Spinal traction is a treatment for neck or low back pain that involves lightly PULLING on your head or back to create space between the bones in your neck (your cervical vertebrae). Cervical or lumbar traction can be done either by your healthcare provider or by yourself at home.
Traction can be applied manually to shoulders, hips, ankles, knees and other joints to relieve pain.
Cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) traction machines have been in use for decades. It has only been recently that a slick marketing campaign has been done to rebrand it as "decompression".
TRACTION = DECOMPRESSION!
Yes! Your Physiotherapist will always screen you for any contraindications or red flags.
We will often try manual traction first as a test. We appreciate your feedback on the amount of pull and how much it relieves your pain and tingling.
On the machine we stay with you for the first few minutes and provide you with a bell and emergency stop button (that is rarely used!)
Pulling gently on the spine reverses some of the effects of gravity, opening up the joints and spaces (intervertebral foraminae) where the nerves come out of the spine.
This can relieve pain from arthritis, disc protrusions and poor posture, and can be a vital part of your care plan.
We always start with a very gentle amount of pull to ensure you are able to relax. Some patients express they are worried it will hurt or pull too hard, but are always reassured during the experience.
If your symptoms are worsening while on the machine you have a button to turn it off and call us. This is an extremely rare occurrence because of our stringent criteria and assessment prior to your first session.
There are many types of home traction units. Some involve your own hands and a towel! Please ask us for advice as not all units are comfortable.
We are able to order the high quality ones on your behalf and teach you how to use the traction unit.
A good example of lumbar home traction is a tilt table. Unfortunately, people with gastric reflux or high blood pressure are not able to use these machines.
Clarkson Sports & Physiotherapy
1400 Lakeshore Road West, Mississauga, Ontario L5J 1J1, Canada
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