Living with back pain can be debilitating, affecting your daily life in more ways than one. Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical treatment option for people who suffer from disc conditions that cause back or neck pain. It is a safe, gentle, and non-invasive way to relieve pressure on the discs in the spine. This innovative therapy has helped many people avoid surgery and manage their pain effectively. This blog post will explain spinal decompression and how it works. We will also compare surgical and non-surgical options, discuss the benefits of spinal decompression therapy, and list the conditions it can treat effectively. If you are looking for a solution to your chronic back or neck pain, spinal decompression therapy may be the answer you’ve been looking for.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

What is Spinal Decompression?

Spinal decompression is a non-invasive treatment to alleviate back and neck pain caused by various conditions, such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and sciatica. The procedure aims to relieve pressure on the spinal discs and nerves, promoting healing and reducing pain.

Non-surgical spinal decompression is often accompanied by other therapies, such as heat or cold therapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, or exercises to enhance the treatment’s effectiveness. The duration and frequency of the sessions can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the specific treatment plan.

It’s important to note that while spinal decompression may relieve some individuals, it may not be suitable for everyone. It is crucial to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or specialist who can assess your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment approach for your specific needs.

Surgical Spinal Decompression vs. Non-surgical Spinal Decompression

Surgical spinal decompression and non-surgical spinal decompression are two different approaches to treating certain spinal conditions. Let’s explore each of them:

Surgical Spinal Decompression

Surgical spinal decompression is a procedure that involves physically removing or modifying structures in the spine to alleviate pressure on the nerves or spinal cord. It is typically recommended for severe cases or when conservative treatments have failed to provide relief. There are different surgical techniques available, including:

  • Discectomy: This involves removing a herniated or damaged disc that may be pressing on a nerve root or spinal cord.
  • Laminectomy: This procedure removes the lamina (part of the vertebral arch) to create more space for the nerves.
  • Foraminotomy: It involves enlarging the foramen (the opening through which nerve roots exit the spinal canal) to relieve pressure on the nerves.

Surgical spinal decompression can effectively address specific conditions, such as spinal stenosis, herniated discs, or spinal tumors. However, it is an invasive procedure with potential risks and complications associated with this type of surgery, such as infection, bleeding, nerve damage, or failed back surgery syndrome.

Non-surgical Spinal Decompression

Non-surgical spinal decompression is a non-invasive treatment option that aims to relieve pressure on the spine and associated structures using mechanical traction or other techniques. It is often used for degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, or sciatica. The two primary methods of non-surgical spinal decompression are:

  • Mechanical Traction: This involves using a motorized table or device that gently stretches and decompresses the spine. The goal is to create negative pressure within the spinal discs, promoting the retraction of bulging or herniated discs and relieving pressure on nerves.
  • Manual Decompression Techniques: These techniques are performed by healthcare professionals and involve manually applying traction or pressure to specific areas of the spine to alleviate compression and improve spinal alignment.

Non-surgical spinal decompression is generally considered safer and less invasive than surgery. However, its efficacy varies depending on the underlying condition and individual patient factors. It may provide temporary relief for some individuals but not permanent solutions for others. It is important to consult a qualified healthcare professional to determine if non-surgical spinal decompression is suitable for your specific condition.

Benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical treatment approach that aims to alleviate pain and promote healing in the spine. It involves using traction or decompression devices to gently stretch the spine, relieving pressure on the spinal discs and nerves. Here are some potential benefits associated with spinal decompression therapy:

