HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

Diseases & Conditions A - Z
powered by Talix

Spinal Traction

What is a spinal traction?

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.

What does spinal traction do?

Spinal traction stretches the spine to take pressure off compressed discs. This straightens the spine and improves the body's ability to heal itself.

Candidates

People with spinal conditions benefit from this therapy because the traction reverses the force of gravity. It is most commonly used to treat:

  • slipped discs
  • bone spurs
  • degenerative disc disease
  • herniated discs
  • facet disease
  • sciatica
  • foramina stenosis
  • pinched nerves

What are the side effects of spinal traction?

Spinal traction can sometimes cause pain that is worse than the original condition. Those with osteoporosis and certain types of cancer should not use traction therapy.

Spinal traction is known to cause muscle spasms. Most doctors are prepared for this to happen during or after therapy.

How is spinal traction administered?

Spinal traction therapy can be administered manually or mechanically, depending on your needs.

Manual spinal traction

In manual spinal traction, a physical therapist uses their hands to put people in a state of traction. Then they use manual force on the joints and muscles to widen the spaces between vertebrae.

Mechanical spinal traction

In mechanical spinal traction, you will lie on a table that has special tools to stretch the spine. A physical therapist will attach a series of ropes, slings, and pulleys to your body to mechanically relieve pressure.

What are the benefits of spinal traction?

Spinal traction is a non-surgical way to relieve pain and correct problems in the spine. While it does have some potential side effects, spinal traction offers consistent relief for most people.

What are the risks of spinal traction?

There are no long-term risks of spinal traction. Some side effects may occur during or after treatment. Many people experience muscle spasms after traction. Some have pain in the treated areas.

Spinal traction is not for everyone. A physician can determine if the risks are worth the potential rewards based on your medical history.

How can you prepare for spinal traction?

Before undergoing spinal traction, you must speak with your doctor to create a total-management physical therapy plan. Spinal traction often works as an enhancement for other therapies.

A physician may recommend at-home exercises before spinal traction. This is usually not required.

What are the results of spinal traction

The results of spinal traction include pain relief, proper spinal alignment, and decompressed joints. Spinal traction stretches the muscles and bones in the back to combat the effects of gravity. Under the right circumstances, this could significantly improve the way you move and feel throughout the day.

What is the outlook after spinal traction?

With the help of other physical therapies, many people find great success with spinal traction. Treatment reduces pain and the body is more capable of healing itself. Some people only need spinal traction therapy for a short period of time. Others need it throughout their lives.


Content licensed from:

Written by: Heaven Stubblefield
Medically reviewed on: Oct 11, 2016: William Morrison, MD

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
health
TOOLS
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Drugs A-Z
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.

Eating Raw Cookie Dough is Even Riskier, FDA Warns

The FDA issued an official warning regarding the E. coli risk associated with consuming raw cookie dough containing contaminated flour.