Efficacy of Spinal Decompression Therapy in Individuals with Cervical Disc Herniation: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Cervical disc herniation is characterized by breakage of disc material into the spinal canal leading to various symptoms such as arm and neck pain, paresthesias and movement limitations. Current options for pain management include drug therapy, physiotherapy, acupuncture and surgical care. Alternative spinal decompression therapy achieves clinical effectiveness in reducing pain, disability and improving quality of life.
The primary aim of this randomized controlled trial was to evaluate the effect of spinal decompression therapy along the conventional therapy and cervical stability exercises in treatment of individuals with cervical intervertebral disc herniation.
The male and female participants within the age range 30-50 years diagnosed with cervical disc herniation experiencing pain in cervical region and irradiation to upper extremities willing to participate were included. Patients were randomly assigned into two groups. Each patient underwent nine treatment sessions over the course of three weeks (3 therapy sessions/ week). Experimental group: 15 patients underwent treatment with spinal decompression device (BTL Industries Ltd.) along with conventional therapy and cervical stability exercises. Control group: 15 patients underwent conventional therapy along with cervical stability exercises. All patients’ pain and disability perception were evaluated via Numeric Pain Rating (NPR) scale and Neck Disability Index (NDI) obtained prior to the first treatment and at day 10 and 21 of the clinical trial.
The non-parametric Wilcoxon sign rank test confirmed a significant improvement in Neck Disability Index and Numeric Pain Rating scale for both patients groups. Spinal decompression therapy proved to be effective as the experimental group achieved about 19% better NDI and 24% better NPR score difference than the control group.
Spinal decompression therapy as a part of conventional physiotherapy program proved to have a significant impact on pain and disability enhancement in patients with cervical intervertebral disc herniation.