Spinal Decompression Therapy Risks: How Chiropractic Care Helps

Woman receiving Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal Decompression Therapy Risks: How Chiropractic Care Helps

Back pain can be overwhelming: it can take over your thoughts completely and steal precious time that you could spend doing activities you enjoy with the people you love. Team Chiropractic & Sports Medicine, P.A.’s core mission is to ensure all of their patients can live a life free from the distraction of back, disc, and joint pain. Spinal decompression therapy is one of many services we offer to help our patients get back to a great place. Wondering if spinal decompression therapy could be right for you? Read on to learn more from our back pain experts.

Can a Chiropractor Decompress Your Spine?

Yes, a chiropractor can decompress your spine. This is accomplished through spinal decompression therapy, a type of FDA-approved nonsurgical treatment involving motorized traction offering relief of back and neck pain, and even arm, leg, and other pains related to or caused by degenerated or damaged disks. The therapy works by gently stretching the spine to change its force and position. The goal is to remove pressure from the body’s soft spinal disks, the gel-like areas that serve as cushions for the bones in your spine.

Can Spinal Decompression Therapy Cause Damage?

As with any therapeutic method, there are ideal and non-ideal candidates for spinal decompression therapy. If you are pregnant or have a fracture, tumor, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, advanced osteoporosis, or metal implants in your spine, you may not be a candidate for spinal decompression therapy.

It is rare for spinal decompression therapy to cause damage to a patient. Your doctor will work with you to ensure you are a good candidate for the therapy before you undertake your first spinal decompression session.

What are the risks associated with spinal decompression therapy?

Like all approaches to the treatment of back and neck pain, there are risks involved with spinal decompression pain. In some cases, patients may not see much improvement in their back pain. In the worst (and rare) cases, side effects such as infection, bleeding, blood clots, and nerve damage can occur.

Careful care is required with any spinal treatment, including decompression therapy. Any treatment occurring in close proximity to a patient’s spinal cord requires expert analysis. In rare cases, nerve and tissue damage have been reported, including tears in the membrane covering the spinal cord and nerve root. If this occurs, a cerebrospinal fluid leak could follow, leading to neurological impact, such as the partial loss of sensory or motor function.

As previously mentioned, patients with metal screws or rods in place to stabilize the spine or fuse vertebrae may not be ideal candidates for spinal decompression therapy. In some cases, patients with metal spinal implants are at greater risk for infection or fractured vertebrae.

This is why it is absolutely crucial for patients experiencing back and neck pain to only work with trusted and experienced chiropractors. An experienced chiropractor can properly determine if you are a candidate for spinal decompression therapy. Your chiropractor can also work with you to monitor your complete course of care throughout your healing process.

Is Spinal Decompression Therapy Effective?

Yes, spinal decompression therapy is very effective—for the right patient. Spinal decompression therapy is particularly helpful for those with the following conditions:

  • bulging disks,
  • herniated disks,
  • spinal stenosis,
  • sciatica,
  • facet syndrome,
  • injured or diseased spinal nerve roots,
  • spondylosis,
  • or those suffering from symptoms of a failed spinal surgery in the neck or low back.

After spinal decompression therapy, your spinal discs (especially bulging or herniated disks) can retract and remove pressure from the nerves and other parts of your spine. In turn, your body will ideally benefit from an increased flow of oxygen, water, and nutrients into your disks, promoting healing in the disks and spine.

Is Spinal Decompression Painful?

No, spinal decompression is not painful. Treatment sessions typically are short, lasting between 30 and 45 minutes. It is extremely rare for patients to report any pain during treatments. Rather, patients will feel a stretch in their spine that feels relieving to most. In fact, many people will even fall asleep due to the relaxing nature of the therapy.

If a patient does begin to experience pain during their spinal decompression therapy sessions, the cause of the pain could very well be a separate, underlying, and undiscovered condition. If this occurs, therapy will cease until the condition is treated separately. Though extremely rare, your chiropractor will work with you to determine any source of pain you may feel during treatment.

How Quickly Can I Expect Results?

Patients very often feel a noticeable difference in their pain in just a few sessions of spinal decompression therapy. The number of sessions needed in conjunction with your specific treatment plan will be determined by your doctor. However, to reduce inflammation and assist the healing process, it is imperative to continue chiropractic adjustments by one of our chiropractors in congruence with the sessions. Your chiropractor may recommend a specialized course of care that includes other treatment options that will complement your spinal decompression therapy.

Your Local Chiropractic Experts:

Suffering from joint, back, and neck pain, or poor posture? Team Chiropractic & Sports Medicine, P.A. has got you covered throughout the Triangle. We’re the home of evidence-based spinal reengineering and chiropractic sports medicine. We also serve Chapel Hill, Research Triangle Park, Durham, Raleigh, Clayton, and surrounding areas in North Carolina. We have over 50 years of combined experience serving you, and we have even worked as the Wolfpack’s chiropractic and sports medicine consultant.

If you’re looking for acupuncture treatment in the greater Triangle area, we are here to help! Contact us online today or give us a call at 919-788-8881 to schedule your initial appointment and x-ray at either of our Triangle locations. We look forward to helping restore your health!


Raleigh Office

309 West Millbrook Road
Suite 199
Raleigh, NC 27609


Monday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3PM–6PM
Tuesday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3PM–6PM
Wednesday: 7:30AM–12PM
Thursday: 7:30–12PM & 3PM–6PM
Friday: 7:30AM–12PM
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

Wakefield Office

12740 Spruce Tree Way
Suite 103
Raleigh, NC 27614


Monday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3:30–5:45PM
Tuesday: 7:30AM–12PM
Wednesday: 7:30AM–12PM & 3:30–5:45PM
Thursday: 3:30–5:45PM
Friday: 7:30AM–12PM
Saturday & Sunday: Closed

$47 New Patient Coupon