What is the difference between decompression and traction?
Many clinicians specializing in lumbar spine pathology have criticized traditional traction. Traction fails in many cases because it causes muscular stretch receptors to fire, which then causes para-spinal muscles to contract. This muscular response actually causes an increase in intradiscal pressure.
Genuine decompression, on the other hand, is achieved by applying various degrees of distraction forces to spinal structures in gradual and calculated increases. A highly specialized computer must modulate the application of distraction forces in order to achieve the ideal effect. The system uses a gentle, curved angle pull - which yields far greater treatment results than a less comfortable, sharp angle pull. Distraction must be offset by cycles of partial relaxation.
The system continuously monitors spinal resistance and adjusts distraction forces accordingly. A specific lumbar segment can be targeted for treatment by changing the angle of distraction. This patented technique of decompression may prevent muscle spasm and patient guarding. Constant activity monitoring takes place at a rate of 10,000 times per second, making adjustments not perceived by the eye as many as 20 times per second via its fractional metering and monitoring system.
Genuine decompression also involves the use of a special pelvic harness that supports the lumbar spine during therapy. Negative pressure within the disc is maintained throughout the treatment session. With genuine decompression, the pressure within the disc space can actually be lowered to about -150 mmHg. As a result, the damaged disc will be rehydrated with nutrients and oxygen.
Isn’t decompression just a fancy name for a traction machine?
No. There is a big different between traction, distraction, and decompression. Traction has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. The problem with traction as it is known today is that it is not always beneficial. In 1998, the Scientific American rated traction to be of little or no value in the examination of efficacious therapies for lower back pain. This finding is consistent with many studies that report that traction can oftentimes trigger a nociceptive splinting response and cause a patient’s back muscles to spasm and thus resist any attempts to affect a change on the disc.
Distraction, a term used to describe a flexion distraction technique, attempts to reposition the spine from the offending lesion. This technique has been shown to be very effective, largely dependent on the skill of the technician. Like traction, distraction procedures are limited in their ability to reduce the pressure within the disc in order to allow an influx of fluid and nutrients and create an environment for repair.
Decompression, on the other hand, is an event. It occurs through a combination of restraint, angle position, and equipment engineering. One can experience traction without decompression, but not decompression without traction.
Remember...Traction is a machine. Distraction is a technique. Decompression is an event.
What Results Can I Expect?
Many patients with lower back syndromes may experience pain relief as early as the third treatment session. Comparison of pre-treatment MRI’s with post-treatment MRI’s has shown a 50% reduction in the size and extent of herniation. In clinical studies, 86% of patients reported relief of back pain with our system. Within the past five years, some private practice clinicians have reported success rates as high as 90%.
What Time Commitments Are Required By Patients?
Each treatment session averages 15 to 20 minutes in duration. Research has established that optimum results are achieved with sessions that incorporate 10 to 15 decompression/relaxation cycles. Our acute care treatment plan averages 2 to 3 times per week for 10 to 22 sessions.
Herniated discs generally begin to improve within 8 to 12 sessions. We expect a minimum of a 20-to-30% decrease within the first month of care. Patients with degenerated discs may need ongoing therapy at regulated intervals to remain pain-free. Other patients, due to lifestyle or occupation, may also require maintenance therapy.
Who can benefit from using Disc Decompression Therapy?
Those who suffer from any of the following symptoms/conditions:
- Pain lasting more than four weeks that is due to herniated or bulging lumbar discs
- Recurrent pain lasting more than six months from a failed back surgery
- Persistent pain from degenerated discs that has not responded to four weeks of therapy
- *Patients should be available for four weeks of treatment protocol.*
- *Patients should be at least 18 years of age.*
These indications are ideal candidates for enrollment into our program and have the potential of achieving quality outcomes in the treatment of their back pain:
- Nerve Compression
- Lumbar Disorders
- Lumbar Strains
- Sciatic Neuralgia
- Herniated Discs
- Injury of the Lumbar Nerve Root
- Degenerative Discs
- Spinal Arthritis
- Low Back Pain, with or without Sciatica
- Degenerative Joint Disease
- Myofasciitis Syndrome
- Disuse Atrophy
- Lumbar Instability
- Acute Low Back Pain
- Post-Surgical Low Back Pain
Lastly, the system should be utilized with patients with low back pain, with or without radiating arm or leg pain, who have failed conventional therapy (physiotherapy and chiropractic) and who are considering surgery.
*Surgery should only be considered following a reasonable trial of Decompression Therapy protocols.*
What is the typical diagnosis?
There are numerous diagnoses - too many to quantify - that have proven to benefit from DTS therapy. Non-specific low back pain and cervical pain generally involve biomechanical or motion issues or involve pressure on the nerves. Thus, the diagnostic impression is formed through consultation, personal history analysis, examination, and radiographs. MRI’ s are generally not required but can be invaluable in the diagnosis and treatment of nerve and disc compression issues.
What conditions are contraindicated?
Patients with the following conditions or symptoms are usually excluded from using the Spinal Decompresion therapy: Pregnancy, Prior lumbar surgical fusion, Metastatic cancer, Severe osteoporosis, Spondylolisthesis, Compression fracture of lumbar spine below L-1, Pars defect, Aortic aneurysm, Pelvic or abdominal cancer, Disc space infections, Severe peripheral neuropathy, Hemiplegia, paraplegia, or cognitive dysfunction, Cauda Equina Syndrome, Tumors, Osteod Osteoma, Multiple Myeloma, Osteosarcoma, Infection, Osteomyelitis, Meningitis, Virus, and HNP (sequestered/free floating fragment).
How long is each session, and what is the treatment protocol?
Each session of DTS is approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Treatment plans and resolution of symptoms takes between 8 and 25 sessions.
How long before a patient experiences change?
Our acute care treatment plan averages 2 to 3 times per week for 10 to 22 sessions. We expect a minimum of a 20-to-30% decrease within the first month of care. Herniated discs generally begin to improve within 8 to 12 sessions.
Does Decompression Therapy work for everyone?
A proper exam and diagnosis are crucial factors in the success of DTS therapy.
Patients' conditions that do not respond quickly to the therapy are often unable to be helped by anything quickly. The factors in recovery time are age, presence of degenerative joint or disc disease, lifestyle, and diet/proper weight maintenance. Patients vary in age, gender, and body morphology and may require counseling in weight loss, nutrition, and other lifestyle changes.