3 reasons to add spinal decompression therapy and a spinal decompression table to your practice
Spinal decompression therapy (SDT) is a high-value, low-risk treatment option for patients that should be a consideration for all doctors of chiropractic in adding to or expanding a practice. I’ve been practicing chiropractic since 1988 and nothing has added more value or results to my practice as SDT. Even though it may seem like it has been around a long time, here are three reasons you may want to take another look at decompression.
You’re looking to expand or grow your practice
Every chiropractor in America is practicing in a town with patients suffering with disc-related injuries who are looking for a non-surgical solution to their pain. Adding decompression to your practice provides an effective tool to treat common presenting problems like disc herniation, disc degeneration and facet impingement. If you efficiently offer and market decompression services, you will be a magnet to potential patients in your area.
The “active ingredient” of spinal decompression therapy is the pulling force on the spine that relieves pressure on the discs and restores motion to the vertebrae in either the lumbar or cervical spine regions. Spinal decompression tables all operate on the same basic principle of spinal traction or axial distraction that has been provided by chiropractors, osteopaths, physical therapists and other appropriately trained health care professionals for decades.
Spinal decompression therapy: proven clinically effective
Spinal decompression therapy has proven to be a clinically effective tool to aid in the treatment of a variety of common causes of back or neck pain, like a herniated or bulging lumbar disc, spinal stenosis, degenerated discs, facet syndrome, and sciatica or leg pain. Research has found success rates as high as 73% for single herniated discs, 72% for multiple disc herniations, 68% for facet syndrome and an average of 71% for all diagnoses.
Some practices include SDT in as few as 5% of their recommended treatment plans. In looking at the 732 new patients seen in my practice over the past 12 months, 534 or 73% of my new patient treatment plans included cervical and/or lumbar spinal decompression therapy.
You want to successfully attract and treat more complex problems
I added SDT to my practice when it was still rather new. I believe that I was the first chiropractor in Western Maryland to have a decompression table in 1999. I now have four decompression tables and use them at near capacity on patients from ages 18-80 suffering from herniated discs and/or failed back surgery. We also include SDT with patients who have tried other chiropractors or physical therapy without relief, suffering from sciatica, spinal foraminal stenosis, or degenerative chronic back and neck pain. There is little doubt SDT can help you help more people.
A 2008 study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that decompressive traction applied in the prone position for eight weeks was associated with improvements in pain intensity and RMDQ scores at discharge, and at 30 and 180 days after discharge in a sample of patients with activity-limiting lower-back pain.
You find it important to be cost-effective and economical when purchasing new equipment
Spinal decompression will give you a 100% return on investment within months. Paying off your SDT could also be accomplished in less than a year when you attract just one new patient a month who commits to a 20-visit treatment plan.
SDT treatments take less than 12 minutes for staff to set up and perform, allowing you to treat up to 32 patients per table per day. With a fee per service ranging from $25-$300 per treatment, it can be very profitable.
Expand services with little time requirement
Adding decompression to your practice is efficient and requires little additional time from the doctor, allowing more revenue without increasing the amount of DC time spent per patient. Most research has shown spinal decompression to be effective in 71-88% of back pain patients. Even four years after receiving spinal decompression treatments, the majority of patients treated with SDT were able to not only resume their normal daily activities but had pain levels of 0/10. More than 80% showed 50% or better pain reduction at the end of the four-year study. And greater than 50% still had a pain level of zero. Thus, pain relief not only improved but lasted.
If you want to expand your practice, adding SDT should be at the top of your list of considerations. Be sure to also check with your accountant for the IRS tax incentives for adding an elevating table that could save you thousands of dollars on a new SDT table using Section 44: Disabled Access Credit Americans with Disabilities Act Section 17 form 8826. It also qualifies for the Section 179 Equipment Depreciation Advantage of 35%.
David Bohn, DC, graduated from National University of Health Sciences in 1988 and has since been in continuous practice. Since 2004 he has pursued development of both documentation and X-ray analysis software, and has extensive experience with developing, marketing and maintaining a successful practice. Bohn is a KDT Decompression Technique instructor and also teaches the Advanced Decompression Certification course offered by KDT. He can be reached at 301-777-3710 or at kdttechnique.com.