Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy (SDT) is a revolutionary new technology used primarily to treat disc injuries in the neck and in the low back. These injuries might be disc herniations, where the spinal disc is ruptured and jelly of the disc is pressing against a spinal nerve, or the injuries might be more chronic in nature, such as severe disc degeneration, sciatica or facet disease.

People often seek spinal decompression therapy after conservative therapies (chiropractic, physical therapy, exercise therapy, etc.) has failed to effectively heal the damage.

SDT utilizes FDA cleared equipment to apply distraction to the spine in a very specific and controlled way. Dr. Sheally, M.D., a Neurologist, developed the first table to help reverse the pressure on spinal discs. During decompression therapy, a patient undergoing treatment for low back pain, lies comfortably on his/her back or stomach on the decompression table. Padded straps help support the patient’s upper torso and their waist as the decompression gentle applies distraction to a specific area of the patient’s spine. For the neck, the patient lies comfortably on his/her back with a pair of soft rubber pads behind the neck. There are different versions of this table such as the DRX 9000, or the Chattanooga Versions which have important features and differences (covered in another post).

During a session, a gentle pull might be held for 45 seconds and then relaxed for 25 seconds. Through repeating cycles of axial unloading, a vacuum inside specific spinal discs. This “vacuum effect”, also known as negative intra-discal pressure, helps increase the protein synthesis inside of the spinal discs. In other words, the spinal disc has been shown to produce more repair material because the decompression is bringing in more nutrients inside the damaged disc. This facilitates healing from the inside.

The “vacuum effect” can induce the retraction of the herniated or bulging disc into the inside of the disc, and off the nerve root, thecal sac, or both. This can provide great relief by taking pressure of sensitive nerves and allowing them to function again.

SDT is extremely safe and comfortable. In fact the very effectiveness of the therapy requires the patient be as relaxed as possible. Most of our patients listen to soft music or the sounds of a fountain during their treatment. Many are so relaxed they fall asleep during their treatment.

To see pictures of this process in action or for additional information, click here.

I hope the above information has been helpful in your search for better health,


Dr. Dan Greenlee