FAQ: SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?   The first step is to call (417) 934-6337 and schedule a free consultation with Dr. Schierling to find out WHETHER OR NOT YOU ARE EVEN A CANDIDATE for Spinal Decompression Therapy.   I honestly have no idea whether or not Spinal Decompression Therapy, might be able to help you until I know exactly what your specific problems are.  I have had to turn down people for all sorts of problems they were desperately looking for an answer to —- but that were not problems that could be helped by Spinal Decompression Therapy.  Spinal Decompression Therapy is not FREE.  But what is having your LIFE BACK worth?

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?  Our typical program lasts 6-8 weeks (20-24 Sessions).  Please visit our “HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?” page.  Some patients may require a longer protocol depending on the severity of their case.  But because of the length of time it it takes a disc to heal, unless you have already been through the initial protocol, it will not be less than 6 weeks.  You can plan on being here for about an hour on each day you are scheduled for Spinal Decompression.

WHAT KINDS OF PROBLEMS ARE COMMONLY HELPED WITH SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?  Although Spinal Decompression Therapy is certainly NOT FOR EVERYONE, there are a number of common Spinal Problems that may be helped.

Any or all of these can cause pain or other symptoms into the leg known as SCIATICA!

DO I HAVE TO HAVE AN MRI BEFORE I START?  In one word, no.  This is because study after study after study has shown that MRI findings do not usually correlate well to patient’s subjective complaints, or for that matter, their objective findings (HERE), which does not even begin to address the issue of ASYMPTOMATIC DISC HERNIATIONS.   If you do not have an MRI, an inexpensive 2-View Lumbar X-ray is required, simply because it will tell us exactly how much degenerative change you have in your spine.  As you have seen from our short videos, SPINAL DEGENERATION is one of your back’s most serious enemies.  By the way, your X-rays do not need to be done in my office.  You can bring them with you.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN YOUR DECOMPRESSION PROGRAM?  I would say that just about everything but the kitchen sink.  The complete answer to this question can be found on our “WHAT’S INCLUDED?” page.

HOW DOES DECOMPRESSION THERAPY WORK?  The answer to this question can be found on our “HOW DOES IT WORK?” page.  You can comb through our BLOG POSTS as well.

WHAT KIND OF TRAINING HAVE YOU HAD?  Great question.  I have over two decades of experience dealing with patients with all sorts of disc problems.  One of the most common conditions seen in my clinic all day long, is people with low back pain and subsequent leg symptoms (pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, paresthesias, etc) called SCIATICA caused by DEGENERATIVE DISCS or HERNIATED DISCS

Although the state of Missouri requires no additional training for a physician to perform Spinal Decompression Therapy, I have been certified through Dr. Jay Kennedy’s 24 credit hour course in Spinal Decompression Therapy.  Dr. Kennedy is the country’s foremost expert in Spinal Decompression Therapy, and among other things, his course focuses on the best ways to determine whether a person is a good candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy, or whether they might be better served by some other form of treatment. 

IS THERE ANY SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT SUPPORTS DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?  Despite that fact that Medicare has labeled Spinal Decompression Therapy as “Experimental ” (and virtually all private insurances have followed suit), there is an abundance of scientific research touting the use of Mechanical Traction / Spinal Decompression for an array of spinal problems.  Please visit our “RESEARCH” page for more information.  For those of you who really like reading research, I have accumulated OVER FIFTY STUDIES on the benefits of Spinal Decompression Therapy

DOES SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY HURT?  The treatment itself is usually quite comfortable.  In fact, many people listen to their iPods during treatment, and some people actually fall asleep during the “Decompression” portion of the program.  However, if you are dealing with a disc problem yourself, you are already aware that people who are fighting disc problems sometimes come to us in pain —- a lot of pain!  Anything they do hurts.  Rest assured, we will do everything humanly possible to make your time with us as pleasant and comfortable as possible. 

Fortunately, our table is equipped with an Automatic Shutoff Switch (the proverbial “Panic Button”).  This small device can either be held in your hand or put where you rest your hands.  If for any reason, you feel that something is not right with your treatment, simply push the button.  The tension on the Decompression Cable will release, and a buzzer will go off letting me know that something is amiss. 

