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