The Mayo Clinic & Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

John Leslie, MD, and his team at the Mayo Clinic sought to show the effectiveness and safety of non-surgical spinal decompression. This hallmark research study was first presented at the American Academy of Pain Management in 2007, followed by the New York Society of Anesiologists and the American Conference of Pain Medicine.

The patients in this study had experienced chronic low back pain based on a diagnosis of musculoskeletal or mechanical, low back pain, hernia discs, bulging discs, protruding discs, degenerative discs, or pain from a failed back surgery six months ago. This study followed these 20 patients over a trial of conservative care that lasted approximately six weeks and included 20 nonsurgical, spinal decompression treatments. These patients have tried other types of treatments prior to this study. These include chiropractic, muscle stimulation, ice therapy, massage therapy, exercise, heat, physical therapy, tens, unit, acupuncture, lumbar support, braces, epidural, injections, facet injections, ultrasound, therapy, and even other types of decompression therapy.

Interestingly, 75% of the patients included in this study were diagnosed with a bulging/protruding disc. There were no adverse reactions reported over this six-week study. This study reports significant changes in pain scores and functional outcome assessments. The baseline pain score prior to this treatment was 6.4/10. At the conclusion of the treatment protocol (approximately 20 treatments over 6 weeks), the pain score decreased to 0.8/10.

Following this treatment, these patients enjoyed significant pain reduction, improved daily function, and required fewer pain medications. John Leslie, MD, and his fellow researchers concluded that non-surgical spinal decompression shows great promise in treating chronic low back pain arising from multiple causes.

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