Spinal traction is a form of decompression therapy that relieves pressure on the spine. It can be performed manually or mechanically. Spinal traction is used to treat herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, pinched nerves, and many other back conditions.
Many methods of spinal decompression lumbar traction have been used for the relief of lower back pain since the time of Hippocrates. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s years of 20th century it became widespread, and until today it is used by physiotherapists for threatening patients with low back pain and leg pain. Even if its effectiveness is still being questioned by some doctors, there are three proven benefits defined in a lumbar traction: distraction to increase the intervertebral space, tensing of the posterior longitudinal vertebral ligament and suction to draw the disc protrusion towards the center of the joint.
One of the non-surgical treatments for back pain relief is Spinal Traction, which can be performed manually or mechanically. It is a form of decompression therapy used to treat back pain caused by herniated discs, degenerative diseases, and nerve compression like sciatica.
Spinal traction relieves pressure from herniated discs and straightens the spine and provides consistent relief to patients. It does so by stretching tight spinal muscles and widening the intervertebral spaces to relieve nerve impingement.
Types of Spinal Mechanical Traction:
There are two method of administration of Spinal Traction Therapy:
1) Manual: Manual spinal stretching and vertebrae traction means that the therapist uses his hands to apply force to the patient’s body. It is used to treat mild spine compression. It is a medically accepted form of therapy and is widely practiced by rehabilitative professionals.
Figure 1. Manual Spine Traction Therapy
2) Mechanical: Mechanical Lumbar Back Traction makes use of a variety of tools to apply force to the vertebral column. Ropes, slings, and pulleys are some of the tools applied for this purpose. It may incorporate a special motorized traction table on which the patient lies. The traction device, comprised of a head halter and a pulley system, will slowly stretch your spine, making the vertebrae move into their proper position.
Figure 2. Mechanical Lumbar Spinal Traction
3) Detensor: Spinal traction lumbar pain relief mat has a rib structure is manufactured from a material that has a unique ability to adapt to the contours of the body. Compressibility and point elasticity it such that reached the neutral position of the spine in position on the side, back or stomach, due to the fact that Detensor’s ribs as support points are always under the body lying, and the surface and the base are designed in strict accordance with the weight (mass) of the body. And since the power of stretching depends on the body weight, it is always individual for each person (patient or healthy). As a result of this important characteristic is prevented overstrain muscles and ligaments, and, consequently, the possible trauma, unlike applies other devices and systems for the traction of the spine (“dry” stretching: Glisson loop tables with loops, underwater traction, etc).
The basis of the therapeutic effect of any traction of the spine is a mechanism to reduce pressure internal-disk. This ensures that the removed disc Hernia protrusion due to its absorption and self- straighten drive. This reduces or completely stops the tension disc of the posterior longitudinal ligament, which relieves pain and allows you to achieve lasting remission. With spondylography proved the possibility of extension of certain PDS and increase capacity for intervertebral disc.
Figure 3. Spinal Traction Therapy with Detensor Therapy Mat
Detensor system allows traction of the spine the gentlest way, exercising self-control, focusing on the patient’s body weight, and evenly distributing the force of traction, eliminating the excess load.
Contraindications for Spine Treatment with Traction:
Most practitioners agree that contraindications to cervical or lumbar traction include, but may not be limited to, the following diagnosis: Spinal cord tumor, Ligamentous instability, Primary or metastatic tumor, Osteomyelitis, Discitis, Clinical signs of myelopathy, Severe anxiety. It can also be potentially dangerous in physical conditions like pregnancy, hernia, fracture, and cardiovascular disease and hence should be avoided. Especially some traction devices (inversion tables, traction tables) have many well known side-effects and lawsuit cases.
Duration of Spinal Traction:
Each treatment can last up to 30-50 minutes and a total of 20 or more treatments may be required over five to seven weeks. The therapist initially uses less force during the procedure and then gradually increases it according to the patient’s tolerance level. However, the extent and seriousness of the disease determine the number of sessions required.
Benefits of Spinal Mechanical Traction:
Spinal Decompression / Traction is an effective way to get relief from back pain without surgery. It has no long-term risks or potential side effects and results in adequate spinal alignment. It works as an enhancement for other therapies and is easy to administer. In addition to help with the back pain, spinal mechanical traction therapy could improve general health conditions because of opening intra-discal spaces and increase oxygen and supplemental fluid flow into the spinal cord and spinal brain.
Therapeutic spinal traction is hundred-year-old concept. Many studies have been conducted to show its efficacy. Its goal is to relieve pain so that the patient becomes more functional. Many have benefitted from this therapy as it can enhance the healing process and render quick and amazing pain relief. For those who want to read more about spinal traction therapy and other options for lower back pain treatment, please read next article.