Skip to content BOOK ONLINE

Spinal Decompression: Who Benefits?


The words “Decompression” and “Traction” lead our thoughts to the classic “Rack” of mid-evil days past or of a person lying in a hospital bed immobilized in a steel brace from head to toe.  These are misconceptions that hinder those who may benefit from modern advancements in spinal therapy.  Back pain is the number one cause of disability in people under 45 and the third leading cause of disability in those over 45.  The truth is that in excess of 80% 0f North Americans are affected by neck and back pain which is amongst the leading causes of disability and lost work time in North America.


An innovative and more recent approach to non-surgical spinal therapy is spinal decompression.  Spinal decompression therapy is best known for its management of spinal conditions such as DDD (degenerative disc disease), sciatica, disc herniation or bulge, and posterior facet syndrome.  It is the pressure or irritation on a nerve by one or more of these conditions that results in the most common presentations of both neck and back pain.  If this pressure or irritation can be eliminated or at least reduced, it is most likely that the associated symptoms will resolve.


The terms spinal decompression and traction have sometimes been used interchangeably.  In fact there is a significant technology difference between the two.  Spinal decompression tables intermittently pull and release, gradually building pressure to a preset level.  Within a spinal decompression table there are pressure sensors that sense when the body is “resisting” the stretch by tightening muscles along the spine and in response the controlling computer directs the table to momentarily release tension.  Some spinal decompression tables can also be manipulated to focus on a specific spinal segment and location of a disc injury.


When managing degenerative disc disease and disc herniations / buldges one main issue is the restoration of a healthy nutrient exchange between the surrounding tissues and the disc itself.  Spinal decompression with it’s gentle and painless repeated series of traction / relaxation cycles helps increase this exchange of nutrients, oxygen, fluid and waste products.  The vacuum action that is created within the spinal disc by decompression not only provides healing nutrients but also acts to reduce spinal disc bulges or herniations (aka “slipped disc”) reducing nerve irritation.  In most cases spinal decompression is not a stand-alone therapy and is often combined with other treatment protocols and rehabilitative exercises.


It is important to remember when choosing this service, that spinal decompression be provided by qualified clinicians and that the case be managed by someone qualified to perform a thorough examination and review MRIs and CT scans.


Submitted by Dr. Jans Ellefsen, Chiropractor

Dr. Ellefsen is the clinic director and owner of Kinesis Health Associates located on Ochterloney St. in Downtown Dartmouth.

Add Your Comment (Get a Gravatar)

Your Name


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.