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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Non-surgical Spinal Decompression : A Powerful Tool for Pain Relief

Mar 01, 2018 05:06PM ● By Sheila Julson

As a significant number of Americans continue to suffer from chronic neck and back pain, arrays of treatment options have become available. However, dangers associated with using prescription narcotics or corticosteroid epidural injections to alleviate pain are now in the headlines. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety announcement April 23, 2014 warning that, “Injection of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine may result in rare but serious adverse events, including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death. The injections are given to treat neck and back pain, and radiating pain in the arms and legs. We are requiring the addition of a Warning to the drug labels of injectable corticosteroids to describe these risks.” (

Those seeking non-pharmaceutical, non-invasive relief for back and neck pain might be tempted to try a non-surgical spinal decompression technique, in which a practitioner uses a table or machine to decompress the spine and discs that are protruding, herniated or bulging. However, Dr. Mark Losagio, of Losagio Chiropractic Center, in Bethlehem, advises that not all of these techniques are alike.

“There are doctors and therapists out there who just go buy a traction table and say they do spinal decompression, but there’s supposed to be proper protocol,” Losagio explains. “There is a difference between traction and non-surgical spinal decompression.”

Losagio is certified in non-surgical spinal decompression through a university-based certification program, with advanced training in disc disorders, through the International Medical Advisory Board. “Using nationally set protocols, we’re causing spinal distraction without muscle contraction, which is what happens on a traction table where there is a constant pull. We don’t want to do that, as that can be ineffective and even damaging,” he says.

The non-surgical spinal decompression certification is the only national program in the U.S., or the ‘gold standard,’ Losagio says, that uses the correct state-of-the-art technology by applying a distraction force to relieve nerve compression often associated with lower back pain and sciatica, which he says can help with those types of cases. The national protocol Losagio uses requires chiropractors and therapists to use the correct types of non-surgical spinal decompression tables, along with precise medical calculation that involves proper weight and pull, based on the angle of the problematic disc or discs. Frequency of treatment varies, depending on the patient’s condition. Losagio also uses cold laser therapy in addition to non-surgical spinal decompression techniques.

Non-surgical spinal decompression can be a solution for lower back pain and an alternative to back surgery. “It’s a change in the way people are handling back pain,” Losagio says. “We have an 86 to 91 percent success rate.” Candidates for non-surgical spinal decompression include those suffering from neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, sciatica, stenosis, numbness and burning and difficulty with movement.

As a chiropractic neurologist, Losagio notes that non-surgical spinal decompression, when done properly through national protocols, can effectively help with pain conditions caused by herniated or bulging discs in the spine, and it’s a safer and more cost-effective alternative to corticosteroid epidural injections, narcotics or spinal surgery. A Feb. 13, 2017 article published in the New York Times reported that the American College of Physicians published updated guidelines stating that doctors should avoid prescribing opioid painkillers for relief of back pain. The guidelines also said that steroid injections were not helpful (

Losagio advises those interested in trying non-surgical spinal decompression for pain relief to do thorough research, get to know their doctors and therapists, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. “As them whether or not they are nationally certified, and if you are getting nonsurgical spinal decompression—or are you just going to receive traction?” he recommends.

Since using the proper protocol for non-surgical spinal decompression to treat bulging and herniated discs, Losagio says he’s seen people feel better and even become pain-free.

“When they first came in, they were in such pain that they could hardly move. After being on the treatment plan, they are now more active and doing things that they couldn’t do for years. They have more energy and they’re sleeping better,” he relates. “This is part of my whole practice and philosophy—to give patients the best treatment for their conditions and help them as much as possible. The non-surgical spinal decompression protocols I use has been a tremendous asset to my practice so I can help people.”

Source: Losagio Chiropractic Center, 1220 Illick’s Mill Rd., Bethlehem, 610-865-8155,

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