Cervical Traction Therapy: Procedure & Benefits

Neck pain becomes one of the major health problems in the present society. The main reason behind this is continuous watching of television, usage of long term computer and mobile phones, etc. Because of this the neck muscles gets heavily fatigued which on long term leads to chronic neck pain.

Neck Traction Device
Neck Traction Device

The neck pain may also arise because of various other reasons like:

  • Neck muscle sprain,
  • Neck muscle strain,
  • Neck muscle spasm,
  • Cervical spondylosis,
  • Cervical intervertebral disc problems like prolapse, herniation, bulge, slip, etc.
  • Cervical rib,
  • Torticollis of neck,
  • Migraine headache,
  • Tension headache,
  • Meningitis, etc.

In case of cervical disc problems and cervical spondylosis the cervical spine nerves  and  disc gets compressed and may cause unbearable pain in the region.

This also leads to pain in the neck which radiates to the shoulders and upper limbs. In such conditions the disc decompression technique has to be applied immediately so that the compression will be relieved effectively and thereby causing the pain to drop down immediately.

The best method to remove the disc compression and the cervical spine nerve compression is using the cervical traction therapy or cervical traction physical therapy.

What is Cervical Traction Therapy?

People often doubt about the benefits offered by cervical traction and questions about whether does cervical traction work or not? All we can say that the cervical traction therapy is today the best medication free therapy to relieve the cervical compression in an effective manner.

It is most beneficial and acts like a boon during the emergency painful conditions where the person shouts and cries due to unbearable neck pain. Thus it can be said that the cervical traction therapy mainly helps for providing the instant relief from the neck pain.

The cervical traction unit consists of a retracting table or couch attached to a computerized traction device at the head side. The traction device consists of a cervical traction collar which is spongy in nature, a metal hook to catch the cervical collar and a retracting cable or wire which is fitted with the automatic machine.

In olden days the manual traction unit was used  where the person or the therapist will hang the appropriate metal weights towards the head side and it will relieve the compression. The main drawback in the manual method is that the decompression intensity will be continuous and it sometimes leads to muscle spasm and occipital headache to the patient.

But presently because of the technological development the manual traction therapy was replaced by the automatic computerized traction unit which has no drawbacks and moreover it acts more effective in relieving the cervical compression and pain.

Also Read: 10 Best Cervical Traction Devices for Pain Relief

Procedure of Cervical Traction Therapy

Taking cervical traction personally or giving the traction to another person is a very easy procedure. The person has to lie down on the traction couch on the spine side and the cervical collar should be placed comfortably on the front and back of the neck. Then the metal hook will be connected to the cervical collar.

After completing all these procedures the cervical traction device has to be set with appropriate frequency and the intensity should be raised.

Generally the time duration of a single sitting cervical traction therapy will be 10 to 15 minutes and the number of sittings will be decided according to the condition of the patient by the physician or the physiotherapist.

The cervical traction therapy has both intermittent and continuous frequency mode with which one can easily apply to the patient according to the severity of the condition.

Also Read: How Does Physical Therapy Benefits Neck and Back Pain?

What Does Cervical Traction Do and How It Benefits?

Cervical traction proves much beneficial for relieving/treating many different types of spine or cervical problems. Some of the common conditions which can be easily cured with this therapy include:

  • Pinched nerves
  • Bulging discs
  • Headaches
  • Cervical stenosis
  • Tightness in neck shoulder or back

Besides all the best benefits offered, there are certain cervical traction side effects seen. These are mostly seen when the traction device is not used properly or used without the enough knowledge about it.

It is worth noting that cervical traction should not be used in case a patient has got a spinal fusion surgery or is suffering from bone problems such as osteoporosis. It is best to get a prior consultation with your physician or physical therapist before you get the help of this therapy.

Also it is important to know about certain cervical traction contraindications before trying this therapy at home.

Cervical Traction Contraindications

The neck traction is contraindicated mostly in the patients who are suffering with structural disease less important to rheumatoid arthritis, tumor or infection, acute injury process or any condition which makes the movement contraindicated.

In that situation, various other cervical traction contraindications are recommended to get relief from acute sprains, strains and inflammatory conditions which may be aggravated with traction. Besides this, various forms of massage, devices and medicines are recommended to treat the problem and ensure better health and safety.

Osteomyelitis or bone infection is also a condition where experts do not suggest using cervical traction therapy for pain relief. As a slight pressure to the infected vertebrae region may cause weakness or fracture to the vertebrae bones this method should be avoided.

Finally, cervical traction is not recommended to apply to the excessive joint motion or hyper mobility which already exists in the cervical spine. Proper consultation and massage therapy is advised right to support the spinal vertebrae.

For more information, know in this video about the cervical traction technique and how it helps:

Cervical Traction Techniques – Video


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