By slowly and painlessly stretching the spinal column, the decompression table reduces the pressure that is being placed on the discs impacting the nerves.
In essence, it creates a sort of vacuum effect that helps pull the spine back into place which, ultimately, reduces if not completely eliminates a patient’s pain via a non-surgical method—that means no time off work and no painful or costly recovery.
Decompression tables have become standard in the chiropractic field since hitting the market back in the 1980s.1 Since that time, they have been used to treat a number of conditions; however, there are three that seem to respond best to this type of treatment.
If you are diagnosed with a bulging disc, it means that the outer layer of a disc in your spine is extending or protruding outward—it would be like stacking blocks perfectly on top of one another and then forcing a middle one slightly with your finger. This type of condition doesn’t always produce pain, but a nerve that is impinged can still be damaging as it inhibits effective communication between your brain and the rest of your body.
Herniated discs, sometimes referred to as “ruptured” or “slipped,” are slightly different. In this case, the outside of the actual disc itself has cracked, allowing the softer center to leak out, similar to what you’d see happen if you squeezed a tube filled with cheese. By using the decompression table, the spinal column is elongated, thereby lightening the pressure or squeezing on the disc and drawing the fluid back in.
As you age, it is normal for your discs to begin to break down, or degenerate. However, some people also have degenerative disc disease, which is a hastening of this process throughout the entire spine and causes a great deal of pain. Regardless, both instances of degeneration can be effectively treated with the decompression table as it reduces pressure on the discs and subsequently the nerves causing the pain.
Decompression tables are valuable for chiropractors and patients alike, but do they work? According to one case study published in European Musculoskeletal Review, the use of the decompression table for a 69 year old man with radiating pain due to disc protrusion and degeneration offered tremendous relief. In fact, in just seven weeks of treatment with the decompression table, his pain went from a 10 to a one when asked its severity.2
1Jones R. Vertebral Axial Decompression. American Chiropractic Association. https://www.acatoday.org/content_css.cfm?CID=4683. Accessed October 2014.
2Florio F, Martin W, Pergolizzi J, Richmond C. Management of Low-back Pain with a Non-surgical Decompression System (DRX9000™) – Case Report. European Musculoskeletal Review. 2008:3(1);59-60.