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In spinal health care, traction refers to the practice of relieving pressure on the spine and neuro-musculoskeletal system by applying a distracting force to the ends of a particular spinal segment. 

As a treatment, traction should be performed in a monitored safe environment prior to purchasing any home unit. Significant harm can occur to patients who aren’t evaluated medically and cleared to use traction.

Discussion with your physician and/or therapist is strongly advised to determine if you are an appropriate candidate for traction.


Learn if you are a candidate for this treatment.



Spinal Traction Types

Cervical Traction

Traction is commonly used in the cervical spine to relieve pressure on the cervical nerve roots in patients with disc herniations, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis.

Cervical traction can be applied manually by a trained health care professional, and there are many different types of home traction units that can be purchased to provide temporary relief of symptoms for patients who show benefit in the clinic. 

The most popular at home method is an over the door model that uses a pulley system; many insurances may cover this as a medically necessary durable medical equipment if proved useful in the clinic.

Cervical traction is done either lying flat or sitting and uses weights to add distraction pressure to the neck. A simplified, inexpensive, over-the-door home cervical traction method is often used 5 minutes at a time, twice daily to treat both cervical pain and radiculopathy.

Lumbar Traction

The use of traction in the lumbar spine has much less supporting evidence. Because of the large amount of force needed to overcome the compressive forces in the lumbar spine, manual traction is usually not a viable option.

Many health care professionals, mostly chiropractor, advertise treatments with lumbar traction devices (e.g. DX-9000) and there are a number of inversion tables available for purchase on the internet which can be very costly.

Some patients may find some benefit to lumbar traction however, multiple treatments are usually necessary, and most patients find that long term treatment is not very beneficial. Home inversion tables have been associated with patient injuries and may exacerbate other health problems (e.g. High blood pressure) in improperly selected patients.


Contact us to learn if you are a candidate for this treatment.



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