Perhaps you've seen the ads for Spinal Decompression! You find out it's not covered by your insurance so you have to pay CASH! If you don't have the cash, you might be told how to finance the cost or pay in installments. The cost could range from $2800 to $5000+.
Other than standard co-pays, you shouldn't have paid Out-Of-Pocket
for Spinal Decompression!
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The history of Decompression table development has involved a lot of marketing hype over the years which has lead to the unnecessary addition of 'Bells & Whistles' which serve only to 'market' as oppose to provide any unique benefit for patient treatment.
For those interested in a little more detail: Beware of machines with selector buttons which are claimed to isolate specific low back (lumbar) levels. These buttons encourage people to believe that the machine will only affect the specific area of low back pain. For example, if one has a problem at the level of the third lumbar vertebra (L3), there might be a button on the the machine that says 'L3' for lumbar level 3 which leads you to believe that only L3 will be treated. Such claim of isolating the region by the push of a button is an 'Outright Lie.' All levels of the lumbar spine will be affected and the choice offered on the machine is for marketing purposes only. Poorly performed studies have been performed to justify the use of magic buttons which are suppose to treat the specific level of involvement.
With the Kennedy Table, a real clinician will adjust pull patterns, angulation of pull and force in accord with the patient's responses. The patient's feedback is more reliable than pushing a button and there is no way to isolate the one lumbar level without effecting other levels. All lumbar segments will be affected on any and all decompression devices/tables. A larger person will affect the angle of pull relative to a thinner person.
Also advertising claims with regard to decompression systems indicate that muscles resist when we pull them. The claim is made that muscle "guarding" or "splinting" occurs with traction forces which can actually do more harm than good. The system is said to have a computer that is able to sense the body's muscle response and adapt to it. However, they forget one point. There is absolutely no substantiation to the claim that the muscles will guard during passive spinal traction, hence, more needless costly 'Bells & Whistles.' This outdated notion has been dispensed with yet companies are still using it for marketing purposes. It's an excellent marketing gimmick which has no true clinical application. We can improve comfort to a patient by reducing the amount of pull as it approaches the peak; there is no need to worry about muscle guarding.
How long is a decompression session?
Many facilities using sessions that last between 30 to 45 minutes per session; however, there is nothing in the research to validate such a long session. In-fact, longer sessions can lead to something called 'traction-reaction' where an increase in symptoms can occur from other tissues being stretched that are not use to being stretched. The idea that sessions should be so long is most likely from marketing hype & the desire to make people believe they got a lot of time for their money. Actual benefit can be obtained with 10 to 12 minute sessions. There may be some rare cases requiring more time, perhaps up to 25 minutes.
What position should I be in during decompression therapy?
Many Spinal Decompression (traction) machines on the market force one to either lie prone (on your stomach) or supine (on your back). There are conditions which can lead to poor results or even a worsening of one's condition if they are placed in the wrong position. This is why the Kennedy table does not limit one's treatment position. Your particular condition dictates the position you will be placed in on the device. Beware of decompression machines which only allow you to be placed in one position.
Is decompression always beneficial for pain going into the leg from the back?
Don't assume all Medical Professionals know how to evaluate potential causes of lower extremity pain. Among the reasons for lower extremity pain coming from the low back, there is a condition called 'Nerve Root Adherence.' This is where tissues have tethered to the nerve root in your low back causing pain with specific movements of the lower extremity. In such a case, spinal traction/decompression is very unlikely to effect a change with cases of 'Nerve Root Adherence.' Specific techniques outside of decompression therapy need to be used to address this condition. Don't be surprised when some in the Medical Profession will arbitrarily place you on the device simply because you have lower extremity pain emanating from the back.
What is different about getting Spinal Decompression therapy with Professional Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, P.C. aka Pro PT & Rehab Physical Therapy?
Patient's are not arbitrarily placed on to the decompression table as a 'one-size-fits-all' protocol for back and/or neck pain. Often, other treatments can be provided which involve independent movements, manual procedures, or a combination thereof, which will do the job without the need for Spinal Decompression. However, there are times when nothing else will work other than Spinal Decompression.
Professional Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, PC is THE FIRST physical rehabilitation facility in the South Jersey shore region to offer the ATM2 (Active Therapeutic Movements Machine) as well. There are times when the ATM2 will be more appropriate for one's spinal pain condition and other times when Spinal Decompression will be more appropriate. There will also be times when the use of both will be appropriate, perhaps in most cases. Professional Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, PC has the ATM2 and incorporates it's use in combination with Spinal Decompression and/or other treatment procedures, therapeutic exercises, activities and neuromuscular reeducation as deemed necessary all at standard fees! (See ATM2 page for further details).
Lastly, there are many other methods which can either compliment the use of spinal decompression and/or the use of the ATM2 or they can be used in place of these procedures. The most important thing is to work with a well trained clinician with several years of experience who are not locked into a 'cook-book' approach to treating pain. At Professional Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation, PC we use many tools to address one's condition.
Are there conditions where Spinal Decompression Therapy is not indicated?
Spinal decompression therapy is not recommended for pregnant women, patients who have severe osteoporosis, severe obesity or severe nerve damage. Spinal surgery with instrumentation (screws, metal plates or “cages”) is also contraindicated. However, spinal decompression therapy after bone fusion or non-fusion surgery, can be performed.
Don't be limited to one position when it's important to have the option of a multitude of positions!
Spinal decompression therapy is a non-surgical traction based treatment for herniated or bulging discs in the neck and lower back. Anyone who has back, neck, arm or leg pain may be helped by spinal decompression therapy. It is an adjunctive approach and is unlikely to comprise your only treatment for your back and/or neck pain condition.
Traction is the process by which Decompression is sought! Decompression is said to occur when relief of symptoms occur. Decisions for positional placement upon the Kennedy table are based in large part upon responses to evaluative procedures developed by the world renown writer, teacher and physical therapist Robin McKenzie, CNZM, O.B.E., FCSP (Hon), FNZSP (Hon), NZCP (HLM), Dip. MT, Dip.MDT. Such a process prevents one from being arbitrarily placed onto the table in a 'one-size-fits-all' fashion common with other decompression systems.
Note: “There is no valid scientific differentiation between traction and decompression…regardless of how manufacturers position their devices…they are all traction units…and all create the same effect, but the outcome of that effect is based on the specific patient presentations etc. not by the
mechanism of the machine."
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