No matter how old you are or what you do for a living, there’s a good chance you’ll experience back pain at one time or another. Back pain is one of the most common afflictions that people struggle with, both in the US and around the world. According to Georgetown University, nearly 65 million Americans have struggled with back pain, while 16 million of them have chronic pain. 


As a result, chiropractors and other medical professionals are constantly looking for ways to combat the back pain epidemic. Spinal decompression is one of the best ways to treat back pain. Although not a new concept, new methods and types of spinal decompression are constantly being developed. 


Back pain can stem from any number of things, including work-related accidents, car accidents, general wear, and tear, or sports injury. No matter what the cause of your back pain is, however, it’s important to seek treatment, often in the form of spinal decompression. 


If you’re curious and want to know more about spinal decompression and how it can help you, you’ve come to the right place. 

What is Spinal Decompression? 

Spinal decompression is a process through which medical practitioners relieve back pain. Many forms of back pain stem from bulging discs or vertebrae, putting unwanted pressure on the nerves in your spine. The goal of spinal decompression is to relieve this pressure, which then takes away your back pain. 


There are many different spinal decompression treatments, but they often get divided into two major categories – surgical and non-surgical. Surgical decompression therapy is where a surgeon performs surgery and manually relieves pressure by separating different parts of your spine. Non-surgical spinal decompression, on the other hand, is when a chiropractor uses exercises or treatments to manually relieve pressure on the spinal nerves. 


In most cases, it’s wise to pursue non-invasive and non-surgical spinal decompression therapies first. If non-surgical remedies don’t do the trick, you may require surgical spinal decompression therapy. 

How Does Spinal Decompression Work? 

Your spine consists of a complex set of vertebrae, disks, ligaments, and nerves. Each of these components works to support your stature and send messages to different parts of your body. Unfortunately, whether because of wear and tear, an accident, or a medical condition, these disks, ligaments, and vertebrae can start to press together and put pressure on your spinal nerves. 


When this happens, it results in unwanted back pain. If you leave the condition untreated, your back pain can turn into a chronic condition. Therefore, it’s important to seek treatments, such as spinal decompression therapy. 


Spinal decompression therapy is a process where a chiropractor or physical therapist attempts to manually relieve pressure on the spinal nerve. They use many different treatments to do this, but traction is one of the most common. 


Traction is where a medical practitioner stretches the spine to open up the space between your disks and vertebrae. Opening up this space relieves pressure on your spinal nerve and helps ease your back pain. Traction, and other forms of spinal decompression, can also help relieve pressure from a bulging disk or when two vertebrae are rubbing together. 


Pressure or compression in the spine can also prevent nutrients and other supplements from getting to different parts of your spine. By opening up these spaces between the disks and vertebrae, nutrients can once again get to where they need to go. 

Conditions That Spinal Decompression Can Treat

Because of how it works, spinal decompression can help treat a number of conditions that result in back pain. Here are some of the most common. 


  • Pinched nerves 
  • Bulging disks 
  • Degenerative disk disease 
  • Degenerative joint disease 
  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Herniated disks 
  • Sciatica 


The common thread between each of these conditions is that they put pressure on the vertebrae, nerves, and disks in the spinal cord. As a result, they cause unwanted back pain that can vary from temporary and mild to chronic and severe. 


In addition to pain, spinal pressure can also cause numbness and tingling in various parts of your body. Because your spinal nerves travel to every part of your body, this numbness and tingling can affect your arms, legs, fingers, toes, and other extremities. 

Different Types of Spinal Decompression

Depending on the nature and severity of your back pain, there are several different types of spinal decompression therapy. However, they’re all classified as either surgical or non-surgical. 

Non-Surgical Decompression Therapy

Here are some of the most common forms of non-surgical decompression therapy. 




As previously mentioned, traction is one of the most common types of spinal decompression therapy. Traction is where a physical therapist or chiropractor manually manipulates your spinal cord to open up space between your disks and vertebrae to relieve spinal pressure. 


Physical Therapy 


Physical therapists can perform traction therapy. However, they can also help strengthen the muscles around your spinal column and stretch your back to relieve pressure. 


Nerve Stimulation 


In situations where your spinal compression stems from back muscles that are in a state of constant tension, nerve stimulation can provide relief. 


Chiropractic Care 


In addition to traction and stretching, chiropractors can also adjust and realign your spine to relieve spinal pressure. In so doing, they will also take away your back pain. 

Surgical Decompression Therapy 

If non-surgical decompression therapy doesn’t do the trick, you may require surgical spinal decompression. Here are some of the most common types. 




A corpectomy is where a surgeon removes one of your disks or vertebrae to provide more space for your spine. 




If you have a bulging disk where part of the disk is pressing against a spinal nerve, a discectomy is necessary to remove part of the disk. 




Lamina are small bony arches along your spinal canal. A laminectomy removes one or more of these arches if they are putting pressure on your spinal nerves. 


Osteophyte removal 


If you have bone spurs putting pressure on your spinal nerves, osteophyte removal may be necessary. 




Foramen are small openings through which your spinal nerves travel. Over time, these foramen can close and put pressure on your nerves. A foraminectomy will once again open up these spaces and relieve spinal pressure. 


It’s important to seek non-surgical spinal decompression remedies when you have back pain. If non-surgical spinal decompression is ineffective, surgical spinal decompression may be necessary. 


At Stanlick Chiropractic in Northern Kentucky, we specialize in non-surgical spinal decompression to relieve neck and back pain. We give you the best chance to put an end to your spinal pain without requiring intensive surgery. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation and get started on the road to recovery!