Decompression Therapy

Spinal Decompression

Herniated or bulging discs can put pressure on the spinal nerves, resulting in pain down the back and legs. At Loebig Chiropractic & Rehab, we offer nonsurgical decompression to relieve this pressure and alleviate associated pain. Unlike more invasive options, spinal decompression requires little to no recovery time or powerful pain medications--so you can enjoy the results and continue to perform your daily activities. 

Spinal decompression uses state of the art technology to apply a distraction force to relieve nerve compression often associated with low back pain and sciatica.

Non-surgical decompression causes a vacuum-like effect, which allows any leaking tissue to return to the spinal disc. The vacuum also increases blood circulation in the spine, which brings nutrients and oxygen necessary for healing. Patients report that decompression is a pain-free procedure; in fact, some even fall asleep during their session.




Excellent four-year results have been reported in a small series of patients with chronic discogenic low back pain treated with a spinal decompression device. Of the 23 patients who responded, 52% had a pain level of zero, 91% were able to resume their normal daily activities, and 87% were either working or were retired without having back pain as the cause for retirement. 


Among 23 patients, 71% showed more than 50% reduction in pain immediately after treatment, and 86% showed 50% or better pain reduction at four years. "After four years, 52% of respondents reported a pain level of zero. Thus, pain relief not only lasted but improved," reported Robert H. Odell Jr., MD. PhD.

The cost per year of improved quality of life is substantially less than for standard inter-ventional pain and surgical techniques, Dr. Odell stressed in a poster presentation at the 2002 annual fall meeting of the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine. Numerous low back pain treatments are available, and most have questionable outcomes, or unfavorable long-term results, Dr. Odell, an anesthesiologist in private practice in Las Vegas, and lead author Daniel A. Boudreau D.O., and orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Mesquite, Texas, told Anesthesiology News. VAX-D, manufactured by VAX-D Medical Technologies, Palm Harbor, Fla., is a table that applies distractive forces to the lumbar spine via computer technology. The technology is designed to avoid stimulation of the proprioceptor sensors that elicit muscle guarding. The device was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1989 for treatment of herniated and degenerative disc disease and radicular pain. 

The retrospective survey included 34 patients treated between January and April 1995; of these, 23 patients responded. All had undergone several types of treatment before using decompression therapy. Originally patients underwent 15 treatments, but some received up to 32 treatments. Those who received more treatments tended to have better pain relief. Subsequent studies have shown that patients with single-level discogenic disease require 20 treatments, but patients with multilevel discogenic disease may require 30 or more. Over Dr. Boudreau's six years of experience with this table, the average number of treatments he administers to a patient is 27.

Patients were diagnosed by physical examination and lumbar magnetic resonance imaging as having a herniated, degenerated or bulging disc. Progress was measured with Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) pain scores. A 50% reduction in score was considered a successful result. At four years, patients were sent a questionnaire survey by mail (an survey by telephone if the questionnaire was not returned).

Four Year Follow Up Study

"Of the 23 patients who responded, 52% had pain level of zero. 91% were able to resume their normal daily activities, and 87% were either working or were retired without having back pain as the cause for retirement," emphasized Dr. Odell. 'There were no complications with this treatment!' 

The average pain level was 7.41 before treatment and 3.41 immediately afterward. None of the respondents underwent surgery for their back condition after receiving decompression therapy. There researchers believe that the pain reduction probably resulted from the effects of negative intra-discal pressure, which allowed nutrients, oxygen and water to be brought into the disc. 

To contrast these results, the investigators also referred to a study of 575 patients with lumbar disc herniation. When surveyed 4 to 17 years after their surgery, 70% of respondents said they still had back pain.

Dr. Boudreau said that, to date, he has treated nearly 2,000 patients with decompression therapy and has follow-up data on 1,500 patients. He acknowledged that the study sample size was small and that the study was not randomized and controlled. 

In comments to Anesthesiology News, David P. Seamans, MD, of the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale, in Arizona, said that, "There are millions of people suffering from low back pain, and many are not adequately treated. We don't have all the answers in allopathic medicine, so there is always a need for new therapies."

Surgery should always be a last resort when it comes to back pain. To learn if you are a candidate for Spinal Decompression please call 703-757-5817 for a FREE consultation with Dr. Loebig! 


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