between the initial onset of symptoms and beginning of treatment was 40 months
  • Data was collected from 22 medical centers in the USA
  • No rehab was performed, only decompression
  • Average time of treatments: 17 facet, 19 degeneration, 20 HNP
  • Pain was rated on a scale from 0-5 with severe pain being 5
  • Average was 4.2, Success was considered 0-1
  • Overall, the treatment was successful 71% of the time
  • 73% for single herniated disc
  • 72% with multiple herniations
  • 68% for facet syndrome
  • 68% for failed back surgery

Decompression Reduces Chronic Back Pain: A four year Study; R. Odell M.D., D Boudreau D.O., Anesthesiology News March 2003

ABSTRACT: Excellent 4-year study results have been reported in a small series of patients with chronic discogenic low back pain with a spinal decompression device. Of the 23 patients who responded, 52% had a pain level of zero, 91% were able to resume their normal daily activities, and 87% were working or retired without having back pain as the cause of retirement. SUMMARY: Among 23 patients, 71% showed more than 50% reduction in pain immediately after treatment and 86% showed a 50% or better pain reduction at 4 years. “After 4 years 52% showed a pain level of zero. Thus, pain relief not only improved but lasted.” Reported R. Odell M.D.

In the Journal of Neurological Research Vol. 23, No. 7, October 2001 the researchers stated: “For any given patient with low back and referred leg pain, we cannot predict with certainty which cause has assumed primacy. Therefore surgery, by being directed at root decompression at the site of the herniation alone, may not be effective if secondary causes of pain have become predominant. Decompression therapy, however, addresses both primary and secondary causes of low back and referred leg pain. We thus submit that Decompression therapy should be considered first, before the patient undergoes a surgical procedure which permanently alters the anatomy and function of the affected lumbar spine segment.”

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