Spine decompression therapy is a non-surgical way to ease ache and discomfort caused by compressed back discs. It involves stretching the back using a traction table. It takes the tension off the affected area and nerves. 

This is a safe and effective alternative to surgery. You can use it on its own or with other treatments to relieve ache. 

In this article, we’ll give you a complete guide to therapy. We’ll talk about the benefits, risks, and how well it works. We’ll also look at:

  • The different types of spine decompression therapy.
  • What conditions it can help.
  • What to expect during a treatment session.

We’ll also tell you how to prepare for the therapy and what to do after your treatment is over. 

What Is Spinal Decompression Therapy? – Theory

Chiropractic decompression is an approach that involves the use of traction. It decompresses the back and reduces ache. The basic theory behind this is that by creating negative tension within the affected backbone disc, it can draw in fluids and nutrients necessary for healing, reduce tension on nerves, and promote the retraction of herniated or bulging discs.

Spine decompression therapy works by using a traction device. It can be either mechanical or computerized to stretch the body gently. It’s applied to the backbone in a controlled and comfortable manner. It causes a separation between the vertebrae. And it creates negative tension within the backbone disc.

As the back is stretched, the disc spaces expand. It allows a greater flow of oxygen, nutrients, and fluids into the disc. This can help improve the disc’s health and reduce tension on any nerves that the disc may compress. The negative tension within the disc also causes any herniated or bulging discs to retract. This reduces the tension they may be on the nerves and alleviates symptoms.

Chiropractic decompression typically involves a series of sessions. Each lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. And they are usually administered by a chiropractor or other trained healthcare professional. During the back treatment, the patient lies comfortably on a table. And they’re secured using a harness to prevent movement.

spinal decompression expectation

What to Expect During a Spinal Decompression Treatment?

Therapy is non-invasive and involves using traction to relieve ache caused by compression. Spine decompression therapy is generally well-tolerated and has few side effects

With this approach, you can improve your health and return to a normal life rhythm. This will help you lead an active and happy life without barriers. But let the healthcare provider know if you feel discomfort during the treatment.

Knowing what to expect during a typical chiropractic decompression session is vital. Here is a list of what to expect during a session.

Initial Evaluation

Before starting a spinal decompression machine session, your healthcare provider will conduct an initial evaluation to assess your overall health and determine if you are a suitable candidate. They will also take a detailed medical history and perform a physical examination. It’s to identify the back condition causing your ache.


Once cleared for a spinal decompression machine session, you will lie on a table. A harness will be around your pelvis and chest to secure you in place during the treatment.


The traction table will then be on, applying a gentle stretching force to your back. Your healthcare provider will determine the amount of force and the duration of the traction based on your specific condition and treatment goals.


During the traction phase, you will be encouraged to relax and breathe deeply to help your muscles and joints loosen up. You may also get headphones or music to help you relax further.


A typical spinal decompression machine session lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. The number of sessions required will vary depending on the severity of your condition and how well you respond to the treatment.

Post-treatment Care

After the chiropractic decompression traction is completed, you may receive additional therapies, such as ice or heat therapy, to help reduce discomfort or inflammation. Your healthcare provider may also recommend specific exercises or stretches. It’s to help improve the effectiveness of the treatment. And it prevents future episodes of the condition.


To ensure the session’s effectiveness, your healthcare provider will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and adjust the treatment plan as necessary.


Therapy can offer many benefits, including:

  • Pain relief. It can reduce ache and other back conditions.
  • Non-invasive. Therapy is a non-surgical approach to treating back ache. It does not need any incisions or anesthesia.
  • Short recovery time. Patients can resume their daily activities soon after the session.
  • Safe. Back decompression is generally considered safe, and serious side effects are rare.
  • Customizable. Treatment plans can always be tailored to each patient’s unique needs.
  • Cost-effective. Back decompression is often less expensive than surgery or other invasive treatments.
  • Promotes healing. It increases the flow of oxygen, nutrients, and fluids to the affected area. This can promote healing and improve back health.

What Are the Side Effects of Spinal Decompression?

Back decompression is a non-invasive and generally safe option. While side effects are rare, they can occur in some cases. Here are some of the potential side effects:

  • Muscle soreness. Patients may feel mild muscle soreness or discomfort after the session. It’s particularly in the back or neck muscles. This is temporary and can usually be fixed with ice or heat therapy.
  • Numbness or tingling. Patients may feel numbness or tingling sensations in the legs or arms. It usually happens during chiropractic decompression. The traction force on the back nerves usually causes this. And it typically subsides once the treatment is done.
  • Headache. Some patients may feel a mild headache after the treatment. The changes in blood flow and tension within the back usually cause it. This is typically temporary. And it can usually be treated with over-the-counter ache medication.

In rare cases, back decompression can cause more serious side effects. Those are vertebral cord injuries or herniated discs. But these complications are extremely rare. And they only occur in patients who have:

  • Pre-existing back conditions.
  • Undergone previous backbone surgeries.

Patients with osteoporosis or pregnancy should avoid back decompression. It may exacerbate their symptoms or cause further damage to their back.

As a result, always discuss any potential risks of back decompression with healthcare providers. Do it before starting treatment. Your provider will check your medical history. And they will perform a physical examination. It’s to determine if you are a suitable candidate for the treatment.


Spine decompression therapy is effective in treating a range of conditions. Those cause vertebral traction. It includes herniated or bulging discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, and backbone stenosis. It is a non-invasive and safe alternative to surgery. When other treatments have failed to provide relief, spine decompression therapy offers an effective solution to promote proper spine alignment and alleviate symptoms.


Is it good to decompress your spine?

Yes, it can be beneficial in relieving pain caused by spinal compression. Spinal decompression therapy is a non-invasive treatment approach. It involves using traction to stretch the spine and relieve spinal disc and nerve pressure.

Do chiropractors decompress spine?

Yes, chiropractors may use spinal decompression therapy for patients with spinal conditions like:
– Herniated discs.
– Sciatica
– Degenerative disc disease.

How painful is spine decompression?

Spinal decompression therapy is generally a painless procedure. Patients may experience mild muscle soreness or discomfort after the treatment. It’s particularly in the back or neck muscles. But this is usually temporary and can be usually treated with ice or heat therapy.

How long does it take to see results from spinal decompression therapy?

Patients may feel relief from pain and other symptoms after the first few sessions. But the number of sessions required and the time it takes to achieve optimal results will vary. It depends on the severity of the condition and the patient’s response to the treatment.

Are there any specific precautions I should take after spinal decompression therapy?

Patients should avoid:
– Strenuous activities.
– Heavy lifting.
– Prolonged sitting or standing immediately after spinal decompression therapy.

Is spinal decompression therapy covered by insurance?

Some insurance plans may cover spinal decompression therapy, but not all. Patients should check with their insurance provider. It’s to determine if the treatment is covered and what their out-of-pocket costs may be.