This is based on the process I learned as 5 second decompressions, an article I read in a chiropractic newspaper said that office workers who did a 5 second decompression every 15 minutes increased the height/ length of their spine. This is performed by lifting your body slightly by pressing your hands down onto the sides of your chair, you can use your fist or chair handles to facilitate the process and then simply hold for 5 seconds. I like to take a deep breath and allow the natural pressure changes that happen in the thoracic and abdominal cavities to pump the lymphatics and therefore the discs of the spine. Never underestimate the power of a conscious breath in focusing your energy and intent to allow healing.
After having taught 5 second decompression to all my patients for many years I have come up with multiple variations on the process to make it easy to do and remember. I like to especially remind people of the power of listening to your body as in an orthopedic observational sign called the minors sign. Patients who have a disc problem will often come into the office and sit in a posture known as minor sign, this is them using their arms and hands to take pressure off the low back discs whenever they sit, they may be leaning to one side as well or just pushing down on the table when they sit. So just the natural process of listening to the body( blog post needed here) can reveal the power and simplicity of this process.
Now just a month or two ago a patient brought in a device called the lo-bak tracs, check out the commercial of this fancy pair of handlebars below. Recognize that with few exceptions the handlebars are not necessary and perhaps even less effective then just using your own body to do the process as I describe below. I have seen a couple of patients who have shorter arms where the device could be helpful, but reaching low into the groin or using a block or other implement can be just as effective. I have begun to call this the supine 5 second decompression, supine just means laying on your back. The fancy device seems superfluous and even takes away the mechanical advantage of the elbow making it harder to push, plus you can do this without carrying around the cumbersome tool. Once in the morning and once in the evening is a good start but more frequently may be the most important variable to creating success. I have a recent patient who has an X-Ray taken that demonstrates the most common compression in the body at L5, this disc dehydrates and shrinks. I’m looking forward to having him recheck in a year or so to see this disc fully hydrated and healthy.
Use your hands on your thighs…Just lay on your back bend your knees up and push on your thighs. I would do it at the very least in the morning and evening. Maybe hold for 5-20 seconds and do it 5-10 times. Breath deeply to facilitate the process of re-hydrating your discs and decompressing you spine.
One limitation of this technique is that it is limited to the lower spine, decompression of the body as a whole can be an important priority as well. We’ll cover other techniques in future posts. Thanks for reading this. God bless you in your healing process and life!