A patient on spinal decompression therapy developed by Chattanooga Corporation in conjunction with research performed by Dr. Finkle



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Contact Dr. Finkle


Phone: (928)  680-1123

Mechanical Spinal DECOMPRESSIOM Thearpy

Text Box: Decompression therapy has been used to treat the following types of complaints

Chronic low back pain
Disk Herniations
Low back pain radiating into the leg
Decrease range of motion 
Difficulty bending
Difficulty sitting for long periods of time
Weakness in the lower legs
Numbness in the lower legs
Chronic neck pain
Hands and for arm going to sleep
Pinched Nerves
Facet Syndrome
Diffuse Cervical Bulge

Response to therapy varies from patient to patient

Dr. Finkle in the 80s was the director of a  research program in conjunction with Los Angeles College of Chiropractic and Chattanooga Corporation in the areas of traction and spinal decompression therapy. 


Research publication, Clinical studiesPaper (s)    Published research      


The term mechanical spinal decompression therapy came  from Dr. Finkle’s research. It was being compared in contrast to surgical spinal decompression therapy. ( back surgery)


Mechanical versus Surgical…  Disk Decompression Therapy


Initial clinical studies seem to indicate that the procedure was actually reducing the size of the disk pathology. Clinically, for many patients there is a substantial reduction of pain, and a marked increase in range of motion, thereby leading to increased ability to perform activities of daily living .


An Additional Theory is that the ligament structures secondarily to bleeding create adhesions. This leads to fixations of the spine. The therapy when properly introduced can reduce or removes these fixations. This results in a decreased inflammatory and decreased pain cycle. With proper exercise and follow-up care the patient gains back to some degree their range of motion and mechanical function abilities.

Decompression therapy is not for everyone, it does not cure all back problems, but for those patients who fall into the appropriate categories, clinically we have seen good result, these results vary from patient to patient.

A thorough examination/consultation is needed to properly evaluate each patient before introducing decompression therapy.



Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression is used primarily to treat disc injuries in the neck and in the low back. This treatment option is  safe and utilizes FDA approved equipment to apply distraction forces to spinal structures in a precise and graduated manner.


Distraction is offset by cycles of partial relaxation. This technique of spinal decompression therapy, that is, unloading due to distraction and positioning, has shown the ability to gently separate the vertebrae from each other,  is also known as negative intra-discal pressure.

The negative pressure may induce the retraction of the herniated or bulging disc into the inside of the disc, and off the nerve root, thecal sac, or both to some degree. 

The cycles of decompression and partial relaxation, over a series of visits, promote the diffusion of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids from the outside of the discs to the inside. These nutrients enable the torn and degenerated disc fibers to begin to heal. In addition, the repetitive stretching and relaxation with increased tractional force, combined with flexion extension movement, helps break up any adhesions in the ligament  structures of the spine (caused by subsequent bleeding of the structures from the original insult/trauma/injury to the spine). Once again it’s important to realize that these ideas are theories, that no formal studies have been performed to validate or invalidate these theories/concepts. However, clinically the results have been validated by a number of patients in a variety of physicians performing the procedure.


Description of procedure


For the low back, the patient lies comfortably on his/her back  on the decompression table, with a set of nicely padded straps snug around the waist and another set around the lower chest. For the neck, the patient lies comfortably on his/her back with a pair of soft  pads behind the neck. Many patients enjoy the treatment, as it is usually quite comfortable and well tolerated. A device then creates a tractional pull ( from head to toe, for lumbar) and a secondary device creates flexion an extension in the spine. The amount of pull is gradually increased as well as the degree of flexion and extension. The procedure should cause no discomfort. In many  patients symptomology is temporarily reduced during therapy. Following your first couple of visits there may be some generalized stiffness of muscles and joints, but this usually subsides within a couple of therapy. There should not be an increase in your original primary complaint.


Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression is  effective at treating bulging discs, herniated discs, pinched nerves, sciatica, radiating arm pain, degenerative disc disease, leg pain, and facet syndromes.

Proper patient screening is imperative and some candidates are accepted for care.