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Can Vibration Traction Therapy Increase Disc Height? A Case Series Review

This case series investigates the potential of a multimodal chiropractic rehabilitation program, with a focus on vibration traction therapy, to influence disc height in patients suffering from lumbar disc pathologies. While spinal decompression therapy is often promoted as a non-surgical solution for disc-related issues, research specifically examining its impact on disc parameters is limited.

The Study

Six patients with a history of lumbar herniated or bulging discs, confirmed by MRI or CT scans, participated in this retrospective case series. Each patient experienced symptoms such as lower extremity paresthesia, high pain levels (minimum 8/10), and/or radicular pain (e.g., sciatica).

The Treatment Protocol Patients underwent a structured, multimodal rehabilitation program spanning 20 visits over 7 weeks. This comprehensive approach included:

  • Warm-up Exercises: Lumbar stretches on a wobble chair and repetitive cervical traction
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization: Calf stretches and deep tissue percussion massage
  • Vibration Traction Therapy: 20-minute sessions on a motorized table with a constant traction force and vibration component
  • Postural Correction: Anterior head weighting exercises to promote spinal alignment
  • Chiropractic Adjustments: Sacral manipulation to address positional imbalances
  • Cryotherapy: 10 minutes of cold therapy in a supine position with pelvic blocking
  • Home-Based Exercises: Patients continued exercises and utilized positional traction with foam blocks nightly.

Outcomes Measured

Improvements were evaluated across multiple dimensions:

  • Radiographic Measurements: Lumbar disc height measured from lateral lumbar X-rays taken at consistent times of day
  • Pain Levels: Assessed using a numeric pain rating scale
  • Functional Status: Measured with a functional rating index
  • Spirometry: Lung function assessment
  • Patient Height: Overall height changes


Statistical analysis revealed significant improvements (P < .05) in:

  • Disc Height: Notably, increases were observed in L2, L4, and L5 disc heights.
  • Functional Rating Index
  • Numeric Pain Scores
  • Spirometry Measures
  • Patient Height

All patients demonstrated positive responses to the treatment protocol.


This case series provides encouraging preliminary findings, suggesting that a multimodal chiropractic rehabilitation program incorporating vibration traction therapy may contribute to increased disc height and other beneficial outcomes. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that it’s impossible to pinpoint which specific element within the multimodal approach was solely responsible for the observed improvements.

Larger-scale, controlled studies are needed to confirm these findings and to isolate the specific effects of vibration traction therapy on disc health. While more research is necessary, this case series offers a promising starting point for exploring innovative, non-surgical approaches to managing lumbar disc pathologies.