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Spinal Decompression Therapy - How Does It Work?

Spinal decompression therapy is performed over a period of weeks, with the benefits of each session accumulating over this time. Each session on the Hill DT Spinal Decompression table lasts approximately 30 minutes, during which time the spine is taken through a series of controlled movements – pull, hold, release.

How does the disc become herniated?

spinal decompression therapy - disc herniated
Increased disc pressure and wear of the disc is associated with poor movement and uneven loading of the disc over long periods of time. These loads, over time, contribute to tearing of the tough outer fibres of the disc (the annulus fibosis), allowing ‘bulges’ or herniation of the inner gel-like material. When this happens, the herniation can directly push against the nerve, or irritate the nerve by surrounding it with inflammation.

What happens to the disc with Spinal Decompression?

spinal decompression therapy - disc
The ‘vacuum’ effect created by the action of Spinal Decompression helps to draw in the contents of the disc that have bulged outward or become herniated through the damaged fibres of the annulus fibrosis. This assists in more complete healing of the disc. This same action also draws nutrients and water back into the disc. Nourishment and extra water within the disc helps it to heal and recover its ‘hydrated’, more healthy state.

Reducing the pressure within the disc

spinal decompression therapy - disc pressure
With each treatment, a negative pressure of up to – 100mmHg is created within the discs through a precisely timed sequence of pulling, holding and releasing. This negative pressure is far lower than laying flat in bed, or even that measured on traditional traction machines. Over time, this repeated vacuum effect can help to draw the material that has bulged or herniated, back within the disc.

Stretching of the tissues helps to restore motion

The repeated gentle stretching of the spine also assists in restoring proper motion to the surrounding joints and associated soft tissues, including those of the tough outer layer of the disc. This restored motion is vital to the health of the intervertebral joints and the intervertebral discs. Proper movement of any joint in the body helps to keep it supple, as well as promoting good blood flow and nutrition to keep the supportive tissues strong and healthy.

High success rate

Spinal Decompression Therapy has a high success rate for spinal conditions associated with disc degeneration or spinal degenerative joint disease. At Canberra Spine Centre we see many patients respond well to Spinal Decompression therapy used in combination with appropriate supportive measures, where traditional methods have failed.

The benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy

There are many benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy. Local effects related to the mechanical forces on the spine and related tissues are as follows:

  • An increase in blood flow to the local area, improving nutrient supply into the disc and other joint-related tissues.
  • A reduction in pressure inside the disc, helping it to heal.
  • ‘Drawing in’, or reduction in size of the disc herniation.
  • A reduction in nerve compression (directly from the disc) and nerve irritation (from surrounding inflammation).
  • Rehydration of the disc, creating healthier disc tissue.
  • An improvement in spinal mobility as adhesions within and around the joint are stretched and released.

Other benefits

There may also be more generalised effects of your Spinal Decompression Therapy related to less compromise of the nervous system with better spinal motion and improved function, such as:

  • Less muscle guarding due to a reduction in damage and inflammation.
  • Improved posture for similar reasons.
  • Reduced pain levels due to the lowered inflammation and nerve irritation.
  • A lowered ‘stress response’ in the body (and all that this entails, such as inability to relax, irregular sleep, poor mood and upset digestion among other things) due to less pain and damage messages passing around the nervous system.

If you have problems with your spine, please call us on (02) 6257 9400 – we’d love to help!If you would like some more information about the spinal decompression therapy and how it relates to your health, please check out the other articles on our Facebook page or from our website: Spinal Decompression Therapy.