What is cervical traction?
Traction of the spine, known as cervical traction, is a popular treatment for neck pain, related injuries and as an addition to a chiropractic adjustment. Essentially, cervical traction pulls your head away from your neck to create expansion and eliminate compression. It’s considered to be an alternative treatment for neck pain, helping people avoid the need for medication or surgeries. It can be used as part of a chiropractic treatment or on your own at home.
Cervical traction devices lightly stretch the neck to reduce pressure on the spine by pulling or separating the vertebrae. It’s said to be both highly effective and fast-acting. Read on to learn more about this technique and how it can be of benefit to you.
Benefits of cervical traction
Cervical traction devices treat different types and causes of neck pain, tension, and tightness. Cervical traction helps to relax the muscles, which can significantly relieve pain and stiffness while increasing flexibility. It’s also used to treat and flatten bulging or herniated disks. It can alleviate pain from joints, sprains, and spasms. It’s also used to treat neck injuries, pinched nerves, and cervical spondylosis.
Cervical traction devices work by stretching the spinal vertebrae and muscles to relieve pressure and pain. Force or tension is used to stretch or pull the head away from the neck. Creating space between the vertebrae relieves compression and allows the muscles to relax. This lengthens or stretches the muscles and joints around the neck.
These improvements may lead to improved mobility, range of motion, and alignment. This will allow you to go about your daily activities with greater ease.
A 2017 meta-analysis of studies analyzed the effectiveness of cervical traction in relieving neck pain. This report found that the treatment significantly reduced neck pain immediately following treatment. Pain scores were also reduced in the follow-up period. More in-depth, high-quality studies are needed to learn more about the long-term effects of this treatment.
A 2014 study found that mechanical traction was effective in treating people with pinched nerves and neck pain. Mechanical traction was more effective than exercising alone or exercising in addition to using over-door traction.
How it’s done
There are several ways to do cervical traction, either with a chiropractor or on your own at home. Your chiropractor can help you to decide upon the best method to suit your needs.
Your chiropractor may recommend that you buy cervical traction equipment to use at home. Certain devices may require you to have a prescription. Cervical traction devices are available online or to purchase at Bandana Wellness. Your doctor will show you how to use the device properly before you use it on your own.
It’s important that you check in with your chiropractor even if you’re doing a home treatment. They’ll make sure you’re doing the best treatment, measure your progress, and adjust your therapy as necessary.
Over-the-door cervical traction
An over-the-door traction device is for home use. You attach your head and neck to a harness. This is connected to a rope that’s part of a weighted pulley system that goes over a door. This can be done while sitting, leaning back, or lying down.
Side effects and warnings
Generally, it’s safe to perform cervical traction, but remember that results are different for everyone. The treatment should be totally pain-free.
It’s possible that you can experience side effects such as headache, dizziness, and nausea upon adjusting your body in this manner. This may even lead to fainting. Stop if you experience any of these side effects, and discuss them with your doctor or physical therapist.
It’s possible for you to injure your tissue, neck, or spine. You should avoid cervical traction if you have:
postsurgery hardware such as screws in your neck
a recent fracture or injury in the neck area
a known tumor in the neck area
issues or blockages with vertebral or carotid arteries
It’s important that you follow any safety instructions and recommendations provided by your doctor or by the manufacturer. Make sure you’re performing the movements correctly and using the appropriate amount of weight. Don’t overexert yourself by doing cervical traction for too long. Discontinue use if you experience any pain or irritation or if your symptoms get worse.
Cervical traction exercises
There are several exercises that can be done using cervical traction devices. Make sure to listen to your body and go to your own edge or threshold in terms of stretching and the duration of your exercises.
To use an over-the-door neck traction device, you’ll usually you’ll start with about 10–20 pounds of pulling force, which can be increased as you gain strength. Your chiropractor can recommend the right amount of weight for you to use. Pull and hold the weight for 3-5 seconds and then slowly release. Continue this for 10-100 repetitions at a time. You can do this a few times throughout the day.
You may also wish to incorporate stretching into your daily routine. You can use accessories such as exercise balls or resistance bands. Yoga is another great tool to relieve neck pain, and there are plenty of cervical traction exercises your chiropractor may be able to recommend that do not require any equipment aside from a bed or table.
Cervical traction may be a safe, wonderfully effective way for you to resolve neck pain and to benefit your chiropractic adjustments. It may provide you with numerous improvements to your body, inspiring you to do it often. Ideally it will be effective in relieving neck pain and enhancing your overall function.
Always talk to your chiropractor before beginning any treatment. Touch base with them throughout your therapy to discuss your improvements as well as any side effects. They can also help you to set up a treatment plan that addresses exactly what you need to correct.