What is Mechanical Traction in Chiropractic Care?

What is Mechanical Traction in Chiropractic Care?

Mechanical traction in chiropractic care is a treatment technique that involves using gentle force to stretch the spine and treat the target area of various musculoskeletal issues.

Musculoskeletal conditions like persistent back pain, joint pain, muscle spasms, and other related systems can disrupt your day-to-day life. Besides causing discomfort, these issues are notorious for limiting dexterity and mobility, thus reducing one’s ability to work and engage in physical activities. Fortunately, there are many chiropractic treatment options for alleviating musculoskeletal issues. One is mechanical traction, which has proven effective in treating disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system. Keep reading to learn more about mechanical traction in chiropractic care.

What is Chiropractic Mechanical Traction?

In chiropractic care, mechanical traction is a technique that uses force to gently stretch specific target areas on the spine in order to treat various musculoskeletal conditions. These conditions include back pain, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, pinched nerves, sciatica, and more. Since the therapy is mechanical, chiropractors often use specialized tools to generate the force applied.

What Does Mechanical Traction Do?

Mechanical traction involves using gentle force to stretch joints, muscles, and ligaments, therefore increasing space between the vertebrae. This therapy method promotes continuous stretching on a traction table with computer-based systems for applying the needed force. By increasing the space between the vertebrae and releasing pressure, mechanical traction helps treat musculoskeletal conditions, pinched nerves, and pain in the vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, and joints.

What are the Benefits of Mechanical Traction in Chiropractic Care?


Alleviation of Neck Pain and Muscle Spasms

One of the most common benefits of mechanical traction is relieving neck pain and muscle spasm. A professional chiropractor will apply pressure to your neck muscles and joints to realign them and reduce pain and discomfort. In addition, mechanical traction can help manage muscle spasms caused by a pinched nerve. Traction will release pressure from the affected nerve by manipulating it and its surrounding tissues, thus relieving spasms.

Spinal Column and Discs Alignment

Misaligned spinal columns and discs can result in several nerve and musculoskeletal issues, including reduced mobility, poor posture, and decreased range of motion. It can also result in respiratory problems and general poor health. The good news is mechanical traction can help align the column and discs back to their rightful positions. Better alignment is advantageous in maintaining a good posture and inhibiting pain.

Enhanced Mobility and Range of Motion

Another perk of mechanical traction is enhanced mobility and range of motion, which significantly promote general well-being. This treatment technique can improve mobility by properly aligning the spine to boost muscle function and reduce stiffness. Like other chiropractic treatments, mechanical traction can help enhance the range of motion in your joints and muscles through adjustments and manipulation.

Minimal Discomfort

A handful of chiropractic treatment techniques are infamous for being painful, causing discomfort during and after therapy. But this is not the case with mechanical traction – it is a gentle method with minimal to no discomfort during treatment. In addition, it has minimal after-treatment side effects like muscle soreness and fatigue.

Treat Nerve Compression Symptoms

Mechanical traction is also beneficial in reducing nerve compression symptoms. These symptoms include reduced sensation, muscle weakness and sharp, aching pain in the affected area. Traction alleviates the symptoms by stretching and aligning nerves in the affected bones, joints, or muscles.

Seven Kinds of Mechanical Traction Methods Applied in Chiropractic Care


Manual Cervical Traction

This technique is often recommended for neck pains. In manual cervical traction, a chiropractor uses their hands to manually pull your head to open spaces between the neck’s bones (cervical vertebrae). The spaces created lessen tension and pressure in the neck, thereby reducing pain.

Cervical Traction

Cervical traction is a remedy for neck pain that involves pulling the head to create space between the cervical vertebrae. Depending on your condition, this method can be done manually or by using a cervical traction device.

Lumbar Traction

Lumbar traction is a common treatment for lower back pain. It involves applying pressure to the lumbar vertebrae to separate the spaces between them. The spaces relieve unwanted pressure off the affected muscles, bones, and joints to decrease pain and improve mobility.

