IDD Therapy – My back pain treatment today at Back Into Shape clinic in London

Today I visited the Back Into Shape clinic in Highgate North London  The clinic has been providing IDD Therapy with a SPINA spinal decompression machine for a year now and I took the opportunity to have a treatment.

I haven’t had an IDD treatment in quite some time so my body had forgotten what it was like. 

Working with IDD Therapy, people often ask me what is the difference between IDD Therapy and traction.  There is a technical answer or a simple one. I say, “go on the machine and you will understand the difference immediately”.

I think I would describe the feeling during IDD Therapy treatment as “comfortable, controlled power”.  You know you are having treatment; the pull or “distraction” from your pelvis is strong, yet you do not feel like it is going to be painful or cause you any harm. 

I’ve seen people on interesting traction devices and they are practically holding their breath to brace themselves during treatment!  Is it any wonder traction doesn’t work?


Time on the SPINA machine lasts 25 minutes. The intermittent pulling forces with oscillation are strong and during treatment you feel like a big pressure is being taken off your lower back. 

The pulling force used with each IDD Therapy treatment is calculated as a function of your body weight. 

When you first start, particularly if you have a long standing back problem, the pulling force is calculated at just under half your body weight.  With each new treatment, the pulling force is increased in increments as your body gets used to treatment.  Changes occur in the soft tissues to free movement in the lower back and they become better able to accept higher forces.

In my case today, the pulling force was 93lbs or 43kgs. 

Most back pain can be resolved with manual therapy and exercise.  Some people will argue that all back pain can be resolved with manual techniques alone; we do not agree with that and the incidence of back pain does not support that.

Without going into lots of detail here about treatment, I think of that pulling force in relation to a heavy weight.  If you have ever been to a gym, have you tried to pick up a 40kg weight?  It’s heavy! 

Applying such decompression forces is simply not possible with the hands alone for any period of time.  When you have 40+kgs of controlled distraction and mobilisation of your lower back, this is very different to a manual treatment.

At the end of my session today I can feel the changes.  You can feel slightly light headed from lying down and the work done on your lower back draws blood to the area.

I don’t have a back problem.  However, I do spend a lot of time at a computer or driving and with ageing, my lower back will become more stiff.  After a treatment I feel that my posture has been straightened out.  I feel I am walking taller and I feel that my lower back is less compressed.  That’s just one treatment.

After a treatment on a SPINA machine, IDD Therapy clinics will always put a cold pack on the area.  Muscles are subjected to forces they are not used to and so it is natural to feel some soreness after the first few treatments.  This is like doing any exercise after a period of inactivity, your body needs to get conditioned to it.  The cold calms things down.

IDD Therapy has taken some time to get going in the UK.  However, with more clinic owners deciding to find out for why there is so much excitement within IDD clinics, they go on the machines themselves and instantly “get it”.

The reason IDD Therapy is growing rapidly now is because die hard manual therapists who experience the treatment are seeing the opportunity to combine the new category of mechanical treatment with the best in manual therapy and exercise.  Good news indeed for back pain sufferers.

We always stress that IDD Therapy is not an appropriate treatment for all conditions, however, when it is suitable, it can make a real difference. 

But don’t take my word for it.  If you have a professional or personal interest in develpoments in back pain treatments, go along to an IDD Therapy treatment provider and find out for yourself.  If there isn’t one near you today, I am sorry for that; all I can say is that with time there will be! 

The early adopters in the UK and Europe are all passionate and have years of experience.  They are only too happy to let people understand for themselves the objectives and differences in IDD treatment and offer IDD as part of a mix of care.

If you’d like some information to learn more about IDD Therapy feel free to contact me Stephen Small at stephen.small @

Steadfast is the European distributor of IDD Therapy and SPINA machines.  Our business is to help clinics do more for their patients, it’s as simple as that.

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