Flexion-Distraction Technique

The Flexion-Distraction Technique is a specialized chiropractic treatment method primarily used to address spinal conditions, particularly those affecting the lumbar spine (lower back). The gentle, non-invasive technique is used to alleviate pain associated with herniated discs and other disc conditions.

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How the Flexion-Distraction Technique Works

Patient Positioning

During a Flexion-Distraction session, the patient lies face down on a specialized chiropractic table equipped with movable sections and a central drop piece. The table allows for controlled movement and positioning of the spine during treatment.

Controlled Flexion and Distraction

The chiropractor applies gentle, rhythmic traction and flexion-distraction motions to the lumbar spine using their hands or specialized chiropractic instruments. These controlled movements involve gently stretching and decompressing the spinal structures, including the intervertebral discs, facet joints, ligaments, and surrounding soft tissues.

Segmental Mobilization

The Flexion-Distraction Technique targets specific spinal segments affected by disc herniation, disc degeneration, spinal stenosis, facet joint dysfunction, or other conditions. By mobilizing and isolating individual spinal segments, the chiropractor can address localized areas of dysfunction and restore normal joint mechanics.

Pain Relief and Decompression

Flexion-distraction therapy creates negative intra-discal pressure within the spinal discs, promoting the retraction of bulging or herniated disc material and reducing pressure on irritated spinal nerves. The decompression effect helps alleviate pain, inflammation, and nerve compression associated with spinal disc disorders and related conditions.

Improved Circulation and Healing

The controlled stretching and mobilization of the spinal tissues during Flexion-Distraction treatment promote increased circulation, nutrient exchange, and hydration within the intervertebral discs. Enhanced blood flow and nutrient delivery support the healing process, facilitate tissue repair, and promote optimal spinal health and function.

Uses of the Flexion-Distraction Technique

Disc Herniation and Disc Bulge

The Flexion-Distraction Technique is commonly used to manage herniated discs, bulging discs, and disc-related conditions such as sciatica, radiculopathy, and spinal stenosis. By gently decompressing the spinal discs and reducing pressure on the spinal nerves, Flexion-Distraction therapy can help alleviate pain, numbness, tingling, and radiating symptoms associated with disc pathology.

Degenerative Disc Disease

Individuals with degenerative disc disease, characterized by disc thinning, dehydration, and loss of disc height, may benefit from Flexion-Distraction treatment to improve spinal mobility, reduce stiffness, and promote disc health. The gentle stretching and mobilization of the spinal segments can help maintain disc hydration, stimulate nutrient diffusion, and slow the progression of disc degeneration.

Facet Joint Syndrome

Facet joint syndrome, marked by inflammation, irritation, or degeneration of the facet joints in the spine, can cause localized back pain, stiffness, and restricted mobility. The Flexion-Distraction technique can help alleviate facet joint dysfunction by gently mobilizing and realigning the affected spinal segments, reducing joint inflammation, and restoring normal joint mechanics.

Spinal Stenosis

The Flexion-Distraction technique may be incorporated into the treatment of spinal stenosis, a condition characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal or neural foramina, leading to nerve compression and neurological symptoms.

By decompressing the spinal canal and relieving pressure on the spinal nerves, Flexion-Distraction treatment can help alleviate pain, numbness, weakness, and walking difficulties associated with spinal stenosis.

Scoliosis and Spinal Alignment

In individuals with scoliosis or abnormal spinal curvature, Flexion-Distraction therapy can be used to improve spinal alignment, reduce vertebral rotation, and alleviate muscular tension and discomfort associated with spinal misalignment. The gentle, controlled traction and mobilization techniques help promote spinal balance, symmetry, and functional integrity.


The Flexion-Distraction Technique is a specialized chiropractic treatment method used to address a variety of spinal conditions, including disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, facet joint syndrome, spinal stenosis, and scoliosis. Chiropractors use gentle, controlled traction and mobilization in this treatment.

The Flexion-Distraction technique aims to alleviate pain, improve spinal mobility, restore normal joint mechanics, and promote optimal spinal health and function.


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