Spinal Decompression Therapy

Spinal decompression therapy, also known as spinal manipulation, is a treatment used to reduce pressure on the spine’s neural components to relieve pain and related symptoms. The therapy can either be surgical or nonsurgical. Surgical spinal decompression therapy involves opening up the body and includes various procedures like discectomy, laminotomy, corpectomy, and spinal fusion. Nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy is noninvasive and may include heat therapy, cold therapy, and nerve stimulation.

Intersegmental Traction

In intersegmental traction therapy, the chiropractor uses a specially designed table with two rollers moving up and down on either side of the spine to enhance relaxation and improve blood flow. This traction method aids blood flow and alleviates back pain, muscle spasms, and disc problems. It is also excellent for accelerating recovery from back injuries.

Pelvic Traction

Pelvic traction therapy entails applying mild force to separate adjacent bones or joints in the pelvic area in order to maintain their normal separation space. Your chiropractor will determine the amount of traction pressure and frequency applied during treatment. Besides treating pain in the legs, hips and lower back, pelvic traction helps manage spasms.

Extremity Traction

Widely used in treating fractured bones, extremity traction is a treatment method that uses a combination of pulleys, weights, and pins to augment the healing of broken bones. In extremity traction, a pin is put inside your affected bone to act as a base for a pulley system that generates a steady pulling force to realign fractured bones and enhance healing. This traction method is effective for managing fractures in the lower spinal area, the pelvis, hips, upper leg bone, lower leg bone, and upper arm bone.

Frequently Asked Questions


How does mechanical traction work?

Mechanical traction uses a special tool to apply balanced and controlled traction or decompression force to take pressure off different parts of your musculoskeletal system. This technique helps align the spine, therefore relieving many conditions, including neck pain, lower back pain, muscle spasms, herniated discs, and more.

What are examples of mechanical traction?

There are more than five examples of mechanical traction treatments. Cervical traction is used to manage neck pain, while lumbar traction is for pain in the lower back. Other examples include pelvic traction, spinal decompression therapy, and intersegmental traction.

What are the different types of chiropractic traction?

Two types of traction are used in chiropractic care: manual traction and mechanical traction. In manual traction, a chiropractor uses their hands to apply force on the affected parts to relax their muscles and joints. As for mechanical traction, physicians use specialized tools to generate the needed force instead of manually doing it. Nevertheless, both types of traction play the same role in treating musculoskeletal problems.

What are the three types of traction?

Three types of traction exist – skeletal, skin, and cervical traction. Skeletal traction involves using a pin, weight, and a pulley system to treat fractures. In skin traction, practitioners put adhesive tapes, bandages and splints to the skin directly on the affected area then the affected body part is aligned to its proper position using a pulley system.

What is the duration of mechanical traction?

The time spent administering mechanical traction ranges from thirty minutes to two hours, one to three times per week, depending on the issue. It takes three to twelve weeks for the treatment to work fully. Mechanical traction for severe issues like bone fractures can take more time.

What is mechanical traction therapy for back pain?

The mechanical traction therapy for back pain is lumbar traction. In this therapy, the chiropractor uses specialized tools to apply pressure on the lumbar vertebrae, creating spaces to release tension and reduce pain. Another viable mechanical traction therapy for back pain is spinal decompression therapy, designed to relax the spine and provide remedies for multiple back conditions.

What are the adverse effects of mechanical traction?

While mechanical traction presents many benefits, it has its fair share of adverse effects. These include pain aggravation, increased blood pressure, and fractures. Mechanical traction can also lead to severe headache, fainting, nausea, and tissue injury.

What is mechanical traction for fracture?

Exterity traction is the mechanical traction therapy for fracture. This traction involves using a pin, weight, and a pulley system to align a fractured bone and promote healing.

What is the process of traction?

The traction process necessitates applying gentle tension on specific parts of your body to stretch the skeleton and muscles. Traction effectively manages musculoskeletal issues, such as neck pain, back pain, and fractured bones. The traction force can be applied manually or mechanically.

How does traction work in physiotherapy?

In physiotherapy, traction pulls the vertebra apart, creating spaces between the bones. In addition to aiding muscle relaxation and easing pain, traction in physiotherapy is practical in restoring movement and functioning following an injury or illness.

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