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"What is Cervical Traction Device?"

A traction device is an apparatus designed to decompress the lumbar or cervical spine.  Professionals such as chiropractors and physical therapists alike use traction devices to treat conditions like back pain, bulging discs, herniated discs and sciatica all the time.  When a physical therapist uses a traction device, it must be prescribed by a physician for treatment with an indication of duration and frequency of use.

A traction device may also be implemented for use at home.  Often times these traction devices can consist of a pneumatic pressure mechanism to function or a complex use of a rope and pulley system.  Traction devices sold for retail can range in price from 30 to 300 dollars depending on the manufacture.

How does a traction device work?

The basic principle of any traction device is to decompress the spine by pulling it apart.  While they may not be very specific (meaning they rarely target only the affected area) they can perform well enough to get results.  In theory, taking pressure off of pinched nerves in the spine can be an effective course of action to use in ones own treatment plan.  It is my opinion that these traction devices can be a wonderful addition to you back pain therapy “tool box”.  Traction devices will be the most effective for the diagnosis of a bulging or herniated disc.

Where to use a traction device?

As mentioned, a traction device can be used in a professional setting or in the comfort of your own home.  And I believe you can have the same or similar results in either location.  I have seen lumbar traction done using sophisticated traction devices that cost thousands of dollars.  At the same time I have witnessed first hand what a handful of dollars can do with a smidget of hard work and little bit of ingenuity.  Please see what I have outlined in my free guide titled, “lumbar traction at home”, for several ways you can do lumbar traction at home. 

You may also perform cervical traction at home using a make shift traction device.  I have made available via video demonstration and written instructions just how to create your own cervical traction device.  It has proven itself to be a very practical and inexpensive way to mimic some larger and more expensive traction devices. 

Who should use a traction device?

Before using a traction device, make sure it is appropriate for your condition.  In some instances, like spinal instability, lumbar and cervical traction can be contraindicated.  Using a traction device in the presence of spinal instability should never be performed.  Please check with your physician to make sure a traction device is safe for you to use for either neck or back pain therapy. 


Tommy Hoffman, P.T. By Tommy Hoffman, Licensed Physical Therapist


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