There are many types of disorders known to cause back pain including those defined as mechanical and/or compressive. Mechanical back pain commonly stems from injury or a degenerative process affecting discs, joints, ligaments and/or muscles. Pain from an irritated or 'compressed' nerve root, such as in Sciatica, is termed compressive pain.
Conservative forms of treatment may include non-
Spinal Traction -
Therapeutic spinal traction uses manually or mechanically created forces to stretch and mobilize the spine. Traction may alleviate back pain by stretching tight spinal muscles that result from spasm and widen intervertebral foramen to relieve nerve root impingement.
Each patient is unique and what works well for one patient may not be appropriate for another. Therefore, each prospective patient is carefully evaluated prior to treatment. This assessment enables the therapist to make decisions about the type of traction to be utilized, the force/weight of distraction, and the duration of treatment.
The goal of traction is to reduce pain to assist the patient to become more functional. Therapy should be relaxing -
Techniques applied in spinal traction are dependent in part on the patient's physical condition, disorder, individual tolerance, and the spinal level(s) to be treated. Application of traction may be manual, positional, or mechanical. Traction may be applied as a continuous force or intermittently. The techniques presented below are not all inclusive.
Manual therapeutic traction is a hands' on approach. The patient lies in a relaxed and comfortable position on the table supine. The therapist carefully positions their hands in such a way to support the patient's head during distraction. The force is gentle, stable, and controlled.
During traction the therapist may reposition the head to one side, flex, or extend the neck using their hands. A change in head position during traction may affect more positive results in reducing the patient's symptoms.
A mechanical traction device used to treat the cervical spine is comprised of a head halter with over-
Manual Lumbar traction involves distracting almost half of the body's weight and therefore requires more of the therapist's strength. After the patient is positioned, the therapist may pull at the ankles, once again using controlled force. Another technique involves draping the patient's legs over the therapist's shoulders. The therapist then steadily pulls with their arms positioned across the patient's thighs. An alternative is a pelvic belt with straps used for distraction.
Mechanical traction may incorporate the use of a motorized split-
When the structural integrity of the spine is compromised, such as in osteoporosis, infection, tumor, or cervical rheumatoid arthritis, traction is not a treatment option. Physical conditions such as pregnancy, cardiovascular disease, hernia, and in some cases TMJ, exclude patients from spinal traction. In these situations, the forces used in traction (movement) could potentially be dangerous.
Therapeutic spinal traction is not a new concept. Today, the first patient to experience spinal traction would be more than 100 years old! Since then, many studies have been conducted to determine the efficacy of spinal traction. However, these have proved inconclusive.
Susan Spinasanta(http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article1481.ht ml)