manual therapy Glen Burnie, MD

Mechanical Traction

Traction techniques have been utilized in physical therapy for decades.  There is mechanical and there is manual traction. In our clinic, we have mechanical cervical (neck) and lumbar (back) traction devices, however, we favor manual traction that is delivered either directly from hand contact on the body or, as shown in the picture, utilizing hands-on techniques including at times a strap for leverage.

The purpose of manual traction treatment is to provide a very specific and controlled distraction force to the spine or joint to relieve pain or compression. It can help with the “pinch” of a herniated disc or the compression that occurs in a joint with arthritis.

While the terminology in some clinics has changed from traction to decompression, the mechanical basics are essentially the same. Traction is intended to:

  •       Regain normal length and alignment of involved bone.
  •       Lessen or eliminate muscle spasms.
  •       Relieve pressure on nerves, especially spinal.
  •       Prevent or reduce skeletal deformities or permanent muscle shortening.

We not only use traction in the clinic but will also educate you on how to perform self-traction or positional gapping at home. From the very first visit, we utilize manual traction treatment as a means to evaluate and treat physical pain. Using manual traction during our evaluation can tell us a lot about the root cause of your pain.