Spinal Decompression Therapy, or Spinal Axial Decompression, or simply “Traction” is a therapy utilized to help reposition and reduce bulging discs in the neck and low back. While far more controlled in today’s world, the use of spinal decompression dates back as far as 400 B.C.
This type of therapy today utilizes a special table and harness system to provide a controlled, alternating pulling and relaxing force to traction the desired vertebral level. The distraction of the specifically targeted joint results in a decrease of pressure within the joint. This decrease in pressure is utilized to retract bulging discs. The distraction force also causes tension to increase in the surrounding ligaments of the joint, applying additional centripetal forces to the effected disc. Additionally, decompression therapy results in widening of the intervertebral foramen, or nerve holes from which spinal nerves exit. Sciatica and other numbness and tingling type symptoms often result from encroachment or narrowing of these nerve exits, and spinal decompression therapy may be able to help. Lastly, spinal decompression therapy is able to provide relaxation to associated muscles. Studies have indicated total relaxation of muscles surrounding the spine following only 3 minutes of decompression therapy.