spinal decompressionSpinal Decompression

Spinal Decompression therapy is an effective treatment for:

  • Herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc
  • Facet syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Post-surgical patients
  • Spinal Stenosis


Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical, comfortable traction therapy for the relief of back and leg pain or neck and arm pain. Spinal decompression therapy is designed to unload the spinal disc. Any back pain or neck pain caused by a damaged disc may be helped by spinal decompression therapy.

The procedure, cycles through distraction and relaxation phases and by proper positioning, a spinal disc can be isolated and placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it. The vacuum effect accomplishes two things. From a mechanical standpoint, disc material that has protruded or herniated outside the normal confines of the disc can be pulled back within the disc by the vacuum created within the disc. Also, the vacuum within the disc stimulates in growth of blood supply, stimulating a healing response. This results in pain reduction and proper healing at the injured area.

Spinal decompression therapy is not recommended for everyone; however, every patient is evaluated on an individual basis.

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy better than surgery?


In most cases, Spinal Decompression Therapy using the Triton DTS is better than surgery. This is due to the fact that surgery physically alters the spine by removing all or part of the problematic disc. Although this can reduce the pressure on the nerve, and relieve the back pain, the surgery tends to place more stress on the healthy discs above and below. Complications from surgery can be severe and may result in debilitating conditions.

Decompression Therapy is the hottest new therapeutic device for compression and disc syndromes!


Do you have a herniated disc, multiple herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome, or any other type of spinal problem? Is your doctor suggesting surgery, Pain Management, or Physical Therapy? Have you tried Chiropractic and just could not get enough relief? Come to Total Care Injury & Pain Center and try out the Decompression Traction System (Triton DTS).

Loss of local muscle control, abnormal posture and alterations in spinal curves are the probable underlying source of most spinal 'compression' and degeneration. Therefore a "passive" therapy has little effect in truly fixing the underlying problem.

However, that being said, Decompression therapy (done safely within established protocols and a clear understanding of it's limitations) can often effectively enhance the healing process and render quick, effective and often amazing pain relief in a properly selected patient population (many who have previously failed other treatments). Additionally it may also be very useful in determining the overall prognosis of passive care and expediting the phase-in of rehab protocols.

Indications and Use


Any non-acute (>1 week) low back or neck pain syndrome not related to a disease process, canal stenosis or acute strain/sprain injury is theoretically treatable by decompression. Disc and facet pain can often be relieved by early intervention with decompression. The acute inflammation of injuries however should be reduced by other means, in most cases, prior to beginning Decompression. Contraindications are similar to manipulative therapy, however since mechanical stretch creates no impact, mild to moderate Osteoporosis may not be contraindicated. (This holds true overall for frail and elderly patients who could potentially be injured by manipulative thrusts. Disc fragmentation, calcification, severe arthritis and any surgical spinal appliances are all relative contraindications.

Our clinical findings suggest Decompression will create a relatively quick initial response. Patients who will do well tend to feel a sense of relief (which can be direct pain cessation or a centralization of pain and/or reduction to an ache or stiffness) within six sessions. Full relief, if attainable through this passive treatment will usually be in 8-12 sessions. (Occasionally a 'stubborn' pain syndrome may continue to improve slowly over 15+ sessions though this is not the norm). Often patients will be treated 4-6 sessions and notice enough relief to allow active rehab to begin. Their Decompression may continue (pre or post rehab depending on the methods chosen) for 4-6 further sessions before discontinuing or reducing the frequency.

Typical frequency is 3-5 times per week. The extent and seriousness of the symptoms will determine if more than three sessions per week should be utilized. Our experience suggests Decompression is also an excellent supportive or maintenance treatment for those cases where pain relief is marked but prone to exacerbations.

The Triton DTS represents the finest Decompression Traction System available today. Cervical, lumbar, and wrist Decompression Traction can be delivered utilizing the Triton DTS in a controlled and proven method.

Decompression therapy is very affordable and cheaper than surgery. Spinal Traction is highly recommended by Neurological Research. It was found that out of 778 cases of patients receiving spinal decompression 92% said that they showed improvement (Neurological Research; Volume 20, Number 3, April 1998).

Spinal Disc Decompression, utilizing Decompression-Reduction-Stabilization, is a unique, non-surgical therapy developed for the treatment of chronic lower back pain, herniated discs and degenerative disc diseases.

The Spinal Decompression Table in conjunction with additional modalities effectively relieves the pain and disability resulting from disc injury and degeneration, by repairing damaged discs and reversing dystrophic changes in nerves. Spinal Disc Decompression addresses the functional and mechanical aspects of discogenic pain and disease through non-surgical decompression of lumbar intervertebral discs. Studies verify the significant reduction of intradiscal pressures into the negative range, to approximately minus 150 mm/HG, which result in the non-surgical decompression of the disc and nerve root. Conventional traction has never demonstrated a reduction of intradiscal pressure to negative ranges; on the contrary - many traction devices actually increased intradiscal pressure, most likely due to reflex muscle spasm. The Decompression Table is designed to apply distraction tension to the patient's lumbar spine without eliciting reflex paravertebral muscle contractions.

The most recent clinical study of 778 patients has showed that Disc Decompression Therapy was more than 70% successful in the treatment of herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome, and sciatica. In this same study, 92% of patients had a reduction in their pain of at least one point on the 0 to 5 scale.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical, comfortable traction therapy for the relief of back and leg pain or neck and arm pain. During this procedure, by cycling through distraction and relaxation phases and by proper positioning, a spinal disc can be isolated and placed under negative pressure, causing a vacuum effect within it.

What can this vacuum effect do?

The vacuum effect accomplishes two things. From a mechanical standpoint, disc material that has protruded or herniated outside the normal confines of the disc can be pulled back within the disc by the vacuum created within the disc. Also, the vacuum within the disc stimulates in growth of blood supply, secondarily stimulating a healing response. This results in pain reduction and proper healing at the injured site.

What machine is used for this purpose?

There are a number of spinal decompression machines presently used in the United States. After significant research, Hopkins Clinic for Physical Medicine has chosen to use the Triton DTS machine manufactured by Chattanooga, Inc., the premier manufacturer of physical therapy machines.

Who can benefit from Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy is designed to unload the spinal disc. Any back pain or neck pain caused in whole or in part by a damaged disc may be helped by spinal decompression therapy. These conditions include herniated, protruding or bulging discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica or radiculopathy (pinched nerves).

Are there conditions where Spinal Decompression is not indicated?

Spinal decompression therapy is usually not recommended for pregnant women, or patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe obesity or severe nerve damage. It is not recommended for patients over 70. However, every patient is evaluated on an individual basis. Spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws and metal plates or “cages”) is also contraindicated. Surgery to the discs without fusion or fusion using bony replacement is not contraindicated.

How often do I take treatment sessions? How long does each session last?

Each session includes decompression therapy and spinal stabilization exercises and takes about 1 hour. Spinal decompression is usually performed 3-5 times a week for 15-20 sessions.

What are the results of Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Over 70% of patients have good pain relief. This success rate is similar to surgical results.

I have had spinal surgery, but continue to have pain. Can I try Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Spinal decompression therapy can help people with back pain after failed spinal surgery. It can be performed in most patients who have not been left with an unstable spine after surgery.

How can I be scheduled for Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Simply call our office at 1-888-693-9983 and tell the receptionist that you are interested in decompression therapy. An initial consultation can usually be scheduled within 48 hours.