Active Spinal Decompression Therapy

 Active Spinal Decompression Therapy was Developed by

 Brian McKeever MPT, ATC, CEAS, Cert. DN 

Brian developed this program based on his own clinical research, clinically established protocols, and years of successful clinical application.  As a certified preferred provider of continuing education Brian has traveled the country teaching his evidence based treatment protocols.  He has successfully implemented his strategies with fortune 500 companies including the Intel Corporation.  Brian has been invited as a guest speaker for the NC Physical Therapy Association Conferences and was chosen to provide physical therapy services at the one of golf’s most prestigious events, the 2014 US Open at Pinehurst.

Our National Decompression Certification.

Brian is the only Physical Therapist in the region with an accredited National Decompression Certification. This program is accredited through Parker University in Dallas Texas and has been approved by the International Medical Advisory Board for Spinal Decompression.

Coupled with his manual therapy skills and his knowledge of spinal biomechanics, Brian developed Active Spinal Decompression Therapy to provide a safe, effective, and comprehensive treatment and continuum of care for a variety of lumbar dysfunctions.

Active Spinal Decompression Therapy will gently provide restoration of lumbar movement, restoration of optimal core strength and motor control, and facilitate and promote healthy lumbar discs.  All done while in the safe and effective position of  spinal decompression, to provide what we believe is the most comprehensive and effective spinal rehab protocol.

Second to protecting our spinal cord the main function of our spine is to provide us with a centralized supporting structure.  It’s like the center pole of a large circus tent or the mast of a ship.  But this is a static model and although the spines ability to statically support our body is impressive the most phenomenal attribute and function of our spine is that it can maintain our structural support while in motion.

Although most of us don’t perform athletic activities that demand this type of spinal movement, the fact remains that our spines are meant to move.








Utilizing our patent pending Decompression Device we can now safely and effectively improve your spinal mobility.

What is so important about having good spinal mobility?

We are living in a modern era where sitting is becoming more and more prevalent.  Prolonged sitting causes increased loads on our spines and even when sitting with good posture, your spine remains immobile and some muscles remain in a prolonged shortened position.

Our spines function best when all the segments are mobile and when all segments contribute to our movement.  When we lose flexibility of our spine, a cascade of events occurs over time that can contribute to spinal disc degeneration.  As seen in the previous athletic pictures it is easy to understand that spinal mobility is important for optimal movement but the main reason spinal movement is so important is that the spinal discs get their nutrition through the fluids that surround them.  They do this through a process called imbibition which can only occur with spinal movement.

Imbibition draws fluids into the spinal discs through our everyday movements which helps maintain the health of our spinal discs.

Think of it like this.  If you squeeze a sponge when it’s under water you push the water out of the sponge.  When you release the sponge the water is drawn back into the sponge.

Squeezing the sponge, is a compression force, followed by decompression, letting go of the sponge.  It is during the decompression, or releasing the sponge, that the fluids are drawn into the sponge.  Our spinal discs work in a similar manner. Our spines can handle compression forces if they are routinely followed by decompression. The spine was designed to go through natural movements that produce compression followed by decompression.  Therefore, during our everyday movements our spinal discs can continually draw fluids into the discs and remain hydrated and healthy.

Healthy spinal discs maintain proper space between each vertebral segment as seen in lumbar disc L4 below.  An unhealthy disc which does not have proper fluids will shrink and the space between the vertebral discs will narrow as in lumbar disc L5.  An unhealthy disc will also be more likely to herniate.

Active Spinal Decompression is a treatment designed to provide movements that mimic our spines natural spinal movements of compression and decompression, thus leading to improved spinal hydration and nutrition.

But!!!  Providing improved fluid intake to the discs and providing improved spinal mobility and flexibility is just half of the equation. We must also restore optimal motor control to have long term spinal health.  Prolonged sitting and spinal immobility not only contributes to disc degeneration and joint stiffness it also promotes muscle imbalances.

It’s not just about core STRENGTH, it’s about muscle balance and muscle COOPERATION. The definition of the word core is the central or most important part of something”.   We have small muscles called the Intertransversarii Medialis and Lateralis, Interspinalis, and Multifidus.  These are the most central and the most important of the core muscles, yet there is little focus on facilitating these muscles in most spinal rehab and core fitness protocols.

