So is cervical traction the right type of therapy for you? Well to understand that, there is a few things you should know about cervical traction.
Where is this pain coming from?
The pain and stiffness your feeling in your neck may be caused by a compressed or flattened disc in your cervical spine. A compressed disc wont have the same ability to retain hydration or the same shock absorbing characteristics that a healthy disc should. Also, by compressing the disc, the nerve endings that reside there wont have the space they require. This can result in a pinched nerve or sciatica. Sciatica can be felt as pain that starts at the shoulders and can move down the arms all the way into the fingers. In back pain, sciatica can be felt going down the legs into the toes.
What’s causing this compression?
A compressed disc can be caused by a number of things in our day to day life. Some of the most common are reasons for a compressed disc are poor posture, prolonged straining and repeated exaggerated movements, often caused at work. Sometimes even the pull of gravity on our bodies can cause problems, especially as we age.
How cervical traction can help you
Cervical traction therapy, or decompression therapy as its also known as is a type of treatment used by physicians to treat compressed, bulged or herniated discs. This treatment has been used for years in a clinical setting but is beginning to make its way into patients homes by way of products like the Pronex. It works by stretching the muscles and vertebrae in the neck in order to allow the discs the space they require to maintain healthy hydration. Certain types of neck stretching exercises can help to improve this as well.
When a disc is compressed it loses its ability to retain the natural lubricant your body creates. This will also prevent the disc from maintaining its important shock absorbing characteristics. When the vertebrae is stretched repeatedly using traction therapy, the space between the individual components of the cervical spine is increased allowing the discs to go back to their natural shape and preventing any forms of sciatica from occurring.
Types of cervical traction therapy devices
There are a number of cervical traction devices on the market. They range from expensive commercial units found in a clinical setting, to smaller, portable home units, such as the Pronex. There are a few different home based units on the market. They vary in price from 20 dollars to about 1000 dollars and some tend to get better results than others.
There are what are known as “over-door’ traction devices which are generally very cheap. They involve securing your head into a harness, attaching the harness to a cable which is run through a pulley system and attached to a weight on the other end, usually a bag of water. This whole assembly is usually hung from an open door and is performed standing up. For some, this may be an effective form of treatment but for others it may be to difficult to perform. lifting the bag of water and attaching and detaching it could be tricky.
Another form of traction therapy is known as inversion therapy. This type of therapy is meant to target the back, usually the lower spine, but uses the same principle idea as cervical traction therapy. The patients body weight is utilized by means of an inversion table. The patient lies on the table face up, secured to the table by ankle straps and then the table is inverted backwards. This type of therapy can be effective for treating compression of the lower sections of the spine, but does little for the cervical spine. Keeping that in mind, it is effective in maintaining the natural hydration of the discs in the spine and should be considered as regular maintenance in order to maintain a healthy vertebrae.
*Be sure to consult with your physician before beginning any type of traction therapy