The numerous studies that have been conducted on decompression therapy have consistently upheld its effectiveness.
1. Sherry E, Kitchener P, and Smart R, “A prospective randomized controlled study of VAX-D and TENS for the treatment of chronic low back pain.” Journal of Neurological Research, Vol. 23, October 2001. A randomized study which compared VAX- D to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) in the treatment of patients with chronic (> 3 months in duration) low back pain. Successful outcome was defined as a 50 % decrease in pain using the Visual Analog Pain Scale and an improvement in the level of functioning as measured by patient-nominated disability ratings. The TENS-treated group (n = 21) reported a success rate of 0%, while the group treated with VAX-D (n = 19) showed a success rate of 68.4 %. In spite of this positive finding, Blue Cross reported, “While a 68% success rate was associated with VAX-D compared to a 0% success rate associated with TENS therapy, without a true placebo control, the results are difficult to interpret scientifically.”
Let’s face it; insurance companies have no desire to pay anything to anyone. I can accept the fact that they don’t consider spinal decompression therapy to be reimbursable but, as a health care professional, I do not need the approval of the insurance companies; the important thing is to continue with the research.
The medical community has provided countless studies that have showed the efficacy of spinal decompression. and while our profession openly and subjectively debates it, modern medical journals have documented its success. Dr.Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, a former Harvard Professor who has more published articles than any other doctor in our nation On Spinal Decompression, published a review of over 50 traction device studies which led to his identification of mechanisms of action improvements. His observations resulted in the development of the first targeted angle approach by implementing the fixed tower, which, in my opinion is key for an accurate angle of pull to target specific discs of the spine.
His use of the fixed tower in the original DRS system boosted outcomes significantly above the 68% success rate of Vax-D. The DRS patented by Shealy-Becerra, et al. demonstrated an 82-86% success rate.
Non-Surgical Decompression, A Conservative, non-invasive alternative to surgery.
In the McClure study, carried out by neurosurgeon Dr. Dennis McClure, over 500 patients cleared for spinal surgery were instead given spinal decompression utilizing IDD Therapy (Intervertebral Disc Distraction- also known as spinal decompression. This resulted in 92% of participating patients being able to avoid surgery, and to report continued relief even after the one year follow up period. Medical research has determined the efficacy of spinal decompression. We as chiropractors need to embrace this research and I challenge each and every chiropractic school to begin doing so today.
Additional reading and areas for further research:
Eyerman E, “MRI Evidence of Mechanical Reduction and Repair of the Torn Annulus Disc.” International Society of Neuroradiologists, October 1998; Orlando.
Shealy, C Norman and Borgmeyer V, “Decompression, Reduc- tion and Stabilization of the Lumbar Spine: A Cost-Effective Treatment for Lumbosacral Pain.” AJPM, 1997.
Dr. C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, and Vera Borgmeyer, RN, MA, iconic figures in the field of decompression, reported the following:
SUMMARY —American Journal of Pain Management Vol. 7.
No. 2 April 1997 Emerging Technologies: Preliminary Findings
“We have compared the pain-relieving results of traditional mechanical traction (14 patients) with a more sophisticated device which decompresses the lumbar spine, unloading of the facets (25 patients). The decompression system gave ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ relief in 86% of patients with RID and 75 % of those with facet arthroses. The traction yielded no ‘excellent’ results in RID and only 50% ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ results in those with facet arthroses. These results are preliminary in nature. The procedures described have not been subjected to the scrutiny of review nor scientific controls.
At The Roseville Disc Center, our doctors are experts in the care and treatment of Spinal Disc Injuries, like Disc bulges, Disc herniations and Disc Degeneration. We constantly work with some of the area’s leading pain management doctors, orthopedic surgeons and neuro surgeons as part of a comprehensive team that works together to achieve the best possible outcome for every patient.
Tilaro F, “An Overview of Vertebral Axial Decompression.”
Naguszewski W, Naguszewski R and Gose E, “Dermatomal Somatosensory Evoked Potential Demonstration of Nerve Root Decompression after VAX-D Therapy.” Journal of Neurological Research, Vol. 23, October 2001.
Ramos G and Martin W, “Effects of Vertebral Axial De- compression on Intradiscal Pressure.” Journal of Neurosur- gery,1994.
Shealy C Norman and Leroy P, “New Concepts in Back Pain Management: Decompression, Reduction, and Stabilization.”