  • Pain relief: Spinal decompression therapy can help relieve pain associated with spinal conditions such as herniated discs, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis. Reducing pressure on the affected discs and nerves can alleviate pain in the back, neck, arms, and legs.
  • Non-invasive approach: Spinal decompression therapy is a non-invasive treatment option, unlike surgical interventions. It’s a viable choice for those who want to avoid surgery or have contraindications. There are no incisions, anesthesia, or lengthy recovery periods involved.
  • Minimal risks and side effects: Trained professionals can safely perform spinal decompression therapy, which is gentle and controlled. Side effects such as mild soreness or stiffness are usually temporary and minimal.
  • Improved spinal alignment and posture: Spinal decompression can improve spinal alignment, posture, and alleviate strain on surrounding muscles and joints. This may lead to long-term improvements in spinal health and function.
  • Increased disc hydration and nutrient exchange: Therapy stretching and decompression create a vacuum effect in spinal discs. This facilitates the movement of fluids, oxygen, and nutrients into the discs, promoting hydration and healing.
  • Enhanced healing and tissue regeneration: Spinal decompression therapy creates a healing environment by relieving pressure on the spinal discs and nerves. It promotes tissue regeneration, retraction of herniated discs, and reabsorption of bulging discs.
  • Non-pharmaceutical pain management: Spinal decompression therapy offers an alternative to pharmaceutical pain management, such as relying on long-term medication use. Addressing the pain’s root cause may reduce the need for painkillers and their potential side effects.

How Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Works for Disc Conditions?

Non-surgical spinal decompression is a therapy used to treat disc-related conditions, such as herniated discs, bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, and spinal stenosis. This non-invasive procedure aims to relieve pressure on the spinal discs and promote healing. Here’s how non-surgical spinal decompression typically works:

Patient Setup

The patient lies on a specially designed table, usually in a comfortable, padded harness or belt system. The table can be adjusted to accommodate the patient’s specific needs.

Traction Force

The table is controlled by a computerized device delivering precise traction force. Depending on the specific decompression system used, the force can be applied mechanically or electronically.

Intermittent Stretching

The table applies a gentle stretching force to the spine. It slowly and intermittently pulls the spine apart, creating a negative pressure within the spinal discs. This negative pressure is known as negative intradiscal pressure, which can help improve blood flow to the discs and surrounding tissues.

Targeted Area

Decompression therapy focuses on the specific area of the spine affected by the disc condition. For example, if the lower back pain is affected, the traction force is directed toward the lumbar region.

Decompression and Relaxation

The alternating stretching and relaxation cycles help create a pumping action within the disc. This pumping action promotes the movement of nutrients, oxygen, and fluids into the disc, facilitating healing. It also helps to retract herniated or bulging disc material and relieves pressure on spinal nerves.

Treatment Sessions

Non-surgical spinal decompression is typically performed in a series of treatment sessions. Each session typically lasts for 30 to 45 minutes. The number of sessions required varies depending on the severity of the condition and the individual patient’s response to treatment.

What Conditions Can Spinal Decompression Treat?

Spinal decompression is a non-surgical treatment that aims to relieve pain and other symptoms associated with certain spinal conditions. Here are some conditions that spinal decompression may be used to treat:

  • Herniated or bulging discs: Spinal decompression therapy may benefit individuals with herniated or bulging discs. The treatment aims to create a negative pressure within the disc, promoting the retraction of the disc material and relieving pressure on the surrounding nerves.
  • Degenerative disc disease: This condition refers to the breakdown of the spinal discs over time, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility. Spinal decompression can alleviate symptoms by decompressing the affected discs and promoting healing.
  • Sciatica: Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, often caused by a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Spinal decompression therapy may help relieve pressure on the nerve roots and alleviate sciatic pain.
  • Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal decompression can provide relief by creating space within the spinal canal and reducing the pressure on the affected structures.
  • Facet joint syndrome: Facet joints are small joints located between each vertebra. Facet joint syndrome can cause pain and inflammation in these joints. Spinal decompression therapy may help alleviate the symptoms by reducing pressure on the facet joints.
  • Chronic back or neck pain: Spinal decompression therapy is sometimes used to treat chronic back or neck pain that has not responded to other conservative treatments. Reducing pressure on the spinal structures and promoting healing may offer pain relief.


In conclusion, spinal decompression is a safe and effective treatment option for individuals suffering from disc-related conditions. It offers numerous benefits, including pain relief, improved mobility, and reduced dependence on medication. Non-surgical spinal decompression is a less invasive alternative to surgery and can produce long-term results without the risks or recovery time associated with surgery. With the help of advanced technology and experienced practitioners, spinal decompression therapy has become increasingly popular as an effective treatment for back pain. If you or someone you know is struggling with disc-related issues, consult our Integrative Chiropractic experts to learn more about how spinal decompression therapy can help.

Chiropractor Overland Park, KS