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              Spinal Decompression
        Frequently Asked Questions 
                    and Research
What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical, comfortable traction therapy for the relief of back and leg pain or neck and arm pain. During this procedure, by cycling through distraction and relaxation phases and by proper positioning, a spinal disc can be isolated and placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it.

What can this vacuum effect do? 

The vacuum effect accomplishes two things. From a mechanical standpoint, disc material that has protruded or herniated outside the normal confines of the disc can be pulled back within the disc by the vacuum created within the disc. Also, the vacuum within the disc stimulates in growth of blood supply, secondarily stimulating a healing response. This results in pain reduction and proper healing at the injured site. 

Who can benefit from Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy is designed to unload the spinal disc. Any back pain or neck pain caused in whole or in part by a damaged disc may be helped by spinal decompression therapy. These conditions include herniated, protruding or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica or radiculopathy (pinched nerves).

Are there conditions where Spinal Decompression is not indicated?

Spinal decompression therapy is usually not recommended for pregnant women, or patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe obesity or severe nerve damage.  However, every patient is evaluated on an individual basis. contraindicated. 

How often do I take treatment sessions? How long does each session last?

Spinal decompression is usually performed 3-5 times a week for 15-20 sessions for optimum results.

What are the results of Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Over 70% of patients have good pain relief. This success rate is similar to surgical results.

I have had spinal surgery, but continue to have pain. Can I try Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy can help people with back pain after failed spinal surgery. It can be performed in most patients who have not been left with an unstable spine after surgery.


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Spinal Decompression Machine - Triton DTS 

The Triton DTS represents the finest Decompression Therapy System available today. Lumbar, Cervical and Wrist Decompression Therapy can be delivered utilizing the Triton DTS in a controlled and proven method, all at a fraction of the cost of competitive devices.

The Triton DTS represents 25 years of experience in design combined with a revolutionary belting system designed for quick setup, comfort and effectiveness.

Realizing the time constraints of today's clinician, the Triton DTS utilizes a quick setup belting system for both spinal and wrist Decompression Therapy, with memory recall, allowing you to belt-up and start treatment in as little as one minute.

Triton DTS delivers exact force, continuously monitors progress and makes adjustments to poundage due to muscle guarding or patient relaxation. With each decompression pull the friction free table overcomes gravitational forces, and returns to a neutral position through a recoil device.  Considerable research has produced a relatively new therapy that is upwards of 80% effective in treating chronic disc problems. This treatment, known as Decompression Therapy, has opened the floodgates of new patients to the Chiropractors offering this therapy.

One of the most common questions about Decompression Therapy is "what's the difference between Decompression Therapy and traditional traction or flexion/distraction"? Obviously we are using a "Y-Axis" traction force but we are using it differently. The provable outcome of traditional traction or flexion-distraction is distraction and mobilization. Various live human studies have proven that traction and flexion distraction can cause spinal musculature to guard producing a significant increase in systolic disc pressure. Proponents of the Cox Technique point to cadaver studies showing a resultant negative pressure, however living people tend to still be able to muscle guard (reflexive and anticipatory) which has been proven in study after study to actually increase disc pressure. 

Decompression Therapy uses a tractive force that is carefully applied in such a manner as to overcome the patient's ability to anticipate or reflexively guard against the force thereby creating total relaxation in the spinal musculature. This relaxation has proven to create the conditions necessary to unload the vertebral segments causing significant negative systolic pressure in the disc. Enough that most herniations can be non-surgically retracted and collagenous binding can begin where tearing of the annular fibers has occurred. Think of it like this, the only way to achieve decompression in the spine is to separate bones. If all of the barriers to decompression are not overcome the best you can hope for is soft tissue separation and a potential increase in disc pressure.
So what are the barriers that must be overcome in order to accomplish disc decompression (true unloading) and not just soft tissue distraction?

1. First the patient must be in a correct and comfortable posture and the table must accommodate all types of morphology. Postures: Prone Holding (very slender patients, patients with breathing problems, patients with thoracic herniations [rare]), Prone Restrained (patients with upper extremity compromise, patients who can't lay supine) Supine Angular, (patients who can't lay prone, large breasted women, budweiser challenged men, angled pulls at specific vertebral levels), Side Lying Pulls, (patients who are unable to lay prone or supine, antalgia), Positional Pulls, (patients who are severely antalgic; it is important to mirror the angle of antalgia and not straighten patients who have a protective scoliosis). The table must be stable and be able to lift large weights. Table surfaces must be able to place the body into flexion or extension or into a recumbent supine posture.

2. A belting/restraint system is necessary and must focus distraction directly to the iliac crests with correct center-line pull axis. There must be no venous or breathing compromise. The belting process must be quick, efficient and comfortable. Otherwise the patient becomes frustrated and tense, anticipating an uncomfortable and lengthy treatment.

3. A Split Table is necessary and must go from frictional Z-force resistance to free floating in a controlled release fostered by a retraction mechanism. There must be no spike in poundage as Y-Axis force is applied. The body will react to any spike in poundage with muscle guarding. 

4. A controlled progressive onset of Y-Axis pull to peak force over at least 120 seconds. This pull features at least 3 incremental steps to peak poundage with a rest at each incremental step. We are sneaking up on the body with the force. This prevents guarding.

5. A cycled release from peak poundage during treatment to a REST poundage that does not release tension. Cycles must be quantified and reproducible. Release from peak to rest poundage must be aided by a retraction mechanism which improves the intermittent aspect and thus imbibition.

6. A controlled regressive release from peak force over at least 120 seconds. This prevents spasm and allows for a comfortable return to a positive systolic pressure in the disc. We don't want to undo any collagenous binding of the annular fibers with sudden repressurization of the disc.

The key to gaining negative disc pressure is to reduce the MIS-APPLICATION of force. Decompression Therapy is highly specific and codified and reproducible. It's sole outcome is directed towards improved disc healing based on known mechanisms of the preeminence and predominance of the disc's role in back pain. Overcoming the barriers to decompression creates a complete state of comfort and relaxation; bones separate and decompression occurs.

If you have any additonal questions about Spinal Decompression, please contact Dr. Curt White, Chiropractor, at White Chiropractic in Mooresville, 704-799-1416.  He will help you determine if Spinal Decompression can help you.

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              White Chiropractic is Located at exit 33 in Moorseville Gateway - 122 Gateway Blvd., Mooresville, NC  704/799-1416