Decompression is the gold standard treatment for disc injuries. Decompression therapy works by slowly and gently separating the vertebrae in the spine at a specific level. Once the vertebrae are sufficiently tractioned apart, the disc between the vertebrae will have a negative pressure created inside of it. This negative pressure creates a vacuum inside the disc and the protruding disc material can slowly be pulled back into place and off of the nerve that is causing pain.
The decompression tables that we utilize at Joint and Spine Rehab allow us to pull at any angle that we may need. The table can even swivel side to side or rotate. This gives us much greater range than many other tables on the market.
Patients needing lumbar decompression therapy will lay on the table with a pillow under their head and a wide belt will be tightened over the hip and lumbar region. It is essential for the belt to be tight so the pull will be exactly at the vertebral level that is desired. Once the patient is sufficiently fastened, the bottom half of the table is elevated to create the proper angle for a lumbar decompression pull. The table will slowly separate creating the desired decompression and traction in the spine.
The table allows us to set the pull to an exact poundage. This gives us total control over how far the lumbar spine is being tractioned. Patients will always start lower than we think is needed for a proper pull and weight will slowly be increased until we find the proper pull for each particular patient.
Decompression for the cervical spine is a similar setup to the lumbar spine but the patient’s neck will be lightly hugged on either side with a soft rubber piece. Just like for the lumbar spine, the table allows us to give the patient a pull from any angle that is needed and the table can be programed down to pull at a specific poundage.
Typically, patients will be tractioned over a 12 minute period. The table will pull for about 30 seconds and then slowly come back to neutral and then another pulling cycle will begin after a small rest. It is this pumping action of traction and rest that creates increased blood flow to the spine and can increase recovery time and range of motion.