RESEARCH: Impressive Effectiveness Shown in Spinal Decompression Medical Study

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015
Effectiveness of Spinal Decompression

If you’ve read my writing with any sort of regularity, you know without a doubt how I feel about Spinal Decompression and it’s impressive results.

In disc complaints and facet arthropathy, spinal decompression should literally be the entry point into the healthcare system and surgery should be the exit point from the healthcare system. The evidence shows it to be true. Hands down.

Injections in these complaints is not effective in recent research and the risks outweigh any perceived reward. Physical therapy is minimally effective in disc conditions. Even chiropractic adjustments are limited in disc condition that is strictly due to a herniated disc. Surgery is effective but at what cost?

We get to see it daily. At this point, in our office, we have had approximately 400 people undergo spinal decompression treatments. Of those 400 or so patients, literally, only 8 or 9 people did not report the progress or improvements that we expect. Those are simply stunning numbers when you think about it. So then….why isn’t spinal decompression more widely accepted and utilized?

My answer is, “I don’t know and I’m OK with that.”

I say that because, if the medical field catches on to the results we’re getting through spinal decompression, if they start to see the considerable amount of research that supports spinal decompression, they’ll take it over and chiropractors will no longer be the principle practitioners of this amazing treatment. Yes, I’m OK with it!

Here is an impressive example of the research I mentioned.

Why They Did It

Lots of prior research has been performed on spinal decompression. Since herniated and degenerated discs show to have elevated pressures within made worse through standing and sitting, the question is, “Can the disc be decompressed thus allowing proper healing and repair of the herniation and annular tears while rehydrating the disc at the same time?”

The goal was to answer that question in an objective and quantifiable manner.

How They Did It

  • They took Pre- and Post- treatment MRIs.
  • 18 patients: 12 males, 8 females. Ages 26-74.
  • Pain or numbness (due to herniated discs) into the lower limbs was present in 14 of the patients.
  • Pain or numbness (due to facet artropathy and stenosis) was present in 6 patients.
  • 20 Decompression treatments were given in 4-5 weeks
  • 2 patients received 40 treatments over 8 weeks.
  • Decompression was performed at 1/2 of the patient’s body weight plus 10 lbs.
  • Clinical status assessed before, during, and after along with the standard analog pain rating scale and a neurological exam as well just to be sure.

What Did They Find?


    1. Disc Herniation

    • 10 out of 14 patients improved SIGNIFICANTLY, some globally.
    • There were measured improvements in disc herniations
      1) 0% in 2 of the patients
      2) 20% in 4 of the patients
      3) 30%-50% in 4 patients
      4) 90% in 2 patients, which was the set of patients that received 40 treatments over 8 weeks.

2. Facet Joint Arthropathy

    a. No demonstrable change on the MRI alone except for 2 patients.


1. Besides the MRI results, all except for 3 of the patients had VERY SIGNIFICANT pain relief.
2. Besides the MRI results, all except for 3 of the patients had COMPLETE relief of weakness when present.
3. Besides the MRI results, all except for 3 of the patients had COMPLETE relief of immobility and numbness.
4. In disc herniation, 10 out of 14 experienced 10%-90% improvement in symptoms.

Wrap Up

(Copied and Pasted from original article for accuracy)
(1) Decompression treatments afforded good or excellent relief of pain and disability whether from herniated disc or foraminal or lateral spinal stenosis.

(2) MRI showed imperfect correlation with degree of clinical improvement but 10% to 90% reduction in disc herniation size could be seen at least at the critical point of nerve root impingement in 10 of 14 patients.

(3) Two patients with extended courses of treatment showed 90% disc reduction and one of these had early rehydration of the degenerated disc at L4-5. An “empty pouch” sign on MRI at the site of previous herniation was seen in these 2 patients.

(4) Foraminal and lateral spinal or facet arthrosis cases causing radiculopathy without herniation also improved but without MRI change.

(5) Annulus healing or patching in the herniated disc can be shown by MRI and is postulated to be a primary factor in clinical and MRI improvement.

Research authored by Edward L. Eyerman, MD and published in Journal of Neuroimaging June 1998.
The article can be read at this link:

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY

Research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled. We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising your general, overall level of health!

Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think.

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Till next time……

The Amarillo Chiropractor Blog is written by Dr. Jeff Williams.

Amarillo TX Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic provides customized chiropractic care to the Amarillo, Canyon, Pampa, Happy, White Deer, Dumas, Groom, Conway, Panhandle, Claude, Clarendon, Borger, Tulia, Hereford, Fritch, Bushland, and Vega communities. Visit our main website at for customized Chiropractic in Amarillo TX.

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by Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
Chiropractor in Amarillo
Accident Chiropractic
Creek Stone Integrated Care