Honest Decompression Salesperson One Flight Up

A lawyer relative used to have a sign in his office that read “Honest Lawyer – One Flight Up”.  The oxymoronic possibilities of the phrase ‘honest lawyer’ struck me at a young age.  I would have thought, with all of the hyperbole and dogma attached to non-surgical spinal decompression therapy, finding an honest spinal decompression representative would prove to be equally difficult.  Not so fast.  This week I met Chris Peetros from the Chattanooga Group.

I am not writing to endorse any product or company and my readers know that I will not hesitate to call someone on their bullcrap when I see it.  That is why it was so refreshing to hear Mr. Peetros discuss the line of spinal decompression devices from Chatt.  I asked him numerous questions about research and superiority and each time, he answered with honesty.  There was no exaggeration, no dogma, no suggestions on how to squeeze more money out of patients.  Here were some take home points:

(1) Chiropractors are getting ripped off by spinal decompression companies.  In many cases, doctors are spending two to ten times more than a product is worth.

(2) Chiropractors in turn upcharge their patients in order to pay off these ridiculously overpriced machines.

(3) Spinal decompression is a result, not a procedure.  These machines are mechanical traction guided by a computer for accuracy and repeatability.  There is nothing magical, mystical or truly new about this therapy.

(4) Non-surgical spinal decompression is traction.  Period.  It is mechanical muscle and ligament stretching in the axial plane.

(5) There is no proof of superiority for spinal decompression to flexion-distraction or any other means of traction but some patients tolerate it better and with an acute patient, it might be easier to start slowly with a computerized traction device.  Many traditional traction devices do not have the same control of depth and rate.

None of this is news.  None of this is groundbreaking.  All of it was honest and was spoken by someone whose company sells these units.  The difference from what I can see is that Chattanooga sells theirs for a much more fair price (around 10k) and without all the hype and claims of the other companies.

Am I buying one?  Probably not yet.  I am still not convinced that I cannot achieve the same results and with better control manually.  Most of our patients do extremely well without spinal decompression so I am not sure where the advantage would be.  However, I have now located a device that I would consider using should the research so sway me.

Got an opinion or comment?  Do you have any experience with these tables?  I’d love to hear it.


Dr. Brett Kinsler is RochesterChiro, a skeptical chiropractor in Rochester, NY.  www.RochesterChiro.com



  1. cmnacnud said,

    October 4, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    We use one of these products in our office, and it is great. One advantage is that you don’t have to do it manually. You can set them up and stay with them for a few minutes, but once you know it’s working you can leave the patient to take a nap or just relax with your CA keeping an eye on them. This frees us, the doctors, up to do other things. It is also nice to note the consistency that you can get out of this machine. You can also change it anytime giving us the freedom of variability if we want it.

  2. drdebbie said,

    October 4, 2008 at 9:07 pm

    I’m still not convinced yet, as I do prefer to work manually. That being said, I did take a big step in purchasing my low intensity laser machine and am having great results. One thing about working here in Vancouver (BC) is that our regulations do not allow us to leave patient care in the hands of a CA (for any modality including laser) so that wouldn’t be a selling point for me.

  3. October 4, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    Same thing here in NY State, Dr. Debbie. We cannot relegate treatments to assistants.

  4. cmnacnud said,

    October 5, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    I may be misunderstanding, but I’d like to clarify and get some clarification. First to clarify. I was joking about taking a nap, etc. Second, requesting clarification; do you mean that you can’t set a patient up on IFC (“e-stim”) for 15 min then have your CA check in on them occasionally to make sure they’re ok? Do you have to be in the room at all times?

  5. October 6, 2008 at 7:30 am

    I knew you were joking about taking a nap between patients, but of course I understand sarcasm since I speak American as my first language. Sometimes when jokes travel across borders, they lose something in the trip. Like this one time I was sending a pun to Mexico….well, another time maybe.

    There are no Anti-Nap laws in New York State so we could set up a patient on a therapy and start it while having the CA check in on the patient periodically. The doctor does not need to attend the treatment the entire time but it must be the doctor who approves and starts the device.

  6. Dr. Kenny said,

    October 24, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Elongation of the spine is one of the most effective methods of offering relief from back pain. Spinal decompression or spinal traction provides elongation of the spine and because of this provides significant pain relief to back pain sufferers.

    Why has yoga been so popular all these years? Because it provides significant benefits to its practitioners. It provides spinal elongation.

    Spinal elongation provides significant pain relief. So you can use a spinal decompression table or a traction table or traction the spinal manually and you will help your patient significantly.

    Personally in my practice I use the Saunders 3D Activ Trak. The clinical results in my practice more than substantiate the cost of the table. But I did not pay $100,000.00 for the table. I like this table because I am able to treat the patient in a supine or prone position, in flexion or extension, and I can even match the patient’s antalgic position with table rotation and lateral flexion.

    Of course I set the patient up on the table and program the computer.

    The table is also great in the fact that it saves my back as I have been in practice for 20 years now.

    Also do not forget to correct any muscle and spinal imbalances as we must treat the whole person. Without this the results will not be long term

  7. March 9, 2009 at 7:35 am

    […] remember my post about the honest spinal decompression guy?  I just had the pleasure of spending two days hearing him speak more truths about spinal […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: