What is Traction?

If you’ve been exploring options for chiropractic care, you may have come into contact with a variety of chiropractic methods that range from stretching to diet modification to manual manipulation. You may even have encountered information on traction, which is a common chiropractic technique that involves the prolonged stretching of joints and ligaments in an attempt to relieve neural pressure.

Spinal nerve compression often affects individuals suffering from degenerative disc disease, facet disease, or arthritis of the spine. A compressed, pinched nerve can cause symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness – symptoms that spread as far as the fingers and toes. Therefore, traction is an attempt to “open up” spinal subluxations, or abnormalities, and gradually shift them back into their proper alignment so that nerve compression is eliminated.

Types of Traction

Traction approaches will vary based on the individual needs of the patient, but may include the following:

  • Mechanical traction – Motorized pulleys with adjustable tension settings stretch the patient.
  • Manual traction – The chiropractor may use his or her bare hands, or may use a manual pulley system, to stretch the patient’s spine. Weights may or may not be attached to the manual traction pulley system.
  • Anti-gravity traction – An inversion table is used so that the body weight of the patient exerts a downward stretch on the spine.

Other Forms of Chiropractic Care

Your chiropractor may also recommend massage, adjustments, ultrasound therapy, nutrition counseling, and therapeutic exercises and stretching as part of your overall treatment plan. Also, check with your doctor about additional options for nonsurgical pain relief, such as hot therapy, cold therapy, TENS, massage, and aquatic therapy.

If none of these conservative options provide you with relief from your symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our more effective outpatient procedures.