I HAVE HEARD THAT YOU ONLY HAVE A LIMITED NUMBER OF SLOTS AVAILABLE FOR DECOMPRESSION.  IS THIS JUST A COME-ON?  My problem is space.  I currently have a limited number of Decompression Tables.  This, coupled with the fact that a disc protocol will last a minimum of six weeks, as well as the fact that I run a busy practice, limits the number of patients that I can accept for Spinal Decompression.  There is usually a waiting list.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF DETERMINING WHETHER OR NOT A PERSON IS A “CANDIDATE” FOR SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY; HOW DO YOU DO THIS?  ISN’T THE ONLY FACTOR WHETHER OR NOT I CAN PAY FOR YOUR SERVICE?  Just last week I had a mother call us asking about using Spinal Decompression Therapy to fix her 18 year old son’s scoliosis so that he could pass his physical for a certain job he had applied for.  Unfortunately, I had to tell her that scoliosis cannot be fixed with Spinal Decompression Therapy.  Two weeks ago I had a woman with a 25 year history of neck pain come to me wanting Non-Surgical Decompression on her neck.  Her problem was FASCIAL ADHESIONS.  Yesterday I had a gentleman inquire about Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression for a pain he had been struggling with in his buttock region for at least three decades.  He did not need Spinal Decompression Therapy.  His problem was a PIRIFORMIS SYNDROME that was immediately remedied via SCAR TISSUE REMODELING

My reputation is on the line with every single patient that I treat. I will not use Spinal Decompression Therapy to treat something that could be probably be resolved with something easier and less expensive.  Nor will do any treatment that I do not feel will help you.  Plainly stated, I will not treat any patient that I do not feel I can help significantly.  Unfortunately, not every patient is a candidate for Spinal Decompression Therapy.  To understand this concept better, please read more about OUR CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTANCE in the Spinal Decompression Therapy program.

WHAT IF I HAVE ALREADY HAD BACK SURGERY(S)?   Many people who have had FAILED SPINAL SURGERIES get tremendous relief with Spinal Decompression Therapy.  Although NOT EVERY PATIENT IS A GOOD CANDIDATE for Spinal Decompression Therapy, if you are accepted as a patient, you have a good chance of significant improvement!  The odds of a first back surgery doing well are not good.  The odds of good outcomes with second, third, and fourth back surgeries are in the toilet.  DO NOT consent to SPINAL SURGERIES without getting several expert opinions.

JUST HOW BAD IS IT DOC?  Any degree of DISC HERNIATION, DISC DEGENERATION, or SPINAL STENOSIS is bad.  When discs begin to fail, they rapidly deteriorate and compromise the function of your spinal nerves. The worse a disc gets, the more quickly it deteriorates causing more nerve problems. I don’t need to tell you that this can cause horrendous amounts of pain and dysfunction.  Permanent neurological damage may result if nerves are compressed long enough.

IS IT FIXABLE?  Unfortunately, not all disc problems are fixable. Some people have let their discs get too bad before seeking an answer. The good news is that even patients with ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL DISC PROBLEMS have gotten relief using Spinal Decompression Therapy. If we accept your case, you have a good chance of getting better (just look at the RESEARCH).  You have a 0% chance of getting better if you do nothing.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I DON’T GET IT FIXED NOW?  Disc problems tend to accelerate with time. Loss of normal disc function causes DETERIORATION —- and deterioration causes loss of normal disc function.  Repeat ad infinitum!  If you wait too long, Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression may not be an option for you.  It is miserable living with permanent nerve damage, excruciating pain, and permanent disability —- especially knowing that there was something you knew might help, but you never tried.

WHAT IF NON-SURGICAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY DOES NOT WORK FOR ME?  Although this does not happen often, it does happen.  Most of our patients see us as a last-ditch effort before having the surgery their doctor suggested years ago.  If, after the first three weeks of the program, you are not showing any improvement whatsoever, we may suggest you seek care elsewhere.  If this happens, it is not because we do not like you.  We simply want the very best for you and your spine.  In the rare event that this happens, we will refund the unused balance of the cost of your Decompression Protocol — and do our level best to see that you get to the best doctor available.

WILL MY INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?   Every insurance is different, and most people will agree that despite rising costs; coverage continues to decline.  The health insurance question is answered for you at the bottom of our “HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?” page.

ASSUMING MY DECOMPRESSION PROTOCOL WORKS; IF I PERIODICALLY FEEL I NEED A DECOMPRESSION “TUNEUP”, DO I HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROTOCOL AGAIN?  No.  For people who have been through the initial protocol, we offer significantly shorter protocols (as short as one week of three treatments) at a tiny fraction of the cost.  Many doctors doing Spinal Decompression Therapy will make you go through the whole treatment protocol again —- even if you got tremendous results the first time around.  We do not do that, because I rarely feel it’s necessary.

WHAT POSITION DO YOU PERFORM SPINAL DECOMPRESSION IN?  Although there are several positions that you can be successfully decompressed in using our table, the most advantageous is usually the “prone” or face-down position.  The chief reasons that we would not use a prone position include:

  • An inability to lay face down due to pain
  • Claustrophobia
  • Obesity

Here are some pictures of the most common positions that we perform Spinal Decompression in.  Again the optimum position for most people to be in as far as their Spinal Decompression Therapy is concerned, is usually the first one.

