Spinal Decompression

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What is Spinal Decompression?

what is spinal decompression

If you have lasting back pain spinal decompression may be able to help. It’s non-surgical and can be a very effective way to relieve your back pain.

Spinal decompression is a breakthrough computer-aided technology that can relieve lower back pain and neck pain.

It’s FDA cleared and is used in over 5,000 clinics in the U.S and Canada.

What’s amazing is even patients who have been doing Physical Therapy, Chiropractor care, and taking pain killers with little success have received dramatic pain relief using spinal decompression.

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This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation, this session is only to find out if physiotherapy can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Why PainHero?

Improve the way your body moves so you can continue to do the things you love. PainHero is Canada’s largest network of physiotherapists, chiropractors, and registered massage therapists. Our mission is to make it easy for you to find the top clinics in your community. We handpick the top clinics using our 50 point inspection based on patient reviews, complaints, and patient outcomes. 

Whether you’re seeking pain relief or preventative care, you can expect our patient-centric approach to be new and different from any healthcare experience you’ve had before. Perhaps even life-changing.  




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The Ultimate Guide To Spinal Decompression

How Does Spinal Decompression Work?

How it works is a special motorized machine gently stretches your spine. As your spine stretches it changes the force and position of your spine taking the pressure off the spinal discs.

Spinal discs are a gel-like cushion between the bones (a.k.a vertebra) of your spine.  As a result of spinal decompression, it can take pressure off pinched or irritated nerves. Even may retract bulging or herniated disks.

The pulling creates what’s called a negative pressure inside of the disc helping to put bulging discs and extruded disc material back into normal position.

Also driving nutrient-rich fluids to the problem area to facilitate the healing process.

You see, nutrient-rich fluids come packed into your vertebrae when you’re born. This provides a cushion and makes movements more comfortable. However, as you age this fluid starts to leak out of the joint making them less flexible and movements more difficult.

Causing a host of problems like: 

  • Chronic neck and back pain
  • Loss of muscle (muscle atrophy) and weakness
  • Sciatic pain
  • Tingling and numbness in arms and fingers.

Check out this slide post to get some ideas on how to relieve neck pain courtesy of Active Life Wellness Center (Read the caption)

Even just sitting too much during the day and other daily activities can compress your spine squeezing fluid out of your discs.

But by gently decompressing the vertebrae it draws the fluid back in providing more cushion and making it easier to move. Relieving pain and restoring natural function.

Not only that, the fluid repairs and rejuvenates the disc which can provide long-lasting relief after the treatments are completed. 

How Quickly Does Spinal Decompression Work?

It depends on the patient’s condition. Some patients start feeling pain relief within the first week. Others see significant relief within 2-3 weeks and for others, it can take 4-6 weeks depending on the severity of their condition.

Spinal decompression therapy takes 15-30 sessions during a 4-6 week period to get the best results. Each therapy session lasts for 30-45 minutes.

Spinal Decompression courtesy of Toronto Spine & Sports Clinic (Read the caption)


Find out whether physiotherapy can help you get back to doing the things you love in life. 

Is Spinal Decompression Painful?

Unlike spinal decompression surgery which is very invasive. With non-surgery spinal decompression therapy, most patients do not feel any pain during the treatment. In fact, some patients actually fall asleep.

Most may feel some soreness during the first week like they just worked out. This is normal as your body is not accustomed to being decompressed and stretched this way. As your body starts to adjust many don’t feel any or very little soreness after multiple treatments. It’s very rare to have an increase in pain after this type of therapy.

What Happens During Spinal Decompression?

You first lie face down or up on a computer-controlled table. A special harness will then be placed around your waist. Your legs will then be elevated and placed on a cushion. A chiropractor will then customize the treatment to your specific condition.

Next, the spinal decompression machine will begin to slowly and gently stretch your spine to alleviate not normal pressure on your discs.

This creates what’s called a negative pressure to retract protruding disc back to its normal position.

What Is The Success Rate Of Spinal Decompression?

Most research shows a success rate of 71%-81% treated with spinal decompression.

