idd therapy treatment


It is widely reported that 80% of back pain costs come from 20% of back pain sufferers.  Whether that is a fact or a Pareto-style estimation of the costs of chronic back pain, it is clear that there is a large population of back and neck pain sufferers who need something more for their pain. 
IDD Therapy is the fastest growing conservative spine treatment in the UK.  It serves the population of back and neck pain sufferers who need something more than manual therapy to restore function and relieve pain and who either aren’t suitable for or who want to avoid invasive treatments.
IDD Therapy treatment with Accu SPINA and patient
Accu SPINA with patient for IDD Therpy treatment
When talking about certain spine conditions, there is often a focus on one element of the pathology such as a disc herniation.  With IDD Therapy, the disc pathology is interesting, however treatment is very much directed with a goal to restore spinal function and mobility in order to create an environment for healing and pain relief.   This leads to what we know as the IDD Therapy Disc Programme.


What is the IDD Therapy Disc Programme?

Vertebrae distraction

Developed in the late 1990s, Intervertebral Differential Dynamics Therapy or IDD Therapy was engineered to address the failings of traditional mechanical traction and to take spine treatment capabilities beyond the natural limitations of what can be achieved with manual therapy.  IDD Therapy is delivered by the Accu SPINA and SDS SPINA machines.

IDD Therapy treats targeted spinal segments with a goal to decompress the intervertebral disc and create pressure differentials.  The dynamic (non-static) decompression aims to ease pressure on spinal nerves and improve spinal mobility within a programme of care.

Using computer-controlled distraction forces, IDD Therapy decompresses the targeted spinal segments, opening the disc space by between 5mm and 7mm at the selected level (lumbar).  It does this by applying relatively high distraction forces which are built up over a course of treatments to just over half a patient’s body weight.  Such forces cannot be applied with manual therapy.

IDD Therapy at HFS Clinics Sally with patient


“IDD Therapy is an invaluable treatment tool to me. It has finally enabled me to offer something meaningful for disc patients which, in my experience, is preferable to surgery and more therapeutic than epidurals, nerve root blocks and facet joint injections. We now have two IDD Therapy Disc Clinics.”
Robert Shanks – Clinic Director Spine Plus Clinics


At the point of maximum distraction, IDD Therapy then gently oscillates or mobilises the joint in a longitudinal plane (rather than an anterior-posterior plane) for a full minute in order to work soft tissues and gently mobilise the facet joints.

A single treatment lasts for 25 minutes during which time there are 13 cycles of maximum distraction and mobilisation.  With a series of treatments, the goal is to progressively restore function.

Most physiotherapists use manual traction techniques on certain joints in combination with joint mobilisation.  Traditional traction failed to treat spinal segments with adequate precision, force and control to achieve therapeutic objectives.  It fell out of favour and in modern times “traction” is rarely used.  

Accu SPINA with patient upright
Accu SPINA couch tilts upright for return to load bearing

IDD Therapy has traditional traction in its DNA.  Anyone familiar with traditional traction will feel like they are meeting a new relative when they start using IDD Therapy, but it is the differences which make the difference.

Rather than dismiss traction which is what happened in most departments, the engineers and clinicians who developed IDD Therapy asked a simple question:  What do you need to do differently to decompress and mobilise a TARGETED spinal segment.  With IDD Therapy they achieved that and there are now over 1,000 clinics internationally providing IDD Therapy, including a large network in the UK.

You can read more about those differences here IDD Therapy vs traction.

Why use IDD Therapy Disc Treatment?

IDD Therapy enables physiotherapists to address compression and immobility in the spine, in a way that no other spine treatment can.  It is a treatment tool used in combination with manual therapy and exercise which changes the lives of patients.

herniated-disc-treatmentBy helping patients caught in a cycle of pain, IDD Therapy enables physiotherapists to do more for patients within an expanded programme of conservative spine care.

Within an NHS environment, that has significant cost benefits over pain management and invasive treatments and within a private clinic context, it enables clinics to expand their services to help more patients.


“It is always preferable to use non-invasive methods to treat herniated discs and sciatica.  As part of conservative care, IDD Therapy offers a non-invasive spinal decompression option for patients with an identifiable disc herniation.”
Professor Amjad Shad MBBS, FRCS (Ed), FRCS (SN) – Consultant Neurosurgeon
University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS


Two common questions you may have. What is the evidence for the treatment? Is IDD Therapy covered by insurance?

Evidence-Base – IDD Therapy is supported by a body of evidence.  As an example, in one study by McClure et al,  92% of 129 patients considered surgical candidates had a greater than 50% reduction in pain.   In addition, the IDD Therapy computer-software has inbuilt Visual Analogue Scale and Oswestry Disability Index tracking.  Every aspect of treatment is recorded and is thus measurable and duplicable.  No other physiotherapy equipment has this capability. You can request more details below or with the Contact Us page.

Aviva Health InsuranceInsurance: AVIVA Insurance now pays for IDD Therapy in its own right because IDD Therapy provides a cost-efficient, non-invasive alternative to surgery. It is anticipated that AXA-PPP and BUPA will follow suit given the need and desire to do more for patients conservatively.

Most physiotherapists have other questions  such as who can do the treatment? how long is a course? do consultants refer? how much is the Accu SPINA? how long is training? can I lease the equipment? where would I put my machine ? what is my exclusivity area? These questions are all answered in our simple guides.

Neck Treatment Training IDD Therapy - cropped
Cervical treatment training on the Accu SPINA

If you have an academic interest in IDD Therapy or are keen to expand your physiotherapy practice, we can send you information about IDD Therapy and the Accu SPINA by email or in the post.  Simply put your details below and we will send you the various elements.  If you have a specific question, just send it over via the Contact Us page.

Buckingham Clinic 2 AccuSPINAs together
Two Accu SPINA at The Buckingham Clinic in Glasgow, one of Scotland’s leading conservative spine care providers.

IDD Therapy is represented by Steadfast Clinics