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Spinal Traction

Mirror image (opposite posture) postural corrective exercises and a new method of trunk-list spinal traction resulted in 50% reduction[citation needed] in trunk list and were associated with nearly resolved pain intensity in this patient population. The findings warrant further study in the conservative treatment of chronic low back pain and spinal disorders.


Spinal decompression
Spinal traction as a means of spinal decompression is often applied without directly touching bones as other methods of traction do. This is sometimes isolated inside-out by inflatable girdles or use of the transverses abdominis muscle. It is also done in conjunction with thigh-supported flexed-hip traction (inversion chairs, back hyperextensions) or done in conjunction with whole-leg traction (boots, tables) via inverted forms of suspension.


Traction of the spine (ignoring the cervical) also occurs with upright suspension, such as with pull-ups (exercise), dips (exercise), captain’s chair, or other fitness movements with the feet dangling.


The purpose of traction is to:

  • regain normal length and alignment of involved bone
  • lessen or eliminate muscle spasms
  • relieve pressure on nerves, especially spinal and prevent or reduce skeletal deformities or muscle contractures

In most cases traction is only one part of the treatment plan of a patient needing such therapy. The physician’s order will contain:

  • Type of traction
  • Amount of weight to be applied
  • Frequency of neurovascular checks if more frequent than every four hours
  • Site care of inserted pins, wires, or tongs
  • The site and care of straps, harnesses and halters
  • The inclusion of any other physical restraints / straps or appliances (e.g., mouth guard)
  • the discontinuation of traction


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