Physical therapists and massage therapists often utilize a variety of “manual” techniques when they are working with their clients. Manual techniques are specially created movements that are designed to safely work with joints and the soft tissues throughout the body.
Manual traction is one of those manual techniques. Manual traction is used by therapists to perform spinal decompressions. Spinal decompressions are important when it comes to relieving pressure on the segments that make up the vertebrae and spinal column.
Manual Traction is Also used for the Following
- Bulging Discs
- Herniated Discs
- Spinal Stenosis
- Pinched nerves
- Bone Spurs
Spinal traction has the potential to strengthen the spine and in turn, improve the bodies ability to self-heal. It is useful for a variety of conditions that benefit from countering the effects of gravity on the spine.
The Difference Between Manual Traction and Mechanical Traction
Mechanical traction involves the use of mechanical tools that are designed to stretch the spine. These tools often include slings and pulleys that are attached to the body while a client is on the table. The slings, pulleys, and other tools mechanically relieve the pressure.
Manual traction is done by hand and is generally preferred by most people who are in need of decompression. With manual traction, the therapist can adjust as necessary in accordance with how they feel the area responding.
When Spinal Traction Should be Avoided
In rare circumstances, spinal traction may worsen conditions or lead to increased pain and injury. This can be avoided if you know ahead of time that traction isn’t for you. If you have osteoporosis or have certain types of cancer, it is agreed by most therapist that traction should be avoided.
Spinal traction is generally safe for people who do not have pre-existing health conditions. However, it is common to experience minor side effects like muscle spasms after a treatment.