Why are these muscles so important?  To have “Muscle Cooperation” the muscles must get the proper sequential sensory feedback from all the muscles involved in performing any given movement.  Muscles with a greater number of sensory feedback receptors (mechanoreceptors) will provide the greatest amount of feedback.  These small core muscles have 3 to 4 times as many mechanoreceptors than the larger outer muscles.

Yes, the larger outer muscles are important and provide the power to move the spine but the density of mechanoreceptors in the smaller intersegmental muscles is much greater than their larger counterparts and establishes the significance of these smaller muscles.

The exercises that are performed during Active Spinal Decompression not only facilitates improved nutrition to the discs and improved joint mobility, but they are also designed to promote true core strength and provide optimal muscle balance and “muscle cooperation”.

Active Decompression Therapy utilizes our patent pending Decompression Device.

Advantages to utilizing our propriety Decompression Device:

  • Most other decompression devices utilize a thoracic harness to stabilize the trunk during decompression. A thoracic strap will inhibit diaphragm breathing and can create increased tension in the thoraco-lumbar musculature causing muscle spasms during decompression.  Since research shows that it takes less than ½ of our body weight to provide effective decompression, our device utilizes the patient’s body weight and the patient has control of the amount of decompression utilizing adjustable handles.  This allows for diaphragm breathing and complete relaxation of thoraco-lumbar musculature.
  • Most other decompression devices use a longitudinal pull to decompress the lumbar spine. Our device mimics our spines natural spinal movements re-creating our natural compression and decompression forces, thus leading to improved mobility and improved spinal hydration and nutrition the way nature intended.
  • Most other decompression devices are “plug and play”. The patient is strapped in and then left on the device unattended for a specific period.  Our device is continually controlled and monitored by a licensed practitioner.
  • No other decompression devise allows for active patient movement. Our device is also intended to facilitate optimal core strength and optimal lumbar motor control and utilizes resistance bands to perform true core strengthening while in a position of decompression.

Continuum of Care

Although we believe we have one of the most comprehensive and effective spinal rehab protocols there are many effective treatment approaches for spinal dysfunctions.  The problem is that research demonstrates that these successes are usually short lived.  We believe this is due to a poor continuum of care.  Research also demonstrates that giving a patient 3-4 pages of home exercises is ineffective as few patients remain compliant.

Active Spinal Decompression Therapy has a unique continuum of care which consists of only a few of the most important exercises.  We also have a patent pending device, The Ultimate Back Stretch, that allows our patients to self-manage their symptoms and perform their home exercises in a position of decompression while providing resistance to the inner core musculature.


“I played over 10 years in the NFL and got pretty banged up.  Brian’s back program has been great for me and has significantly helped relieve my back pain as well as improve my ability to play golf and enjoy my fitness routine” 

John Bunting    Linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles and former head football coach at UNC Chapel Hill.



“I was treated using Brian’s Back Machine and have been truly impressed by the effectiveness of this device and the techniques he is using.  This treatment he does seems very easy and gentle, and yet is extremely effective.  Moreover, I have been impressed by his enthusiasm love of his profession, genuine interest in healing methods and continuous learning and acquiring of new methods and techniques.  Brian’s approach to patient care, his ability to design a treatment focused on the patient’s needs and his perfected techniques makes him a truly extraordinary therapist.”

Milena. V, Ph.D. 

“I have received treatment for my back condition from a variety of practitioners throughout the years and many times got relief, but the pain always returned.  Brian’s device followed by his specific home routine has given me the long-lasting relief I have been searching for.”

Sara P.

“I want to thank you for keeping me mobile. I have never had a therapist that helped so much. I am grateful you are hands on and for your creation of the home back device. If not for it I would not be able to self-manage in between our sessions. It has kept me moving while traveling and helps a lot! Thank you!”

Chris M.

 “Everywhere else I went for treatment of my chronic back pain was exacerbated by the exercises and treatments and I was told I had to live with it.  One of the first things Brian told me was that my condition took time to develop and with proper treatment and guidance with time I would see improvement.  This approach is completely different from any other Physical Therapy I have received from his hands on treatment to the decompression exercises.  It’s Working!”

Barbara K.