3D Spinal Traction

The ‘non surgical, non invasive’ variety

Extentrac_Charcoal3D spinal traction has the capability of relieving pressure on the spinal nerves caused by disc bulges and degenerative disc disease (arthritis), and is helpful for conditions such as sciatica and facet syndrome. It is used to treat acute or chronic neck or low back pain and associated neurological symptoms. The use of controlled intermittent traction can promote non-Surgical, non-invasive spinal decompression therapy that is safe, comfortable and painless. Our specialised, computerised equipment allows us to modify the angle of distraction, position of the spine, and the amount of force applied to the targeted spinal level.

Non-surgical, non-invasive spinal decompression is technically not a therapy. Spinal decompression occurs as a result of continual and cyclic traction of the spine at the targeted level. It is essentially the evolution of traction. Traction is an intermittent or continuous force applied along the spine, in an attempt to elongate it. Simply, traction is the act of pulling or stretching muscle or joints. When traction is applied, the body's natural protective response is to pull in the opposite direction, resulting in muscle spasm. Non-surgical, non-invasive spinal decompression equipment, on the other hand, contains sensitive computer-feedback mechanisms, such as strain gauges, to help overcome this muscle spasm phenomenon.

Each treatment is centered on a protocol of; ramp-up traction, hold and release. This protocols implemented by our specialised, computerised system is designed to bypass the body’s natural response of muscles to spasm. When this protocol is applied, a negative pressure is created within the disc. This negative pressure allows compressed discs to be reoxygenated, rehydrated and renutrified as they draw in moisture and nutrients from the surrounding body tissues. It also promotes retraction of bulging or herniated discs taking pressure off the nerve. Subsequently this results in reduced neck and back pain, reduced arm and leg pain, as well as promoting true healing of the disc.

The nitty gritty

Non-surgical , non-invasive spinal decompression is a researched technique and has evidence to validate its use.

An increasing number of studies are demonstrating the efficacy of spinal decompression therapy.

A study by the Department of Neurosurgery and Radiology, Rio Grande Regional Hospital and Health Sciences Center, University of Texas, demonstrated the specific and important clinical action of spinal decompression therapy that makes it effective.  Intradiscal pressure measurement was performed by connecting a cannula inserted into the patient's L4-L5 disc space to a pressure transducer. Spinal decompression was introduced and changes in pressure were recorded at a resting state and again while controlled tension was applied by the equipment. The results of this study indicate that it is possible to lower pressure in the nucleus pulposus of herniated lumbar discs to below -100 mm Hg when distraction tension is applied according to the protocol described for spinal decompression therapy. The lowest intradiscal pressure measured during progressive traction was 40 mm Hg compared to 75 mm Hg resting supine 1. Standard spinal decompression, therefore, differs from standard traction by creating a unique clinical circumstance of prolonged negative intradiscal pressure.

In a recent study of 219 patients with herniated discs and degenerative disc disease, 86 percent who completed the therapy showed immediate improvement and resolution of their symptoms; 92 percent improved overall; five patients (2 percent) relapsed within 90 days of initial treatment 2.

Gose et al 3 state: "We consider decompression therapy to be a primary treatment modality for low back pain associated with lumbar disc herniation at single or multiple levels, degenerative disc disease, facet arthropathy, and decreased spine mobility.  We believe that post-surgical patients with persistent pain or 'Failed Back Syndrome' should not be considered candidates for further surgery until a reasonable trial of decompression has been tried."

Eugene et al 4 report: "For any given patient with low back and referred leg pain, we cannot predict with certainty which cause has assumed primacy.  Therefore surgery, by being directed at root decompression at the site of the herniation alone, may not be effective if secondary causes of pain have become predominant.  Decompression therapy, however, addresses both primary and secondary causes of low back and referred leg pain. We thus submit that decompression therapy should be considered first, before the patient undergoes a surgical procedure which permanently alters the anatomy and function of the affected lumbar spine segment."


1 Ramos G, Martin W. Effects of Vertebral Axial Decompression on Intradiscal Pressure. J Neurosurg  81(3): 350-3; Sep 1994.
2 Glonis T, Groteke E. Spinal Decompression. Orth Tech Review 5(6):36-39; Nov-Dec 2003.
3 Gose E, Naguszewski W, Naguszewski R. Vertebral Axial Decompression Therapy for pain associated with herniated or degenerated discs or facet syndrome: an outcome study. J Neuro Research 20(4):186-90; Apr 1998.
4 Eugene S, Kitchener P, Smart R.  A Prospective Randomised Controlled Study of VAX-D and TENS for the Treatment of Chronic Low Back Pain. J  Neuro Research 23(7); Oct 2001.