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Research Studies

Effects of Vertebral Axial Decompression on Intradiscal Pressure
Journal of Neurosurgery 1994

G. Ramos MD, W Martin MD ; Journal of Neurosurgery 1994


The object of the study was to examine the effect of vertebral axial decompression on pressure in the nucleus pulposus of lumbar discs. Intradiscal pressure measurement was performed by connecting a cannula inserted in to the patients L4/L5 disc space to a pressure transducer. Changes in intradiscal pressure were recorded at resting state and while controlled tension was applied by the equipment to a pelvic harness. Intradiscal pressure was decreased in the nucleus to below -100 mm HG.

Outcome Study: Vertebral Axial Decompression Therapy for Pain Associated with Herniated Discs, Degenerated Discs, or Facet Syndrome

Gose, et al; Journal of Neurological Research April 1998

Details of Study:

  • Outcomes of decompression therapy for patients with a diagnosis of herniated disc, degenerated disc, or facet syndrome
  • 778 cases studied
  • Average time between the initial onset of symptoms and beginning of this treatment was 40 months.
  • Data was collected from 22 medical centers in the USA.
  • Average number of treatments: 17 facet syndrome, 19 disc degeneration and 20 HNP
  • Pain was rated on a scale from 0 to 5 with 5 being severe pain.
  • Treatment was considered a success when the original pain was reduced to 0 or 1.

Overall Findings:

Treatment was successful 71% of the time

  • 73% – single herniated discs
  • 72% – multiple herniated discs
  • 68% – facet syndromes
  • 68% – failed back surgery
  • 53% – extruded herniated discs

Prospective Case Series Study:
Protocols for Patients with Activity – Limiting Low Back Pain

Beattie PhD, PT; Nelson PhD, PT; Cammarata DC

Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine February 2008

Details of Study:

  • A total of 296 patients with low back pain and evidence of a degenerative and or herniated disc at 1 or more levels
  • 8 Week course of treatment = 24 sessions:
    • Week 1 – 4: 5 times per week @30 minute sessions
    • Week 5 – 8: 1 time per week @ 30 minute session
  • Numeric pain rating scale and the Roland Morris Disability Questionnaire were completed at pre-intervention, discharge, 30 days, and 180 days.
  • All subjects must have reported a lack of favorable outcomes after at least 2 non-operative interventions.
  • 0 – 10 Pain Scale, 0 – 24 scale Roland Morris
  • The majority of the patients, 79%, reported their symptoms of LBP were present for greater than 6 months (Chronic)

Mean Pain Index Score

  • Pre-intervention = 7.3
  • Discharge = 5.0
  • 30 Days = 4.7
  • 180 Days = 4.3

RMDQ Score

  • Pre-intervention = 12.6
  • Discharge = 7.0
  • 30 Days = 6.0
  • 180 Days = 5.7

Decompression Reduces Chronic Back Pain: 4 Year Study

R. Odell MD, D. Boudreau DO, Anesthesiology News March 2003

Research Findings:

  • 91% – resumed normal daily activities
  • 87% – working or retired without back pain
  • 71% – showed over 50% reduction in pain immediately after treatment
  • 86% – showed 50% or better pain reduction at four years
  • 52% – pain level of zero


After 4 years, 52% of respondents reported a pain level of zero. Thus, pain relief is not only lasted but improved.”– R. Odell, MD

Disc Distraction Shows Evidence of Regenerative Potential in Degenerated Intervertebral Discs, SPINE 2006

Thorsten Guehring, MD, et al; Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Germany SPINE Volume 31, Number 15, 2006


Disc repair fundamentally depends on the stage of disc degeneration. This study with respect to previous reports, confirms that disc distraction enhances hydration in the degenerated disc and may improve disc nutrition via the vertebral endplates.

Long Term Effect Analysis of IDD Therapy in Low Back Pain:

A Retrospective Clinical Pilot Study

Norman Shealy, MD, Phd, American Journal of Pain Management, Vol.7 No. 2, April 1997

Research Findings:

  • Decompression treatment rendered “good” to “excellent” relief in 86% of patients with herniated discs and 75% in patients with facet arthrosis.
  • Traction yielded no “excellent” results in patients with herniated discs and only 50% “good” to “excellent” results with patients who were diagnosed with facet arthrosis

Traction vs. Decompression

Weber H., Traction therapy in sciatica. J Oslo City Hosp. 1973;23(10):167-176

Research Findings:

  • Patients treated with traction compared to a control group that had simulated traction demonstrated no significant differences in outcome.
  • Traditional traction does not produce spinal decompression

Decompression has been proven as an effective treatment for herniated and degenerative disc disease, by creating a negative intradiscal pressure