OBJECTIVE: To compare the effects of intermittent mechanical traction with spinal decompression therapy (SDT), using the newly introduced device DRX 3000(R), in patients suffering from low back pain associated with lumbosacral disc herniation documented on MRI. METHOD: Thirty-five patients with low back pain with or without lower extremity radiating pain were prospectively enrolled in this study. They were all diagnosed with lumbosacral disc herniation according to physical examinations and MRI. Patients over age 60 years or those with previous spinal surgery, spondylolisthesis, severe osteoporosis, rheumatic diseases, hypertension, and other serious medical problems were excluded. Patients were randomly assigned to intermittent mechanical traction group (15 patients) or SDT group (20 patients) and compared visual analog pain scale (VAS) pre- and post-treatment. RESULTS: There was a significant improvement in VAS in SDT group compared to intermittent mechanical traction group. The mean reduction in VAS for intermittent mechanical traction group equaled 1.93+/-0.83 (from 6.4+/-1.28 to 4.5+/-1.22) while the mean reduction in VAS in SDT group equaled 4.35+/-2.21 (from 6.9+/-1.86 to 2.6+/-1.43) (p=0.0006). CONCLUSION: Spinal decompression therapy can be used as an effective treatment for discogenic low back pain without serious complications.