You may be wondering what the difference is between spinal traction and spinal decompression. The main difference is the advanced technology behind spinal decompression, which has shown to lead to better results. With traction, there is only a static pull on the spine. For example, if traction is set at 50 pounds, then it pulls at 50 pounds. Regular traction systems used by many practitioners only pull on the spine at a pre-set rate and force. This results in a stretch of the spine, joints and soft tissue. After a few minutes of traction your body says, “Hey, I’m being stretched,” and it creates a reflex in the surrounding muscles, resulting in tightening or spasms.
Spinal decompression therapy on the other hand, uses a computer that changes the amount of weighted “pull.” The pull is determined by the doctor using information from similar case studies and specific factors of the patient’s condition. For example, if spinal decompression is set it at 50 pounds, then it will pull at 50 pounds for a minute, then reduce down to 25 pounds for 30 seconds. This variation in weight creates an oscillating affect in the desired disc resulting in negative pressure within the disc. It also registers muscle tension changes and adjusts the therapy quickly to respond to the body’s natural defense mechanism of muscle guarding. This, along with pre programmed patterns, allow for increased disc rehydration and overall recovery.
Spinal decompression systems gradually build up the force of the pull, and some of the more advanced systems adapt to the body’s reactions to the treatment. When the computer senses changes in the body it begins to modify treatment to allow the spine and muscles to remain in a relaxed state. This has shown to have greater treatment effects on spinal discs than what is typically achieved with regular traction.
There have been modifications to the latest generation of traction tables, but they are still based on the same principle and simply pull the spine in one direction. With traction devices, we have not been able to see before-and-after MRI’s where there was increased disc height or a visible reduction of a DISC HERNIATION. (If you visit www.naturalspinesolutions.com, you can see one of our patient’s before and after MRI’s).
Spinal decompression tables not only pull the spine, they can actually “sense” how much force the body retracts. The table’s computer puts this information together and will decrease the amount of pull when needed, or in some cases, shut down the machine completely when necessary to allow the body to remain relaxed. At Natural Spine Solutions our decompression table enables Dr. Fichter to program the table to work on a specific spinal segment and adjust parameters, including the angles of flexion, axial rotation and lateral flexion, to pinpoint the area of injury. In our office we have a high success rate using spinal decompression along with other treatments to help reduce the size of your herniation and regain your life back. Please call us or visit our website for more information.
• • •
Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.