Why Choose Spinal Decompression?

Posted by PHS Chiropractic on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

"My back hurts, Doc." This is one of the most common complaints heard by family doctors. Approximately 25–60% of patients who experience low-back pain (LBP) will report recurrence of pain, many within as little as one year.¹ LBP is the most common cause of work disability in the US.² Many patients on disability for in excess of six months will not return to work, and that number decreases to near zero after two years.³ LBP is also the most expensive reason for work disability in the US.² It has been estimated that 2% of the work force in the US will be compensated for back injuries yearly.³ 


Image via Shutterstock

Structural abnormalities such as disc degeneration or disc herniation as well as resultant biochemical effects such as inflammation can be the cause of disc-related pain.¹ According to Jarvik et al., “disc herniation with nerve root compression or irritation is the most common cause of neurologic abnormalities.”² Discogenic and radicular pain syndromes are common and continue to pose challenges to physicians and patients.¹ The DOC Decompression table has been developed to relieve pain while producing a healthy, healing environment for disc bulging, degenerating and herniated discs along with other spine related injuries and conditions.

01_DOC 1
How Decompression Works

According to Dr. Bryan Hawley, DC "Decompression occurs under ideal conditions of traction, where positive pressure in the disc changes to negative pressure, which creates a “suctioning” action drawing fluid back in the disc. This is called the “decompression” window, and a decompression table helps create that environment within the disc so that it can heal itself."

During a typical treatment, the patient lies in a supine position with a knee rest to eliminate pelvic rotation. A chest and shoulder system stabilizes the upper body, while a pelvic harness delivers distraction as the table moves. Each treatment centers on a variety of adjustable, logarithmic ramp-up, hold and release protocols implemented by a computerized system. The DOC Decompression table offers precise, computer-controlled tension and the appropriate disc levels are gently and painlessly distracted to achieve a negative pressure within the disc. The goal of treatment is to lessen pain by creating a decompressive force that reduces herniation, increases intradiscal space, and decreases intradiscal pressure during treatment. The result is non-surgical spinal decompression.


Used consistently over approximately 15 to 25 visits, three days per week, patients see results that last when combined with adjunctive therapies such as specific core strengthening exercises.

Working the Angles

Decompression provides chiropractors with another tool that’s designed specifically to treat mechanical problems in the muscles, joints or discs of the back or neck through modifications in the angle of distraction, position of the spine, and the amount of force applied to target appropriate spinal levels.

While other decompression table models apply pressure to the joints in a linear fashion, PHS Chiropractic’s tables are different. Chiropractic is all about specificity and working with the angles of the vertebral joints. Keeping this in mind, the engineers at Pivotal Health Solutions produced a decompression table that allows for all degrees of angulation along with rotation.

DOC flexion

Photo courtesy of PHS Chiropractic

The DOC Decompression Table allows chiropractors to treat patients in a variety of positions making it one of the most advanced decompression tables on the market. Doctors can treat a wider variety of conditions and more difficult cases with a three-dimensional approach including:

Supine Flexion

Great for patients suffering from conditions where flexion improves symptoms.

Supine Extension

The ideal position for older or heavier patients who can't tolerate prone decompression but benefit from extension with disc herniations or disc bulging.

Doc Table 1

Photo by PHS Chiropractic

Prone Flexion

The ideal position for patients suffering from symptoms of Spinal Stenosis.

Prone Extension

An effective position for younger patients who can tolerate prone positioning for symptoms of disc herniations and disc bulges.

DOC Prone

Photo by PHS Chiropractic

Lateral Flexion

Laterally flexing away from a disc herniation can dramatically help improve disc herniation outcomes. It is also effective for symptoms of antalgic patients.

DOC Lateral Flexion

Photo by PHS Chiropractic


An effective patient position for antalgic patients.


Photo by PHS Chiropractic

Final Analysis

What does this mean for the doctor? Less force on the patient with greater results. Other tables may apply up to 100 lbs. of force, while the DOC Decompression Table by
PHS Chiropractic applies only about 45 to 50 lbs. for the same result. Reduced force also helps prevent what is termed “decompression hangover” or delayed-onset muscle soreness patients may experience the next day if too much pressure is applied too quickly. Less force used during the initial treatment can avoid or dramatically decrease this effect.

Spinal decompression therapy is safe, comfortable, and painless. As decompression therapy becomes better known, patients are likely to look to chiropractors as a source of information, referral or treatment. Knowledge about the technique is a good place to start for those who wish to educate their patients about alternatives to surgery. While all decompression tables offer a linear, one-dimensional pull with the patient in a supine position, the DOC tables offer three-dimensional traction to allow treatment for a wider variety of conditions and more difficult cases. 

Download the DOC ebook


1. Boswell MV, Trescot AM, Datta S, et al. Interventional techniques: evidence-based practice guidelines in the management of chronic spinal pain, Pain Physician, 2007;10(1):7–111.

2. Jarvik JG, Deyo RA, Diagnostic evaluation of low back pain with emphasis on imaging, Ann Intern Med, 2002;137(7):586–97.

3. Andersson GB, Epidemiological features of chronic low back pain, Lancet, 1999;354:581–5.

Read the entire case report titled "Management of Discogenic Low-back Pain with a Non-surgical Decompression System — case report" by Joe Pergolizzi, MD,¹ Terry Yochum, DC, DACBR, ² Frank Florio, DC,³ Charlotte Richmond, PhD 4 and Brian S McCain, DC 5.

1. Adjunct Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
2. Director, Rocky Mountain Chiropractic Radiological Center 
3. Director of Clinical Research, Axiom Worldwide, LLC 
4. Director of Clinical Research, NEMA Research Inc, Miami Beach 
5. Chief Administrator, Back in Action Spine and Health Centers

Tags: spinal decompression, doc decompression, decompression

About Author

PHS Chiropractic

In the chiropractic field, flexibility is the name of the game. It’s our mantra too. Since we launched in 2005, PHS Chiropractic has become a leader in beautifully designed, customizable chiropractic tables and accessories. We design our base tables to be feature-rich, meeting the needs of the student or new practitioner. Yet as you grow your practice, our tables grow with you: We’ve dreamed up every possible feature, from drops to elevating heights to adjustable head pieces—all easily added to your existing table to broaden your options. It’s all part of the thought and care that we put into each and every PHS Chiropractic product. Made right here in the Midwest at our plant in Watertown, South Dakota, our products reflect our strong values: high quality, integrity, creativity and innovation. The result is a rich line of chiropractic tables and accessories—from our groundbreaking Tradeflex series to our patented ErgoStyle drops—all offering a high level of design expertise, patented features and great value that give you the tools you need to build a successful practice.