I was working long through a Saturday, and low and behold there was an informercial for a local group of chiropractors advertising their spinal decompression treatments. They featured an orthopedic surgeon from Georgia. I looked him up, and found that he had been stripped of his board certification because of a felony fraud conviction related to a spinal decompression device.
So What’s New?
Having been told by various insurance companies that the device is not covered, the orthopedic surgeon and two chiropractors (not affiliated with the above-mentioned local chiropractic practice – just featured in their infomercials) instead billed for other therapies that were not provided to the patients in order to obtain reimbursement for the patient’s appointment.
Although their website and television commercial claim fantastic results, the reviews and research have been published in non-reviewed sources. Peer-reviewed journals utilize others in the research community (research editors) to evaluate the strength and quality of research to determine it’s worthiness for publication.
Although the above-mentioned website does include one article in a reputable journal – Spine – that article does not include spinal decompression at all, but is an article standardizing nomenclature (naming conventions) for problems of the spine.
This is a press release relating the details of the scheme that landed a couple of chiropractors and the orthopedic surgeon in hot water: Press Release from the DOJ
Keep in mind that spinal traction has been used (and I use it from time to time) for the treatment of radiculopathy (sciatica) and low back pain, but it has little, if any, established efficacy as a stand-alone procedure. Check this out for details.
Looking for More Details?
Check out this article, which is the most substantial that I’ve seen on the subject.