What is Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression (NSSD) Therapy Used For?

Those who are suffering from chronic back pain and other related symptoms can attest how disruptive and debilitating the condition can be. Many of those who have back pain report they can think of little else except for finding relief for the pain.

Fortunately, nowadays, you can always rely on your chiropractor to provide effective and lasting relief for back pain. One of the primary treatment options chiropractors use to treat back pain is nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy.

Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression Therapy

The spinal column has 23 vertebral disks. These jelly-like cushions are situated between the bones in the spine. During nonsurgical decompression therapy, the spine is gently stretched. The vertebral disks are also pulled apart.

Nonsurgical spinal decompression is a type of motorised traction that can help relieve back pain. It works by gently stretching the spine. The gentle stretching can change the position and force of the spine.

The change will create negative pressure in the spinal disks and take the pressure off of it. As a result, herniated or bulging disks may retract and take pressure off the nerves and other structures in the spine. This also helps promote the movement of oxygen, water, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks to help them heal.


Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy is used to treat the following:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Sciatica (tingling, pain, and weakness that extends down the leg)
  • Herniated or bulging disks
  • Degenerative disk disease
  • Posterior facet syndrome (worn spinal joints)
  • Diseased or injured spinal nerve roots
  • Pinched or compressed nerves

How Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression is Done

The doctor will fit the patient with a harness around the pelvis and another one on the trunk. Patient will lie face up or face down on a computer-controlled table. The doctor will operate the computer and tailor the treatment to the specific needs of the patient.

Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy can last from 30 to 45 minutes. Typically, 20 to 28 treatments spread over 5 to 7 weeks is needed. However, your doctor will determine the duration of the treatment depending on the severity of the injury.

Many patients who have tried the procedure reported it was a very relaxing experience.  Some patients even report falling asleep during the procedure.

Depending on the extent of the injury, other treatment alternatives may be recommended to complement the treatment and facilitate the healing process. For instance:

  • Ultrasound (using sound waves to generate heat and promote healing)
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Cold or heat therapy
  • Exercises (may also be recommended to help increase mobility and flexibility and strengthen injured areas)

While considered very effective, nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy is not considered the ideal treatment option for everyone. Check with your doctor if you are a good candidate for the treatment.

For starters, nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy is not ideal for pregnant women. People with the following conditions are also not advised to have nonsurgical decompression therapy:

  • Tumor
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Fracture
  • Advanced osteoporosis

Metal implants in the spine

About Author