This approach is a higher-technology variation on a simpler method, inversion therapy, which involves a kind of treatment table that, by anchoring the user's ankles and turning upside down, uses gravity to separate vertebrae.
Both methods are variations on traction, again, using mechanical force to separate vertebrae.
The premise of all three methods, spinal decompression therapy, inversion therapy, and traction, is that vertebrae are too close together and need separation.
That premise is good as far as it goes -- but let's look deeper. Why do vertebrae get too close together?
|Cervical Spinal Decompression X-Ray|
Understand that vertebrae are linked together not only by discs and ligaments, but by muscles that control spinal alignment. When those muscles tighten, vertebral alignment changes; twists, curvature changes, and compression of neighboring vertebrae result. Muscles pull vertebrae closer together; the discs push the vertebrae apart.
Muscle tightness of this sort is supposed to be intermittent and temporary, as required by the demands of movement and lifting; muscles are supposed to relax (decrease their resting tone) when these demands end. However, when, for reasons related to injury and stress, this tightness becomes habituated (i.e., quasi-permanent), problems (i.e., back pain) result: nerve root compression, bulging discs, facet joint irritation, and muscle fatigue (soreness) and spasm.
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