Frequently Asked Questions | VAX-D
Q: What is spinal decompression therapy and how does it work?
A: Spinal decompression therapy is a medical technology that gently stretches the spine and decompresses discs. The injured disc is located and gently pulled, creating a vacuum, which allows the disc to be "pulled back in," taking the pressure off the nerve. The pressure in a spinal disc can be as high as +180 mm of mercury during many common daily activities. Spinal decompression therapy treatment is able to reduce the pressure in the disc down to -200 mm of mercury, allowing fluids and nutrients to re-enter the disc, thus reducing swelling and relieving the pressure on irritated or pinched nerves.
Q: What conditions does spinal decompression therapy treat?
A: Specific conditions include: low back pain, neck pain, disc bulge, disc herniation, sciatica, referred arm pain, degenerative disc disease, spinal facet syndrome, spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, disc extrusions and failed back and neck surgeries.
Q: Are there any reasons I can't receive spinal decompression therapy?
A: There are a few individuals that can't take advantage of this treatment. These people have conditions such as spinal tumors, spinal fractures, advanced osteoporosis, pregnancy, or certain diseases that compromise the strength of the spine and discs.
Q: How much does it cost?
A: Nationwide, the average patient's out-of-pocket cost for Spinal Decompression Therapy is $4,000 to $6,000. However, no other office that we are aware of accepts insurance as we do, thus our cost is always much less. Any patient expense depends on the number of treatments your condition will require and your insurance benefits. We will go over any out-of-pocket expense with you after we have verified your benefits and know how many treatments your condition will require.
Q: Does insurance pay for spinal decompression therapy?
A: Some insurance companies recognize the value of spinal decompression therapy and cover it. Coverage will vary depending on your particular policy. Our insurance department will verify your insurance coverage for you and report to you what the coverage is before any treatment is started.
Q: How many treatments will I need, and how quickly can I expect to feel better?
A: The goal of each session is to remove the pressure from the nerve. This means re-educating the disc and muscles to be in a better position. The number of treatments required depends upon your diagnosis and overall severity of your condition. Treatment recommendations can range from 20-25 treatments. Relief from pain varies with each individual. Some patients begin feeling less pain after just 2-3 treatments. On the average, however, most patients have begun getting results after 2 to 4 weeks of treatments.
Q: What happens on each visit?
A: One treatment session lasts about 60-75 minutes. You will first go to the physical therapy department for specific spinal exercises to rehabilitate your spine. This is followed with spinal decompression therapy to decompress your disc and take the pressure off your spinal nerves. You end by going to electric muscle stimulation and compressed ice to reduce inflammation and soreness. As you can see, this is a very extensive program. It is this program that allows us to be able to help the majority of the patients we treat.
Q: How good are the results and are they permanent?
A: Research has shown spinal decompression therapy to be a very effective treatment for bulging and herniated disks. Typically additional treatments are not required after the completion of the treatment protocol. However, as with any treatment there are always severe cases that involve particular job and lifestyle activities that may require re-evaluations.
Q: Is there any risk doing this type of treatment?
A: No, spinal decompression therapy is safe and comfortable. In fact, most patients say it feels good and some even fall asleep. The system has emergency stop switches for both the patient and the operator. These switches are a requirement of the FDA and terminate the treatment immediately if you do feel uncomfortable.
Q: If I've had back or neck surgery, can I still have spinal decompression therapy?
A: Having back or neck surgery does not prevent you from having spinal decompression therapy unless you have fixed surgical hardware used to fuse the spine. In fact, clinical studies show spinal decompression therapy provides relief for patients who have had one or more surgeries.
Q: What is the difference between traction and spinal decompression therapy?
A: Although traction devices can stretch the spine, they do not have the ability to reduce intradiscal pressure and decompress the discs as spinal decompression therapy can. Traction and inversion tables, at best, can lower the intradiscal pressure from +90 to +30 mm of mercury. Spinal decompression therapy can reduce intradiscal pressure up to -200 mm of mercury, allowing nutrients to flow back into the disc and the body's natural fibroblastic response to heal the injury and re-hydrate the disc. Traction cannot target a specific disc as spinal decompression therapy can and traction causes painful muscle spasms. Spinal decompression therapy avoids this by pulling on a logarithmic curve.