What is Chiropractic Spinal Decompression Therapy?

Chiropractic spinal decompression therapy, a groundbreaking treatment that involves the meticulous mechanical stretching of your spine, is a gentle, non-surgical way to instantly relieve disc-related pressure, stimulate the flow of blood and nutrients through your spine, thereby promoting natural, long-term healing.

Non-surgical Spinal Decompression

Non-surgical spinal decompression therapy (as opposed to surgical spinal decompression, such as laminectomy and microdiscectomy) is performed using advanced computer technology on a specialised traction table. It works on the same fundamental principles that chiropractors have used for decades to stretch the spine and provide effective pain relief.

Spinal decompression also increases blood flow to your spinal discs, allowing nutrient-rich fluids and oxygen to flow inside and promote cell renewal, tissue repair, and long-term healing.

The main goal of spinal decompression therapy is to provide immediate pain relief and promote an optimal healing environment for several spinal disc conditions such as disc herniation, radiculopathy and sciatica.

During your initial consultation, one of our experienced Chiropractors will go through a thorough examination to determine your suitability for any type of chiropractic care, and customise a program for you to achieve optimum results.  This examination would usually include patient history, a neurological examination, posture and gait examination, range of motion tests, weight distribution test, X-ray, CT or MRI scan analysis.

If spinal decompression therapy is recommended or required, a schedule of chiropractic care would be laid out for you to follow. 

Before we go on to explain how chiropractic care complements spinal decompression treatments, let’s talk about surgical spinal decompression – the chosen route for some individuals.

Surgical Spinal Decompression

To access the compressed nerve, the surgeon would have to make an incision (cut) across the affected section of the spine down to the lamina (bony arch of your vertebra). The nerve will be dragged back towards the centre of the spinal column, and a portion of the bone or ligament pressing on it will be removed.

Your surgeon and anaesthesiologist will go over the procedure with you and give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

As with all surgeries, you will be required to sign an informed consent form prior to surgery to confirm that you understand what is involved and the potential risks of the operation. You will usually be told not to eat or drink anything for six hours before the procedure.

During the surgery, you’ll usually lie face down on a special curved mattress to allow the surgeon better access to the affected part of your spine and to relieve pressure on your chest, abdomen, and pelvis.

The process is performed under general anaesthesia, and would take an hour or more, depending on complexity.

An incision would be made in the central portion of your back that runs vertically along your spine.

The following factors will determine the duration of the surgery:

  • How many vertebrae or discs must be treated
  • The surgery’s complexity
  • If fusion has been considered

To discover the back of spine, the muscles in your back will be lifted away from the backbone. The affected tissues or nerves will be removed gradually, relieving pressure on the spinal cord or nerves. After adequate decompression, the muscles will be stitched back together, and the incision will be closed and stitched up.

What conditions can benefit from spinal decompression?

Disc herniation

Herniated discs are inherently difficult to treat because your body may tend to favour the position of the discs even if you do not. Even if it causes you discomfort, your body adapts to its new out-of-whack back, making it difficult to get discs back to where they belong. Many doctors try, only to discover that discs have returned to their original positions during follow-up care.

Spinal decompression gently guides bulging or herniated discs back to their proper locations, providing long-term relief. Regular chiropractic adjustments help your discs stay in place rather than migrate outside of their intended locations over time.


Radiculopathy is more commonly referred to as ‘pinched nerve’, and is defined as a set of conditions in which one or more nerves are affected and do not work properly. It can can result in radicular pain, weakness, altered sensation (paresthesia) or difficulty controlling specific muscles. Pinched nerves arise when surrounding bone or tissue, such as cartilage, muscles or tendons, put pressure on the nerve and disrupt its function.

In a radiculopathy, the problem occurs at or near the root of the nerve, shortly after its exit from the spinal cord. However, the pain or other symptoms often radiate to the part of the body served by that nerve.

Non-surgical spinal decompression is an excellent treatment for pinched nerves, sciatica, radiating arm pain, degenerative disc disease, leg pain, and facet syndromes.


Sciatica provokes lower back pain and physical discomfort that emanates down to the back of the legs. Sciatica sufferers may also experience muscle weakness, numbness, tingling, or a shock-like sensation. Sciatica is typically felt on only one part of the body. Rotational motion, coughing, sneezing, prolonged periods of inactivity, or bending are all known to aggravate the pain.

Most sciatica cases resolve themselves in a few days to a few weeks with rest and home care treatment such as hot/cold packs and over-the-counter prescription pain medications.

Chronic sciatica is sciatica pain that lasts more than three months. Prescription medications, steroid injection shots, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, and surgery are all options for treating chronic sciatica.

Prescription medications or steroid injection shots only provide symptomatic and temporary relief from pain and do not address the underlying cause of your sciatica.

Spinal decompression is beneficial for all of these problems, whether they are caused by a herniated disc or a disc injury caused by a degenerative disease. This is due to the fact that it increases blood circulation to the spine and assists dislocated spines in returning to their original position.

Post-decompression therapy

Post-decompression therapy is necessary to ensure that your target regions are relaxed and pre-conditioned for chiropractic manual treatment. Chiropractic adjustments complement your spinal decompression program by correcting your mechanical and structural misalignments.

How are results measured?

As with any medical treatment, the outcome of spinal decompression therapy will vary depending on the patient, the doctor, and the procedure used. Patients do not usually feel a great deal of relief after the first treatment. Relief should be apparent after several spinal decompression sessions. In some cases, patients may need to accomplish their entire treatment plan before experiencing complete symptom relief.

For back pain due to disc herniation, radiculopathy, sciatica or other degenerative conditions, get in touch with Clinic 27 for a thorough health assessment and care program that will set you on the path to self-healing.



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