Background: Non-surgical spinal decompression is a novel physiotherapy that improves on conventional traction by adding computer technology and it is commonly used along with other physiotherapy modalities. Indications include bulging or herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, facet syndrome, sciatica, neck pain and lower back pain.
The purpose of this practice-based observational study was to investigate the effectiveness of decompression for patients with radiculopathy or chronic spinal pain that failed to improve with conventional treatments. Patients were treated with 6 to 8 weeks of non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, including low-level laser therapy, superficial cold, home exercise and spinal manipulation if indicated. Starting and ending pain levels on a numerical pain scale were compared using a paired t-test to determine statistical significance.
Main findings: A sample of 41 cervical spine cases and 168 lumbar spine cases was analyzed. Ending pain scores for cervical spine cases (mean = 1.8, standard deviation = 1.8) were significantly less compared to the starting pain scores (mean = 6.0, standard deviation = 2.3), with a mean pain reduction of 4.2 (p < 0.0001). The average number of treatments was 13. Ending pain scores for lumbar spine cases (mean = 2.3, standard deviation = 2.6) were significantly less compared to the starting pain scores (mean = 6.6, standard deviation = 2.4), with a mean pain reduction of 4.3 (p < 0.0001) after an average of 15 visits.
Conclusion: Non-surgical spinal decompression brought statistically significant improvements in cervical and lumbar pain. Associated paresthesia and weakness also frequently improved. Further investigation of non-surgical spinal decompression, including long-term follow up and comparison to surgical decompression is encouraged.
Published on: Jun 15, 2017 Pages: 62-65