Is Spinal Disc Decompression Safe?

We have been providing disc decompression therapy in downtown San Francisco for 6 years now. It is not uncommon for herniated disc patients who are considering non-surgical spinal decompression as a treatment option to be concerned about safety. After-all, many have been told they need back surgery and if they don’t have it they could end up in worse shape than they already are.

decompression therapy san francisco
Lumbar decompression with the DRX9000

Often times their orthopedic doctor or medical doctor tells them that spinal decompression could harm them and the last thing they want is for a traction machine to be pulling on the injured spinal disc.

I would agree with this if spinal disc decompression were a traction machine. But it’s not.

Conventional spinal traction tables pull on the entire spine and can actually hurt a herniated disc patient. Spinal decompression systems such as the DRX9000 are computerized and have a built in bio-feedback mechanism that senses and monitors the patients muscle guarding response.

When muscle guarding increases, the spinal decompression machine decreases it’s pull. When muscle guarding decreases, the spinal decompression machine increases it’s pull, up to the predetermined target. All the while…a constant tension is maintained.

It does this while isolating on a specific spinal segment (unlike regular traction), such as L5-S1, which is the most common lumbar disc to bulge or herniate.

Your spinal decompression doctor and staff will closely monitor the decompression process by keeping an eye on the graphs on the machine that tell them how your body is responding to the treatment. All patients have a “kill button” in their hand during treatment and can stop the decompression instantly if something does not feel right.

Spinal decompression patients mostly fall asleep on the decompression machine…it’s that comfortable. After disc decompression the muscles are electronically stimulated to teach them to work with the spinal bones in their new position. Then ice is applied to reduce inflammation and soreness.

We have performed thousands of spinal disc decompression treatments at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center. Never has a patient suffered permanent bodily injury. Sure, some patients got sore…and a small percentage real sore…but that’s about it.

When you compare the safety record of spinal disc decompression to back surgery or cortisone injections or pain pills…heck, it’s not even close.

So YES!…spinal decompression therapy is safe…and it’s gentle. Will it fix your herniated disc? Maybe…maybe not. But even if the decompression process does not help your herniated disc…which is rare…you will still be whole and can try other treatments.

When we have a chronic back pain patient or chronic neck pain patient, that is concerned about the safety of  spinal decompression, we let them watch others do it…we let them do it and feel it themselves…and we let them talk to others that have done it. We make sure they are comfortable before we start.

So that’s it. Non-surgical spinal decompression might be just the treatment you need for your herniated disc. And please don’t let uninformed people talk you out of something that could possibly give you your life back. You be the judge.

Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic and Spinal Decompression in downtown San Francisco. Call 415-392-2225 and ask for a complimentary consultation.


Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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