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  • Dr. James Fonner

Understanding Neck Decompression Therapy

Neck strain can often lead to debilitating pain. There are various treatment methods for neck pain, and one of them is neck decompression. This non-invasion method is useful in relieving pain in the lower back and neck, and the cause of this may be nerve compression. This article discusses information on what cervical or neck decompression is, how it is conducted, and what its effect is.

What is neck decompression?

What Is Neck Decompression?

Cervical, neck decompression, or spinal decompression is a non-surgical method used to relieve pain in the neck and the lower back. The general process requires a machine or device to gently and slowly stretch the spine. Spinal decompression can relieve some of the pressure on the compressed nerve root, relieving pain.

The spinal decompression therapy motion leads to any herniated discs that are bulging or deteriorating to retract. This eliminates the disc pressure on the nerves. With repeated application, there can be positive results, and a persistent condition can be alleviated successfully.

The Spinal Cord and Neck Pain

A compressed nerve root is the result of irritation or pinching of the spinal cord nerve roots. Nerve roots are the parts of the nerves branching out of the spinal cord. The pinching action by the disc material in the spine on the nerves can cause pain commonly referred to as Sciatica. Each time the nerve in the lower back is compressed by the pressure from the spine's disc material, the pain extends into the backside, legs, and even down to the foot area. When the disc material compresses a nerve in the neck in that area of the spine, the symptoms may be experienced down the arm, instead.

The most common symptoms of a compressed nerve include tingling, numbness, or a prickling sensation, making it difficult to move freely.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

Cervical strain is a widespread problem that can be minor or severe, short-lived or prolonged. Injuries from sporting activities and car accidents and strains from poor posture are some of the most common cervical pain origins. Besides pain, other symptoms of this condition include headaches, muscle spasms, nuchal rigidity, weakness and stiffness of the arms, and difficulties sleeping. It can even be difficult to move from place to place. Depending on the severity of the issue, various methods of treatment can be employed. The symptoms vary from person to person.

Less Common Origins

Other less common causes of a cervical strain include heart attack, meningitis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis, and any other injury and related cause of a herniated cervical disk.

The anatomy of the neck

Anatomy of the Neck

To better understand how neck pain occurs and how it is treated, it is useful to look at the anatomy of the body's related parts. The neck is composed of vertebrae. These vertebrae extend from the skull to the upper part of the torso.

Between the bones or vertebrae, there are cervical discs. Each disc is part of a system that absorbs any shock between the bones. Shock may result from any sudden external motion, which could originate from an accident or other sudden injury.

The main parts of the next that allow it to do a great job in its function of supporting the head are the bones or vertebrae, the ligaments or soft tissues, and the muscles. When any of these and the associated nerves are injured or inflamed, the most common symptoms that one may experience are related to pain, stiffness, numbness of the arm muscles, and tingling of the arm.

Common Treatment Methods

There is more than one way to treat this pain. Medication, stretching, massages, proper sleeping positions, and ice and heat packs can be useful for patients, depending on what the doctor recommends and how severe the neck pain is. Information on all of these is available.

Neck decompression or cervical decompression is another method to relieve pain, explored in more depth in the next few sections. This information may be useful when deciding on their health and the best possible treatment for this condition.

What Is the Procedure in Cervical Decompression?

Spinal decompression involves gently stretching the spinal cord to reduce pressure and relieve pain. The procedure may take different forms and may be done at a medical professional or home.

During cervical decompression therapy, a medical professional can help patients to relieve the pressure. They can use some equipment.

Manual Method

When the manual treatment is conducted at the doctor's office, the patient must lie down. The doctor then pulls their head gently away from the neck. They must hold this position for some time. After holding, the doctor releases the grip and then repeats the process. To get the best outcome, the health professional may adjust the patient's position during the session.

Mechanical Method

The physical therapist can also use the mechanical method. In this method, they use a harness attached to the neck. A machine with a weight system connects to the harness. Some force is then applied to pull the head away from the spine and the neck.

Do Neck Traction Devices Really Work?

Cervical decompression can be carried out at home using a mechanical device. Care must be taken when using this method because the spinal cord is a sensitive part of the body, making the condition worse. It may be much wiser to travel to a medical office to be examined by a doctor and get more information about their condition and symptoms. If the doctor gives the go-ahead to use home remedies like a traction device, they can go ahead.

This method is a popular way to treat cervical strain. The way it works is as follows: the device pulls the head away from the neck. This can cause an expansion and removes the pressure that the patients may be experiencing.

Several studies have shown that mechanical traction is an effective method of treating neck pain and pinched nerve problems. It was found that this method yields better results than only doing exercises and stretches.

There are many different devices available, so one must look into the medical information. This is the case, especially when the neck pain is more severe. Doing the procedure the wrong way can make the problem even worse and lead to greater symptoms and discomfort in different parts of the body.

Over-The-Door Mechanism

Among the more common traction methods for home use is an over-the-door model. A harness is attached to the body, and this rope is controlled by a pulley system suspended over the door. One may make use of this method while they are lying down or sitting up. To find out how to use this the right way, please refer to the product information and consult a medical professional. It is simple to try and use this method, and it can help relieve the pressure that leads to cervical strain and numbness over time.

This spinal decompression method does not eliminate the health problems and symptoms at once. It is a useful and good alternative to a surgical method of reducing the pressure in the spinal cord. Many patients prefer to avoid spinal surgery as much as possible because there may be complications involved. Instead, a physical therapy method like this that anyone can use at home is a good alternative. In the next section, the length of the health treatment is looked at.

How Long Does Spinal Decompression Take?

Cervical or spinal decompression therapy is not a one-time procedure. It requires several sessions to eliminate the symptoms, and these are spaced out over several weeks.

Using a neck traction device can last between a couple of minutes and 30 minutes. It can be carried out once or twice a week or even a few times a day, depending on the severity of the condition. The right system can be devised to make sure that the patients get the right amount of treatment using this spinal decompression method.

Spinal cord care

Spinal Cord Care

There are various ways for anyone to take better care of their spinal cord and reduce neck pain and other symptoms. These may be applied in any place and space. One easy method to reduce strain in the spine is to watch one's posture. Sitting and standing upright reduces the poor spine posture that is a common cause of neck and arm pain. Using the phone less, carrying weights the right way, and evening out the load on each shoulder are ways to reduce the symptoms of pain, numbness, as well as tingling and eliminate the problem. More information about prevention is available.


Cervical pain can cause serious problems, and the pain that it brings can disturb someone's ability to move, work, travel, sleep, and conduct other day-to-day activities. It often comes with tingling, numbness, and especially pain in the arms and neck. Muscle spasms and headaches are also common symptoms, as well.

Cervical decompression is one of the most used non-surgical methods to treat the condition. It can relieve nerve compression and much of the pain and pressure that patients face. This method works by reducing the pinching and compression of nerves in the spinal cord. Once the pressure is eliminated, so is the pain. It takes some time for the numbness, tingling, and pain to disappear. There are also other ways to treating cervical strain, such as medication and gentle exercise. Information is key to getting the best treatment so ask a Columbus chiropractor for answers to your neck decompression questions.

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1 Comment

Jul 15, 2021

I have had 3 sessions of 20 minutes of neck decompression in a medical setting and my neck is feeling much better. But my shoulders and upper back, under the blades are painful and inflamed . I tried heat, massages, muscle cream, but no relief. Why is this?

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