Chiropractic Spinal Decompression Therapy

Below is the clinical research on spinal decompression. The results are phenomenal.

Spinal Decompression Clinical Research

By Thomas A. Gionis, MD, JD, MBA, MHA, FICS, FRCS, and Eric Groteke, DC, CCIC

The outcome of a clinical study evaluating the effect of nonsurgical intervention on symptoms of spine patients with herniated and degenerative disc disease is presented.

This clinical outcomes study was performed to evaluate the effect of spinal decompression on symptoms and physical findings of patients with herniated and degenerative disc disease. Results showed that 86% of the 219 patients who completed the therapy reported immediate resolution of symptoms, while 84% remained pain-free 90 days post-treatment. Physical examination findings showed improvement in 92% of the 219 patients, and remained intact in 89% of these patients 90 days after treatment. This study shows that disc disease the most common cause of back pain, which costs the American health care system more than $50 billion annually can be cost-effectively treated using spinal decompression. The cost for successful non-surgical therapy is less than a tenth of that for surgery. These results show that biotechnological advances of spinal decompression reveal promising results for the future of effective management of patients with disc herniation and degenerative disc diseases. Long-term outcome studies are needed to determine if non-surgical treatment prevents later surgery, or merely delays it.


According to the self-rated Oswestry Pain Scale, treatment was successful in 86% of the 219 patients included in this study (Table 2, page 39). Treatment success was defined by a reduction in pain to 0 or 1 on the pain scale. The perception of pain was none 0 to occasional 1 without any further need for medication or treatment in 188 patients. These patients reported complete resolution of pain, lumbar range of motion was normalized, and there was recovery of any sensory or motor loss. The remaining 31 patients reported significant pain and disability, despite some improvement in their overall pain and disability score.

Diagnosis MRI Findings No. of Cases Female Patients Male Patients Positive Result No Result % of Success
Single Herniation Lateral 67 26 41 63 4 94
Single Herniation Central 22 11 11 20 2 90
Single Herniation w/ Degeneration 24 5 19 24 0 100
Single Herniation Lateral w/ Degeneration 32 14 18 29 3 91
Multiple Herniations w/o Degeneration 57 21 36 39 18 68
Multiple Herniations w/ Degeneration 17 2 15 13 4 77
TOTAL 219 79 140 188 31 86

Table 2. Results on self-rated Oswestry Pain Scale after treatment.

In this study, only patients diagnosed with herniated and degenerative discs with at least a 4-week onset were eligible. Each patient's diagnosis was confirmed by MRI findings. All selected patients reported 3 to 5 on the pain scale with radiating neuritis into the lower extremities. By the second week of treatment, 77% of patients had a greater than 50% resolution of low back pain. Subsequent orthopedic examinations demonstrated that an increase in spinal range of motion directly correlated with an improvement in straight leg raises and reflex response. Table 2 shows a summary of the subjective findings obtained during this study by category and total results post treatment. After 90 days, only five patients (2%) were found to have relapsed from the initial treatment program.

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