Spinal Decompression

MY DOCTOR SUGGESTED THAT I THINK ABOUT IT — WHAT ABOUT BACK SURGERY?  To answer this question, just talk to ten people you personally know who have had back surgery.  Or you can check out our BACK SURGERY? page.  Truthfully, most orthopedic surgeons will not even think about performing spinal disc surgery unless a patient has been through at least 6-8 weeks of conservative treatment first.  Why?  They are more aware than anyone of how ridiculously poor the results actually are (HERE).

DO DISC BULGES AND DEGENERATION WORSEN WITH TIME? Does a one legged duck swim in circles?  Of course these problems get progressively worse with time!  The very definition of “degenerative” implies that it is progressing!  Each year the problem discs loose more water, more height, more strength, and more flexibility. The bulging may progress slowly, but the disc itself is getting weaker and weaker until it totally fails —- and nerves become damaged. Disc problems must be treated as soon as they are identified in order to prevent major complications.

I HAVE NOTICED THAT MY BOWELS AND BLADDER DO NOT WORK LIKE THEY USED TO.  MY SEX LIFE IS LIKEWISE SUFFERING.  DOES THIS HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH MY DISC PROBLEM?  Disc problems AFFECT THE NERVES.  Remember that these are the very same nerves that control every single function in your body.  If you irritate, inflame, compress, or “pinch” a nerve, you will affect whatever joint, organ, muscle, or tissue that the nerve controls or regulates (HERE).  I will warn you; If you have a total loss of bowel control, an inability to urinate, and / or “Saddle Paresthesia” (loss of sensation in the area of your butt and legs that would contact a saddle) —- with or without low back pain; you could potentially have a rare condition known as CAUDA EQUINA SYNDROME.  If you have any inkling that this is what is taking place, contact your nearest Emergency Room immediately!

DISC DETERIORATION AT 33?  Yes; it’s certainly possible. Many patients suffer disc injuries in their teens and twenties from sports, work, accidents, etc.  Then by their thirties these problems begin to rear their ugly heads. Living or working on concrete does not help matters!  A significant number of my Spinal Decompression Patients are under the age of 40.  DISC DEGENERATION often times begins in the teen years, although it will not typically cause chronic debilitating symptoms until later in life.

WHAT ABOUT VAX-D OR THE DRX-9000?  I SAW AN ADVERTISEMENT STATING THAT THESE TABLES WERE THE ONLY TABLES THAT PROVIDE “TRUE DECOMPRESSION” OF THE SPINE.  IS THIS TRUE?  Different brands of decompression traction tables are like different brands of automobiles.  Some have more features than others, but they all do just about the same thing.  The truth is, all Spinal Decompression Systems use a harness attached to a pulley.  The computerized algorithms create a “pull / relax” pattern that gently stretches the damaged disc in order to create a NEGATIVE PRESSURE within.

The beauty of our table is the nearly infinite number of positioning options available.  Interestingly enough, the KDT Neural Flex Table has a computerized traction motor that is significantly more customizable for individual patient situations (see the short video above) than many tables costing far more.  Although they are good, some of these other tables carry with them AN ALMOST ABSURD AMOUNT OF HYPE (developed by NASA, BEING ABLE TO TARGET A SPECIFIC DISC, 90% success rate, etc).  Although the DRX9000 and VAX D Tables are OVERHYPED & OVERPRICED, it is not that these of any of the other tables on the market are bad.  Quite the contrary!   Most of these tables do what they claim to do quite well.  However, with the DRX9000, patients are limited to supine positioning only (laying on their back).  The VAX-D, on the other hand, limits patient positioning to the prone position only (face down on their stomach). Having the option for unlimited decompression positions (as well as being able to offset the motor a foot to either the right or left) is a huge advantage for customizing treatment to each individual patient  — particularly those people dealing with LATERAL DISC HERNIATIONS.

WHAT MAKES YOU AND YOUR DISC PROTOCOL DIFFERENT FROM OTHERS THAT I HAVE SEEN ON TV?  Another great question!  It could be the fact that we use one of the most technologically advanced Decompression Tables on the market today.  It could be that our protocol uses OXYGEN to crank up the healing process.  Could be the WHOLE BODY VIBRATION THERAPY that not only strengthens muscles in general, but is used to specifically strengthen the part of the brain that controls, regulates, and coordinates spinal postural muscles.  It could be the COLD LASER that stimulates the cell’s mitochondria to dramatically increase the production of cellular energy in the form of ATP.  It could be any one of NUMEROUS REASONS.  If you find a more comprehensive (and all-inclusive) Spinal Decompression Protocol for the price, let me know.

