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The Chiropractic Study Neurologists Don’t Want You to Know About

One of the most useful spinal health studies of all time occurred at the St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1998 and very few people know about it. The lack of knowledge about this study has resulted in thousands of unnecessary back surgery procedures, many which may have been deemed as "failed back surgery."

Here’s what happened in the study:  Twenty patients with lower back pain and accompanying leg symptoms were tested on an innovative new device called a DRS decompression table system. Fourteen patients had confirmed disc protrusions, 4 to 10 mm in size, and some had a disc protrusion and/or spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, or inflammation of the facet part of the vertebrae.

Eighteen of the 20 patients were treated with non-surgical spinal decompression treatments within four to five weeks, and two patients with very large disc herniations were given an additional 20 treatments over two and a half months. What happened is something that doesn’t ever happen in medical treatment: the spinal decompression worked.


Ten of the 14 patients with disc herniations had a significant reduction in size of the herniation. In fact, six herniations reduced 50 to 100% while four reduced by 25 to 50%. Three of the large disc herniation reductions were 90 to 100% after treatment. For example, a 67-year-old man had a complete healing of his disc herniation and shooting pains in back and leg after 20 treatments within four weeks. A 40-year-old dog groomer who had been experiencing disc herniation symptoms and was unable to bend at the waist was healed 90% and able to return to work after the treatment that lasted 10 weeks. The healing of these patients was confirmed by MRI images.

The Chiropractic Difference 

Current medical treatment for disc herniation include prescribing painkillers and waiting to see if it heals on its own (conservative treatment); injections into the spine to stop the pain; or surgery to remove a part of the disc, bone or other material that is pressing one the spinal chord or nerve.  Around 10-15% of patients suffer from recurrent disc herniation even after receiving surgery. A study from the journal Spine shows that 12 years after receiving a discectomy 28% still complained of lower back and leg pain.

Chiropractic spinal decompression on the other hand, provides lasting relief by increasing blood flow to the damaged discs, flooding it with water, nutrients, and oxygen so that it may heal itself. Non-surgical spinal decompression also relieves pressures on the compressed discs and surrounding nerves. During the procedure, the decompression machine distracts the lumbar spine with weights equal to one-half the patient’s body weight plus 10 to 20 pounds by a pelvic harness. The harness is belted to a tower that could be raised or lowered to address a higher or lower disc in the spine. The decompression system used is unlike traction devices in that full weight distractions of 20 to 60 seconds were alternated with 30 seconds of relaxation at 50 pounds.

This study gives hope to everyone who has a disc herniation and stenosis. But more than hope, it gives them a plan. Call Dr. Sweeney in Nashville, TN to take advantage of this non-invasive method of healing herniated discs.


 Eyerman, Edward. 21st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Neuroimaging 1998 Paper Presentation. MRI Evidence of Nonsurgical, Mechanical Reduction, Rehydration and Repair of the Herniated Lumbar Disc. Journal of Neuroimaging 1998 8 (2).

July 19, 2014

Dr. Sweeney

Dr. Jim Sweeney & Dr. Jon Sweeney, your Nashville Chiropractors and Palmer College of Chiropractic West graduates, provide quality chiropractic care to patients in Nashville, TN. If you suffer from back pain, neck pain, headache, sciatica or have been in an auto collision, Sweeney Chiropractic can get you back on the road to health.