Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Spinal Decompression : Therapy for Back Pain Relief

Sep 02, 2011 02:25PM ● By Beth Davis

At some point in our lives, most of us will experience some sort of back pain. No matter what the cause, it can be a debilitating problem—one that affects our quality of life. Unfortunately for millions of people, dealing with this pain has become the norm. But, according to local Chiropractor, Dr. Thomas Wachtmann, it doesn’t have to be. “You don’t have to live in pain,” he says. “For those who suffer from lower back pain, a pinched nerve, sciatica, neck pain, or other back problems, Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy (or Decompression Therapy) may provide relief.” Decompression Therapy is a gentle, non-surgical therapy that provides relief by gently reducing the pressure within spinal discs. The traction-based procedure uses a computerized decompression unit to slowly and methodically separate the bones of the spine. As the vertebrae are separated, pressure is slowly reduced within the disc, causing a vacuum effect. “You’ll experience several cycles of stretch and relaxation, which graduates to a peak over a period of several minutes,” explains Dr. Wachtmann. This vacuum takes pressure off the nerves and pulls oxygen, fluid and nutrients into the disc to speed healing. This can make a huge difference since the discs get worn down due to stress and injury. A specially designed table is used in which patients can either lie with their face down or up. One’s physical condition, clinical considerations, and comfort are all taken into account to decide which position is best. During the therapy, it is very important that patients be comfortable, therefore they are encouraged to speak up with regard to changing positions. For those patients concerned that Decompression Therapy is painful, Dr. Wachtmann says there is no need to worry. The procedure is designed to actually ensure that the patient is as comfortable as possible. So comfortable, in fact, that many fall asleep during treatment. “This is the first time some have felt relief in a long time, so it can be very relaxing,” he notes. Therapy sessions typically last less than 20 minutes. Although it depends on the complexity and extent of the rehabilitation needed, Dr. Wachtmann typically treats patients three times a week for one month, transitioning from passive to active treatments as the individual responds. While it depends on the individual and their specific back problem, the majority of patients experience less pain after as few as 6-10 treatments, and most patients are released from treatment after eight weeks. He says that it is important to remember, however, that pain subsiding does not necessarily mean the discs and spine are completely healed, so it’s critical that patients follow through with the treatment protocol. He works with patients to customize a complete program—one targeting the function of the stabilization muscles—to fit each person’s unique needs and condition. “Exercise and adjunctive therapies such as heat, muscle stimulation, ultrasound, and cold therapy can assist in rehabilitation of these structures,” he says. “Our goal is to not only help heal the disc, but to also enhance muscular control and support of the back and neck.” Regular home exercise and periodic office visits will help individuals maintain their spinal health and reduce the probability of recurrence. “Clinical results of this type of therapy have been effective in over 75 percent of the patients treated, and most patients find long-term relief or effective management of their pain when they complete the entire program of treatments utilizing the Decompression Therapy,” states Dr. Wachtmann. Decompression Therapy is helping thousands of people who thought they would never eliminate the pain associated with simple tasks such as getting out of a chair. If you or somebody you know is suffering from chronic, debilitating, low back or neck pain, Dr. Thomas Wachtmann and Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy could provide a solution. Dr. Thomas Wachtmann practices Decompression Therapy at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center at 628 Twin Ponds Road near Fogelsville. For more information call 610-395-3355 or visit or