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Spinal decompression increases height?
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Questions in the Chiropractic Care Forum are being answered by Dr. Adam Tanase, a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic. Topics covered include Muscle Pain, Nerve Pain, Movement Disorders, Subluxation, Upper Cervical Care, Pain Management, Health Care Alternatives, and Wellness Care.

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Spinal decompression increases height?

Theres a lot of b/s information on the internet, and I'm just wondering if any of this is true.

If you google "spinal decompression", many sources tell of incidents where a person will temporarily gain anywhere from a 1/2 inch to 2 inches of height due to spinal decompression. Astronauts in space have cited this phenomenon, claiming 2 inches in temporary increased height due to the lack of gravity compressing their spine. This supposedly also occures when sleeping in a bed overnight due to the decompression caused by laying on your back, and that many people experience an inch or two of "morning height" when they wake up, which is usually gone by the end of the day due to pressure put on the spine during the day from gravity and every day "wear and tear" on the body such as heavy lifting.

The theory is that if you are a healthy, physically active person (such as an athelete) and you practive spinal decompression EVERY day for 20 minutes or so using a "door gym" (one of those exercise bars installed in a door way) to hang upside down to let the effects of gravity decompress your spine, you can train your spine to become stronger and thus resist the effects of gravity and heavy lifting on your spine, making the "morning height" slightly more permanent. If you stop the exercises of course the effects will deteriorate rapidly, so you have to do it every day religiously.

It sounds like it makes sense, but I wanted to get the advice of a medical professional to be certain.
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514494_tn?1376514748
Well, there's some truth to what you mention... discs are thickest in the morning and thinner by the end of the day. 1-2 inches is a bit inflated... 1/2 inch is more like it.

I don't believe that you can train your spine to permanently resist the effects of gravity. Gravity will win every time.

Sounds like hype if you ask me.
3 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Yes! I do experience the same I'm 1/4 of an inch taller in the morning, but why then my lower back is stiffer and hurts more in the morning than in the evening
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514494_tn?1376514748
Stiffness ensues after being immobilized for a period of time. Sleep is your body's way of "immobilizing" you so that it can heal itself. So it's only logical that when we wake up, joints will have a relatively decreased ROM with muscles being shorter.

In healthy/young people, this won't hurt. However, in patients with disc degeneration, muscle atrophy, spinal imbalance, etc, it will be an unpleasant experience until they get up and get moving... which is what happens to you throughout the day - movement.

Warm wishes,
AT
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514494_tn?1376514748
Adam Tanase, D.C.Blank
St Louis Chiropractor: www.drtanase.com
St. Louis, MO
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