Non-surgical decompression therapy has been shown to resolve the symptoms of the majority of patients who undergo the treatment.
In one study, as many as 86 percent of patients who underwent a nonsurgical decompression therapy program reported a successful outcome, with a full resolution of their symptoms.1
However, as with any treatment, there are risks and inconclusive studies.2 It is important for practitioners to be fully aware of all of the facts prior to suggesting decompression therapy to patients. There are several contraindications and categories of patients who should not undergo spinal decompression therapy, as well, including pregnant women and patients with osteoporosis.3
Beyond being sure that the appropriate candidates for decompression therapy are correctly identified, a key to successfully using the therapy in your office is correctly deploying the five proven components of the treatment.
1. Nutritional counseling
A critical, and often overlooked, component is nutritional counseling. Inflammation causes pain, and a non-inflammatory diet can make a big difference in patients’ symptoms, as well as the effectiveness of decompression therapy. While there is some debate regarding exactly what a “non-inflammatory diet” is, there is no debate regarding the fact that plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and limiting trans fats generally improves health and reduces inflammation. DCs may also find that supplements can help, depending on the patient, the circumstances, and the individual situation.
2. Pre-decompression protocol
There are several methods of preparing the tissue for decompression, including heat, low level laser therapy (LLLT), and ultrasound, among others. Pre-decompression techniques allow the tissues to begin healing in phases.
3. Decompression table
Approach choosing a decompression table as you would any other capital purchase for your business: Do your research, talk to colleagues, and look for something that fits into your budget.
4. Chiropractic manipulative treatments
DCs are in the business of chiropractic manipulative treatments (CMT) and in the case of spinal decompression therapy, CMT is an important part of the overall treatment plan. This fourth component does not surprise DCs, nor their patients.
5. Posture and exercise
It is important to teach patients appropriate posture and exercises that will build the muscles necessary to support on-going healing. This step, similar to providing nutritional counseling, can easily be overlooked in the hustle and bustle of a busy practice.
1 Gionis T, Groteke E. “Spinal Decompression: The Outcome of a Clinical Study.” Pro-Care Medical Center. http://www.procaremedcenter.com/surgical-alternatives-spinal-decompression/. Published May 2010. Accessed April 2015.
2 Gay R. “All About Spinal Decompression Therapy.” Spine-health. http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/all-about-spinal-decompression-therapy. Published September 2013. Accessed April 2015.
3 Gay R. “Potential Candidates for Spinal Decompression Therapy.” Spine-health. http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/potential-candidates-spinal-decompression-therapy. Published September 2013. Accessed April 2015.