Traction Therapy

Understanding Traction Therapy: How it Helps Relieve Musculoskeletal Discomfort

What is Traction Therapy, and How Does it Work?

Traction therapy is a manual procedure that aims to alleviate pain by reducing pressure on the affected vertebral discs. By manually stretching the spinal column, this therapy reduces pressure on the discs between the vertebrae. It encompasses various methods of applying mechanical force to separate the lumbar vertebrae along the entire axis of the spinal cord using longitudinal force. Put simply, It involves gently pulling the spinal cord in opposite directions to stabilize or modify the damaged spine sections.

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Types of Traction Therapy:

Traction therapy is often used as a part of physical therapy and can be applied to the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions of the spine. It is also sometimes used to treat conditions such as herniated discs, sciatica, and degenerative disc disease.

There are two ways to apply the therapy depending on your physical need. 

Manual traction: In this type, the physical therapist will use the hands to put you in the state of the traction. Then the skilled person will apply manual force at the muscles and joints to widen the space present between the vertebrae. The process may initially sound a little scary, but it is safe and effective if you undergo the procedure under the experts. It will be a less time-consuming procedure too. 

Mechanical traction: The process is special as it includes using mechanical devices to stretch the spinal vertebrae and muscles. The procedure will allow intermittent and continuous stretching while you are on the traction table. It will combine massage, vibration, and heat to achieve the desired impact. But before undergoing this type of procedure, you must undergo a thorough physical examination to see whether you are eligible for the treatment. 

Traction therapy is a non-invasive and safe treatment option for many spinal conditions. It is important to consult a medical professional to determine if traction therapy is appropriate for a particular individual's condition.

Risks of Traction Therapy:

Usually, there are no long-term risks associated with spinal tractions. But side effects can be there, and they will arise during or just after the treatment. Many patients experience mild or standard muscular spasms after the traction. You can also have some pain in the treated area. 

Benefits of Traction Therapy: 

Traction Therapy is highly effective in people suffering from chronic neck and spinal cord pain. 

  • Muscle relaxation

The problem is that the alignment of the vertebral column exerts undue pressure on the muscles. As a result, the muscles are constantly under stress. But the traction will help to relax the muscles and release the tension. 

  • Pain relief

The applied force helps in the controlled straightening of the spinal column. It will release the pressure that otherwise can cause pain. It will also allow a better physical environment to accelerate the healing process. 

  • Avoid surgeries

You can easily avoid surgical procedures by choosing the mechanical process of pain relief and spinal correction. The therapist or the machine will apply the necessary force.

  • Promotes overall healing

Accurate pressure application on the disc releases the healing nutrients that trigger the innate healing process of your body. Of course, it will encourage faster overall recovery. 

  • Complements other therapies

The process does not involve any surgery. Hence, undergoing other therapies like hot and cold therapy, electric stimulation, and ultrasound applications is completely safe. 

The entire process is minimally invasive. But you can experience the benefits only when you undergo the procedure with under-skilled practitioners with sufficient experience and knowledge to perform the mechanical or manual treatments. 

Exercises for Traction Therapy

Exercises can be done during or in combination with traction therapy to maximize the benefits of treatment. Exercises can be tailored to target specific areas, such as the neck, lower back, or whole spine, and can help to improve flexibility, strengthen muscles, and restore natural mobility. Some exercises that can be used in combination with traction therapy include: 

Neck exercises – Stretches and strengthening exercises that target the muscles in the neck and shoulder area;

• Back exercises – Stretches and strengthening exercises that target the muscles in the lower back, such as the core and back extensors;

• Core exercises – Exercises that target the abdominal and back muscles to improve strength and control in the core; 

• Strengthening exercises – Exercises to target the muscles in the spine, such as the quadratus lumborum and paraspinal muscles;

• Balance exercises – Exercises to improve balance and coordination, such as single-leg stands, heel-to-toe walking, and yoga poses. 

These exercises should be performed under the supervision of a physical therapist or certified exercise specialist, who can ensure that the exercises are being performed correctly and safely. 

Who Shouldn’t have Traction Therapy:

Mechanical traction therapy is not appropriate for all. Avoid the treatment if you have any condition from the following list:

  • Osteomyelitis and osteoporosis
  • Bone cancer
  • Spinal cord diseases
  • Cardiac problems
  • Spinal fractures
  • Arthritis

By analyzing your medical history, allow your physician to decide whether the risks are worth the reward. 

How to Prepare for Traction Therapy:

The preparation phase involves consulting the doctor to create a complete and well-managed physical therapy plan. Spinal traction acts as an enhancer for various other therapies. You may have to do some exercises regularly if the physician recommends at-home exercises. But it is not at all a mandatory part of the story. 

Recovery: What happens after Traction Therapy: 

The traction's overwhelming impact will help you live a better life. The common results include:

  1. Pain relief as the process will release all stress and pressure that cause pain. 
  2. Proper alignment of the spinal cord for better body posture. 
  3. Decompression of joints and nerves.
  4. Stretching the bones and muscles to strengthen them for combat against the gravitational impact.

Related Therapies:  

The right combination of traction and physiotherapy can yield great results, especially when you suffer from conditions like a herniated disc or a misalignment of the spinal column due to some injuries. Pain relief is pointless if it is temporary. So you can undergo the procedure safely and bid farewell to lumbar pain once and for all.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of traction therapy?
Traction therapy aims to relieve pain, reduce pressure, and improve the spine's range of motion and flexibility.
How much does traction therapy cost?
The cost of traction therapy can vary depending on the type of traction therapy, the therapist's expertise, and the treatment length.
Are there any side effects or safety risks associated with traction therapy?
While traction therapy is generally considered a safe treatment for relieving pain, there are potential side effects, including temporary pain or discomfort, headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Side effects can be reduced by ensuring the therapeutic force is adjusted appropriately and only performed by a trained and competent physical or occupational therapist.

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Log online and fill out our online registration page and get to book an appointment with us at PhysioTattva.
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