At the Annual Meeting American Academy of Pain Management in Tampa, Florida. John Leslie of the Mayo Clinic talked about a study using spinal decompression done on patients with 10 years of chronic back pain.

After just two weeks of treatment, the patients experienced a 50% reduction in pain.

At the end of the 6-week treatment plan, the success rate was 88.9%.

Which is remarkable because very few if any treatment options offer that high of a success rate for chronic and long-term back pain sufferers.

Who Should Not Have Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression?

Who Should Not Have Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression? ​

You should ask your doctor, physio, or chiropractor if you maybe a good candidate.

If you have any of the conditions below you should not do spinal decompression:

  • Pregnant
  • Recent fracture of the lumbar spine
  • Tumor
  • Screws or rods in the spine
  • Metastatic cancer that has spread to the bones.
  • Infections in the disc
  • Pelvic or abdominal cancer
  • Advanced osteoporosis

A quick way to see if spinal decompression may help you is to do a compression test that you can do at home according to Physiotherapist Bob Shrupp.

The goal is to determine if compression makes your pain worse then maybe decompression will make it feel better.

So here’s how to do the compression test.

1.) Sit in a chair

2.) Slump a little bit

3.) Then pull on the bottom of the chair to compress your spine.

If that makes your back, leg, or neck pain worse. Then it’s possible that decompressing and stretching your spine will make you feel better.

However you should ask a doctor, physio, and chiropractor to confirm.

Can I Do Spinal Decompression at Home?

You first should always consult with your doctor before attempting any exercises. Although not as effective as spinal decompression therapy. There are some exercises you can do at home that may help some decompress their spine.

1.) Bar Hangs (spinal decompression exercises hanging)

If you have a pull-up bar, this can be a great exercise to decompress your spine.

All you do is hang yourself from a bar.

Here’s how to perform it:

1.) Find a pull-up bar or chin-up bar that is sturdy.

2.) Grab onto the bar and hang from it.

3.) Once it feels comfortable begin to relax your muscles more as you hang and hold for 20 seconds.

4.) Let go of the bar and put your feet on the floor. Then take a minute break.

5.) Then grab on again and hang for 20 seconds more.

It’s good to perform this daily.

2.) Overhead Stretches

Courtesy of newhealthadvisor.org

This one you can do at work.

1.) You want to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

2.) Then interlace your fingers face down and bring them up over your head.

3.) Now straighten your elbows and reach up as far as you can toward the ceiling.

4.) Hold for 10-30 seconds.

5.) Then repeat throughout the day.

With this exercise, you can also lean to the right and left too.

3.) Prayer Stretch

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

This is a great stretch for the lower back and lats.

1.) You want to get on your knees and lower your torso toward the floor.

2.) As you are lowering, put your arms straight out in front of you until you feel a nice stretch in your back.

Check out this video on how to protect your lower back courtesy of The Chiropractic Office & Health Associates

4.) Spinal decompression hanging upside down.

Courtesy of thebrianahansen.com

Also known as inversion therapy, where you hang upside down. However, this can be risky for anyone with high blood pressure, heart disease, or glaucoma according to the mayo clinic.

It’s believed to take the gravitational pressure off of the spine and increase space between the vertebrae.

Exercises for upper back stiffness and tightness courtesy of National Spine Care and Sports Medicine (Read the caption)

Where Do I Find a Spinal Decompression Therapist?

Just click the convenient search button below on this page to find a top one near you. We have spinal decompression Toronto and all over Canada.

Who is Spinal Decompression Therapy For?

Spinal Decompression technology is cleared by the FDA and has shown successful for the following conditions:

Frequently Asked Questions

Some insurances cover it. You should ask your insurance company if it is covered under your plan.

Many report it feels like a gentle stretch and is relaxing. Some even fall asleep. If you have severe disc trauma you may experience mild discomfort during the first few visits.

A treatment lasts 30-45 minutes


IMS treatment is one of several possible methods for relieving pain that do not rely on prescription medications and all the side effects and baggage they come with. Not to mention that most drugs can only mask pain, but rarely address root causes. Find a clinic if you are suffering from muscle tightness, soreness, or pain to improve your quality of life, today.