By Brandi Schlossberg
When you think of the word “compress,” you may think of being smashed down, squeezed or squished. In many ways, these words hit the nail on the head as far as what happens when the spine is compressed. Due to the fact that the spine consists of stacked vertebrae, as well as nerves, compression of the spine can lead to all sorts of pain and problems. For many individuals, feeling the pain associated with this kind of compression often serves as a main motivating factor in booking an appointment with the chiropractor.
Inside the chiropractor’s office, a client who is experiencing symptoms associated with compression in the spine may be directed to lay down on what is called a decompression table. This popular category of chiropractic table is designed to do what its name implies—help decompress the spine. However, depending on the design and features of the chiropractic table, the method of decompression may differ.
As an example, a chiropractor might have a table that uses an inversion technique in order to achieve the necessary decompression. This type of chiropractic table is capable of moving at all kinds of angles—even upside down, or inverted—so that the force of gravity can be used to allow the spine to stretch and be pulled back into more optimal alignment. Diving into the details, a chiropractic table that can provide decompression benefits may be what is known as a Hi-Lo table, which offers chiropractors the option of inverting clients, often using an electric foot pedal to control the movement for a smooth transition.
Another form of decompression table would be one that allows for traction. This category of chiropractic table uses devices such as pulleys, bands or belts to allow the table to be pulled apart in certain spots. The client is strapped onto the table, so the pulling apart allows for the type of traction that can help stretch and decompress the spine. A chiropractic table that uses traction to effect decompression may have special features that allow for stretching of specific areas of the spine, such as cervical or lumbar traction.
These are just two examples of chiropractic tables that are designed to help the chiropractor achieve general decompression. Once you begin looking a bit more closely at the various decompression tables available, it becomes clear that there is quite a bit of variety as far as the details, features and overall designs. Most chiropractors will attempt to select the table that may be able to best meet the needs of the largest number of clients.