WHAT ABOUT CERVICAL DISCS (NECK)?  Yes, we can perform Spinal Decompression Therapy on the neck.  Do not kid yourself.  People struggle with DEGENERATIVE NECKS just as much as they struggle with Degeneration in their low backs.

WHAT ABOUT REHAB & STRENGTHENING THE DISC ONCE THE DECOMPRESSION THERAPY IS FINISHED?  We offer that also. In fact, the cool thing is that it is included in the price of the Decompression Protocol.  Instead of having an office full of expensive rehab equipment, I will show you how to do simple stabilization exercises on the body ball, as well as Stuart McGill’s core strengthening exercises —- at home.  I will also show you how to do some of the McKenzie exercises if we determine that this is what you need.  I will also discuss INVERSION THERAPY.

DO YOU HAVE TESTIMONIALS FROM SATISFIED SPINAL DECOMPRESSION PATIENTS?  Yes, you can see them on our VIDEO TESTIMONIAL PAGE.

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE SCHIERLING CHIROPRACTIC, LLC FOR SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY INSTEAD OF DRIVING TO SPRINGFIELD?   We are centrally located in Mountian View, Missouri.  We are only half an hour from West Plains, Cabool, and Winona, and about 15-20 minutes away from Summersville, Birch Tree, and Willow Springs.  Forget the fact that it is going to cost you an arm and a leg in time, gas, meals, hotels, etc, etc, etc, to make repeated trips to Springfield.  There are a number of factors that I believe make our SPINAL DECOMPRESSION PROGRAM as good a value as any out there.

  • Experience: We have been doing Spinal Decompression Therapy longer than anyone in the area.  Dr. Schierling has over 25 years experience as a Doctor of Chiropractic, and has dealt with thousands of patients with HERNIATED DISCS, DEGENERATIVE DISCS, SPINAL STENOSIS, and SCIATICA.  He can empathize with your situation because he became a chiropractor due a disc injury at age 19.  Chiropractic helped him when all medical treatments had failed.  He has taken hundreds upon hundreds of hours of Post-Doctorate training.
  • Trust:  Dr. Schierling does virtually zero advertising.  People come from ALL OVER THE COUNTRY to see him for a wide variety of health-related problems.  Many doctors, both chiropractic and medical, refer cases to Dr. Schierling. They understand that they will get an honest and accurate diagnosis and the best possible care for their problem.  No one gets every single patient well, but at Schierling Chiropractic, LLC, I assure you that no stone will remain unturned in helping return you to optimum health.
  • Results: Our DISC PROTOCOL has proven effective when numerous other methods have failed.  GREAT RESULTS CANNOT BE FAKED.  They speak for themselves!

Don’t get me wrong, Dr. Phil Lloyd of the renowned Cherry Health Center is a great Christian doctor that I first met when we were attending Logan College of Chiropractic at the same time.  The truth is, before I broke down and equipped my office to perform Spinal Decompression Therapy, I referred numerous patients to Dr. Lloyd with excellent results.  However, had I realized that Spinal Decompression Therapy would be so beneficial for such a wide variety of patients with chronic, severe, and debilitating back problems, I would have gotten certified long before I did!  Drive times to Mountain View, Missouri are as follows. 

  • WEST PLAINS:  30 minutes
  • SUMMERSVILLE:  15 minutes
  • HOUSTON:  45-50 minutes
  • THAYER / MAMMOTH SPRINGS: 1 hour (unless you cut through Rover — then it’s 50 minutes)
  • WILLOW SPRINGS: 15-20 minutes
  • BIRCH TREE:  15 minutes or less
  • ALTON:  50 minutes
  • WINONA:  20 minutes
  • EMINENCE: 40 minutes
  • VAN BUREN, MO:  45 minutes
  • CABOOL:  30 minutes
  • MOUNTAIN GROVE: 45 minutes or less

We are located in northern Howell County (county seat is West Plains), about two miles from Shannon County (county seat is Eminence) and three miles from Texas County (county seat is Houston).  We are likewise quite close to to the following counties as well; Oregon County (Alton), Carter County (Van Buren), Douglas County (Ava), Ozark County (Gainesville), and Wright County (Hartville).

If you have suffered from chronic, debilitating back pain or sciatica that has not responded to acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, shots, or any one of the dozens of things that desperate people try, then you have obviously been mulling some of these very same questions over in your mind.  If you have a question that has not been addressed here, please submit it, and I will do my best to make the information available to you (or put it up here with the others). If you have any other questions pertaining to Spinal Decompression Therapy, or to our specific Decompression Protocol, please feel free to CONTACT THE CLINIC.  Better yet, call Tracy today to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Schierling (417) 934-6337.  Find out if YOU ARE A CANDIDATE for Spinal Decompression Therapy.  Wouldn’t it be great to get your life back?  It’s possible.  But you have to take that first step.

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