Spinal Decompression | Can It Help Grow Your Chiropractic Practice?

Whether or not you own a Spinal Decompression machine, you probably already know many of the claims. Proponents believe that decompression therapy improves the flow of nutrients into the disc and re-hydrates dried-out discs, which results in improved disc structure. Although many of these claims have not be substantiated scientifically, it is clear that a large percentage of patients appear to experience decreased pain following treatment.

That fact that spinal decompression is a non-surgical and drug-free approach, appeals to those patients seeking an alternative to surgery. The treatment is extremely safe with little chance of injury and most patients find the experience relaxing.

If you have a well established practice, spinal decompression can be integrated seamlessly into your treatment options. It may improve your rate of success with challenging cases that involve sciatica, disc herniation and spinal stenosis. For increased effectiveness, decompression therapy can be combined along with chiropractic adjustments and laser therapy.

If you’re looking to attract new business based on the addition of a spinal decompression machine, be sure to research your competition, and the number of decompression machines located in the surrounding areas.

Because of the cost of the machines and a few of the other factors surrounding this treatment, significant research should be undertaken before adding this form of therapy to your practice.

In the past, some equipment manufacturers made extraordinary claims about the income-generating potential of spinal decompression therapy. Approach such claims cautiously—as with anything else in life, if it seems to be good to be true, it probably is.

Some insurance companies will pay for decompression when billed as a form of mechanical traction. However payment may be far less than than the $100 to $200.00 that many providers would like to get per treatment. Chiroeco offers an interesting article on the subject of insurance coding for decompression therapy. Additionally there is any older article on coding by Dynamic Chiropractic that may offer additional insight.

in response to the small dollar reimbursement available through insurance companies, many chiropractors have created treatment plans which may include 12 to 20 treatments and are designed to be paid for by the patient.

Research equipment options for the best value

Spinal decompression machines vary greatly in size, price and function— and it may not be necessary to purchase the highest priced machine to get good results. Personally, we’ve had excellent results with the Triton DTS, one of the least expensive units available.

Used decompression therapy systems are also available for a fraction of their original prices. Currently there is even a store on Ebay that specializes in the sale of spinal decompression equipment. As an added bonus, some machines with an elevating table may also qualify for 50% ADA tax credit.

Here are few popular models along with links to their websites.

A caveat when advertising your spinal decompression services

When advertising, it is particularly important to avoid making inflated claims for the therapy. On December 9, 2010, a California district attorney brought a law suit against well-known chiropractor, Ben Altodonna, citing “false claims” promoting the spinal traction device, DRX-9000. According to the district attorney, the advertisements claimed that DRX-9000 had a 86 percent success rate at treating medical issues such as disc herniation. The advertisements also falsely claimed that the device had been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, was “a patented alternative to spinal surgery” and had been endorsed and/or created by NASA. The district attorney’s office states each of the claims were not scientifically substantiated, or in some cases false.

Keeping this in mind, make sure any claim offered is backed up by clear documentation.

Based on our personal experiences, spinal decompression therapy has proven to be a great asset for the chiropractic practice. The many success stories and word of mouth referrals, have made the investment worthwhile. After doing a little research you may come to the same conclusion.

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