About 7 years ago the new gadget hitting the low back pain world was non-surgical spinal decompression. I know sounds impressive! So let’s talk about what it’s all about. There are various machines that will do this on the market ranging from $500 to $125,000. Of course the more expensive the more gadgets and cool stuff that comes with it, like video screens to watch while laying there and moving tables to make it easier to get on and off. The therapy typically takes 20-30 minutes and usually patients undergo a course of treatments over 2-3 months. The process is really easy for the patient, you just lay there and two belts around your waist gently pull your lumbar spine open. The theory is the decreased pressure allows the disc to pull back into place and take the pressure off the exiting nerve root, thereby decreasing your pain.
I have had some first hand experience with these machines. In all honesty I have seen better results with manual flexion distraction during my treatments. I think the $500 machine can provide some relief for the right patient. Insurance companies don’t pay for the traction therapy that can range from $2500-$5000 in out of pocket charges to the patient. I have seen marginal improvement with these devices and the research is really quite poor. Most of the research performed is by the manufactures of these devices. So of course they think their kids are the coolest and most amazing!
My recommendation, try traditional chiropractic care first for herniated disc issues. You should find a doctor that does manual flexion distraction, instrument adjusting and gentle techniques. You don’t want a rough twisting and cracking on your low back when you have a disc issue like this. The good news, you have already found the right guy. Dr. Myers practices this technique and works with Borgess neurosurgeons just in case your case is beyond chiropractic care.