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How does Spinal Decompression differ from traction?

Spinal traction is a treatment option that is based on the application of a longitudinal force to the axis of the spinal column. In other words, parts of the spinal column are pulled in opposite directions. The problem with this type of therapy is that the effects may be offset by muscle spasms. Studies have shown that because of muscle spasms, traction may not decrease disc pressure.

Spinal decompression, meanwhile, uses a computerized program with specific times and weights used for each individual. Most importantly, it uses a procedure called ramping, which slowly introduces the traction effect to the spine. In this manner the procedure can override the body's natural defense mechanism of tightening the muscles in response to the external pulling. This causes a wider spacing of the vertebral discs, which in turn creates a negative pressure (decompression) on this area. Bulging disc material can actually be pulled back underneath the vertebra and off the spinal cord or nerves they are irritating. Degenerative discs that have lost their height can be opened up creating increased movement and decreased nerve pressure.