traction

Manual Cervical or Lumbar Traction

Spinal traction done for therapeutic purposes comprises of either manually or mechanically created forces in order to stretch and mobilize the spine. Spinal traction helps in relieving back pain by stretching the tight muscles of the spine which result from spasm. Spinal traction also helps widen the intervertebral foramen so that the nerve root impingement is relieved thus relieving back pain and radiating pain.

Techniques in spinal traction depend partly on the patient’s physical condition, disorder, tolerance level and the level of the spine to be treated. Spinal traction may be applied manually, positional or mechanically. Spinal Traction can be applied intermittently or as a continuous force. Each patient is different and unique and what is effective for one patient may not be as effective for another. Therefore, each potential patient is evaluated thoroughly before starting the spinal traction treatment. This evaluation allows the therapist to decide on the type of spinal traction to be used, the force/weight of the traction and the length of treatment.

Cervical spinal traction is used for the short-term treatment of neck pain. It is designed to relieve muscle spasms and nerve root compression. Using a manual (hands only) or mechanical technique, a steady or intermittent force is applied to the neck to stretch the muscles and soft tissue and open up the spaces between the upper vertebrae. The physical therapist determines the amount of force and length of time a person remains in traction. Slowly, over time, the amount of pressure is increased.

Similarly, lumbar traction is the continuous or intermittent application of force to the spine either manually or mechanically. The goal of lumbar traction is to reduce the pain associated with nerve root impingement and muscle spasms. It is also used to treat degenerative disc disease, herniated or protruding discs and osteoarthritis. As with cervical spinal traction, the process separates the space between vertebrae, which decompresses discs, alleviates pain and supports healing.

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