Back-to-Back: Patients share tips on experiences with spinal decompression

Read our peer-reviewed article about spinal decompression:

All About Spinal Decompression Therapy

Want to know more about spinal decompression from those who have been affected most? In our Back-to-Back section, patients share tips and advice about using non-surgical spinal decompression to treat their back problems. Please read our Back-to-Back pages or visit our message boards to discuss spinal decompression, including the different types of chiropractic equipment used for this treatment.

You get what you pay for with spinal decompression therapy

I am a doctor of chiropractic who has been doing non-surgical spinal decompression for a long time and have had outstanding results. My suggestion for patients looking to do this is to look for a doctor, specifically a chiropractor who already a deals with spinal related injuries and who does this primarily. Also, the treatment should adhere to the research that has been done specifically on spinal decompression, not what the inexperienced doctor "thinks". The research done by C. Norman Sheally, MD, PhD was performed on many patients and over a broad range of treatment plans-some at 5 treatments and some up to 50 treatments. The bottom line is that it takes at least 20 treatments for a disc that is injured to heal.


I have had some patients see results after 1 treatment and others who didn't see a lot of results until all the treatments where over, but in every case they finished the required visits needed for success. Also, you have to do core strengthening to strengthen the muscles holding up the spine. Besides the spine, the only thing holding the torso and lower body together is muscles! They must be strengthened to take the pressure off the spine. Another thing to realize is that healing not only takes place during treatment, it also continues long after the decompression has successfully reversed the pressure inside the disc. I have had several patients who had their symptoms fluctuate up and down only to have them completely disappear a month after the treatment was over. Be smart and the old saying is true, "you get what you pay for!"

From: Someone to Trust – Texas, USA


Spinal decompression did not help my pain from DDD

Suffered many years of lower back pain. Was a competitive gymnast, physical fitness instructor etc. Diagnosed 2 yrs. ago with degenerative disc disease.L5-S1 so severe causing pain always on my left buttock and left leg. Left drop foot for 6 months. No nerve damage but slight atrophy in left leg. Saw an Orthopedic Dr. Did physical therapy, McKenzie exercises, given NSAID's and nothing worked. Contemplated surgery but opted to give DRX9000 treatments a try. Chiropractor said I was perfect candidate. Paid $3500 up front for 20 sessions but continued for 43 sessions and chiropractic treatments as needed. DRX9000 DID NOT HELP, very sore always afterwards and chiropractor manipulated spine to where now I have pain, tenderness in the middle to upper part of my spine and am very unstable when standing or walking with nerve pain on my RIGHT hip groin area! Saw a Neurosurgeon who suggested ALIF for L5-S1. MRI showed nothing wrong with middle upper spine but I have to wonder what the Chiropractor did to me? Everyone's different. Spinal decompression was unsuccessful for me!

From: Romana – Florida, USA

Spinal decompression therapy works best as one part of treatment

The machines are not magic wands. But, they can be highly effective for the right patients. Sure, someone may seem like a perfect candidate and it still does not help them. But, this is the exception, not the rule. If the DRX9000 spinal decompression is done in conjunction with other therapies and lifestyle modifications (diet, meditation, yoga) it may help the outcome. It is best to go to a spinal decompression doctor that has lots of experience and has patients you can talk to that have gone through the program. It's not all about price. Like anything else, you get what you pay for.

From: Dr. Davis - California, USA

Chiropractor warns against overpricing for spinal decompression

Hello, I am a chiropractor who is fairly new to spinal decompression. I have used it with great success on a number of patients, but then again I have a couple of patients that did not benefit. The first thing I would say to someone considering decompression is do not fall into these long treatment plans with a price tag of over $4000. I typically charge under $2000 for treatment and a lot of times my patients do not need 20 visits. They may only need 10 or 15 with a price tag of about $1000-$1500. Just remember everyone is different and what works for one person doesn't mean it will work for the next and doesn't mean the next person has the same kind of problem. Be cautious when you start to notice increased pain and with doctors that use numbers to impress you.

From: Dr. John – Massachusetts, USA

Pricing is confusing for decompression therapy

I am confused about pricing for decompression therapy. I have a bulging disc at C3-4 (also
slipped) and C6-7. Decompression looks like the way to go if using a American Spinal Decompression Assoc qualifed dr with the latest advanced technology, ie the DRX. I was given a price of 5,200 after my insurance's portion of 2,500, but now I am feeling anxious about costs and not being taken advantage of...... how do we determine the best cost and what qualifies one dr to charge higher pricing versus the next??

From: Navigator - Massachusetts, USA

Decompression treatments left me worse off

I walked into the chiropractor's office and told him I had some pain in my lower back, which turned out to be L4-L5 and S1-S2 are herniated. He told me this treatment would make me feel great and have no pain, as long as I started treatments tonight at a hefty costs of $6,000. Well after I received the 20 treatments I I was in extreme pain, so he increased the weight of the pull and made me not be able to walk without help from someone. Now I have a back in really bad shape and this bill I have to pay. I feel this procedure is a real SCAM!

From: Anonymous – New Jersey, USA

Inversion table helped my recovery from fusion surgery

I also use the Inversion table at least once every day. I find, it really stretches my Spine and decompresses Vertebrae that need Decompressing. I have had an instrumented Fusion S5-L2 as well as having DDD in my cervical spine. The Inversion Table helped tremendously in the Recovery and is a Godsend. I also walk and do light Gardening. I think a good Attitude and listening to your Body is also good Advice.

From: Rosarian – Alberta, Canada

Need advice or want to give some? Communicate with others about decompression therapy

* Note: This page expresses the experiences and opinions of patients, not doctors. The Back-to-Back forum is provided because we think people often have very practical advice and insights to share that can benefit other patients who have similar back problems. This section has not been peer reviewed by our Medical Advisory Board, and is provided for your informational purposes only.

If you have questions about your specific condition or treatment approach, please go through this site to read peer-reviewed health information about spinal conditions, diagnosis and treatment options. The quickest way to locate information on the site is to use the “keyword search” located in the upper left hand corner of each page. Also, if you want to talk online with others who may be in a similar situation, please go to the Message Board.

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