A Spinal Disc Programme to Shout About: Nine Life-Changing Years at The Buckingham Clinic, Glasgow


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Two AccuSPINAs sit side by side in The Buckingham Clinic’s   impressive IDD Therapy treatment room

“For us, excellent patient outcomes result from our integrated team combining the best hands-on treatments with the latest technology.  We wanted to help our ‘difficult’ disc patients so we did our homework: IDD Therapy is a significant step forward in conservative care and for the past nine years it’s completely changed the way we treat our chronic back and neck pain sufferers.”           

                                                        James Sneddon, Clinical Director, The Buckingham Clinic


The Buckingham Clinic is a veritable hive of activity.  Behind its beautiful Georgian facade operates an industrious team of musculoskeletal experts: the “well-oiled wheel” of  James Sneddon’s thriving Glasgow practice.

James has created a blueprint for the perfect multidisciplinary clinic.  Having practised as an osteopath for more than 40 years, his academic knowledge and clinical experience is considerable – but rather than easing up and coasting into early retirement, he remains a forward-thinking clinician and innovator.  His team’s tailored, holistic approach works well for patients and his curiosity for cutting edge treatment methods and new technology separates him from many of his peers.

He explains:  “We have always stayed true to the traditional elements of osteopathy and physiotherapy but I think our success has been characterised by the team’s readiness to move forward and engage in pioneering treatment methods.”

Alongside the usual manipulation, acupuncture, dry needling and taping, The Buckingham team employs high-tech tools such as Shockwave Therapy – soft tissue stimulation for upper limb conditions.  Their state of the art gym houses MedEx Core Spinal Fitness equipment – creating a rehabilitation facility which is second to none.   But the clinic’s jewel is its advanced spinal disc programme which has been transforming the lives of chronic back and neck pain sufferers in Scotland for the past nine years.

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IDD Therapy is changing the lives of The Buckingham Clinic’s chronic back and neck pain patients

“I’ve always got my eyes and ears open for improved techniques and new technology and in the summer of 2008, I began hearing about The IDD Therapy Disc Programme, featuring the AccuSPINA spinal decompression device.”

James was thinking about his chronic disc patients; the ones that struggled to improve with manual therapy and exercise.  He decided to fly down to IDD Therapy’s flagship London clinic to see the treatment up close and experience it for himself.

“I remember the AccuSPINA being a pretty imposing piece of kit; conspicuous amid the usual clinic apparatus… I think my eyes probably lit up when I first saw it!”

After an enlightening chat with the machine’s minder, IDD Therapy UK’s Director Stephen Small, James asked to be harnessed up for a treatment himself.  With a computer-controlled force of half his body weight and a precise angle of distraction determined, James relaxed on the treatment bed and experienced the ‘ripple’ of the cyclical decompression.

“Everything that Stephen had explained, I could now feel.  Although the elements of traditional traction were there, I knew that the decompression and mobilisation was much more sophisticated; I could feel the targeted segmental pull opening up the disc space, the slow and consistent stretch and the oscillation at the point of maximum distraction: I certainly couldn’t achieve that with my hands – or with a traction machine.”

Accu Spina Glasgow
The AccuSPINA bed tilts upright to help patients on and off without added pain or difficulty

James went back to Scotland feeling positive about the treatment and after studying the clinical research, he was convinced that IDD Therapy was the way forward for his ‘difficult’ disc patients.

“I had no doubt that this treatment was going to improve the outcomes of my prolapsed disc and sciatica patients, the ones who were in limbo; not improving with manual treatments and possibly considering invasive procedures.

Once I’d made the decision to introduce IDD Therapy, things moved quickly: the AccuSPINA was installed by Autumn and integrated straight into our back pain services.

I already had patients who I felt would benefit from treatment so I started them on the programme first. The patients underwent a structured programme of treatments over a number of weeks, allowing them to adapt to treatment whilst progressively improving their spine function.

After some excellent outcomes and continued marketing support from Stephen and his team, word of mouth soon spread and we were featured in the regional press.   After that, we were inundated with patients from all over Scotland.  Referrals from GPs, consultants and colleagues followed.”

Six months later, James bought a second machine to meet patient demand at the clinic.

  “Between the two machines, we treat up to twenty IDD patients a day now; I guess we’ve carried out around 24,000 treatments over the last eight years.

Outcomes have been consistently good and patients really like IDD Therapy; they feel relaxed during the sessions and have great confidence in the treatment and the team.  The mechanical decompression forms part of a complete rehabilitation programme here, so patients also engage in exercises which are tailored to the progressive stages of treatment.

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 IDD Therapy patients can finally become pain-free and mobile again


It’s gratifying to be able to reassure patients that we have a spinal disc programme that works – and they  have a very good chance of finally becoming pain-free and mobile again.

Of course, it’s nine years on and we’re part of a bigger IDD Therapy Disc Clinic network now; it’s fantastic to see other clinicians in the UK engaging with the programme and doing more for the patients that need them the most.”

For more information about IDD Therapy at the Buckingham Clinic, call 0141 339 4340 or go to


About the Author:Stephen Small