If you have ever suffered acute body pain, you know how incapacitating it can be. One cause of back pain is the tight muscles of the spine. That can negatively influence your ability to participate in daily activities and your quality of life overall. For pain management, physical therapy might be right for you, as the expert physiotherapists in Singapore can tell you, as they help ease the pain and stress. This post discusses cervical traction and lumbar traction, focusing on the equipment used for the therapy and how physiotherapists use it.
Overview of cervical and lumbar traction
Spinal traction is the application of manually or mechanically generated forces to stretch and mobilize the vertebrae in the cervical or lumbar spine, depending on the patient’s condition. Traction of the cervical and lumbar spine can assist relieve back pain by stretching the spasmed muscles of the spine, which can cause those muscles to become tense.
Spinal traction helps enlarge the vertebral foramen, relieving pressure on the spinal muscles. That, in turn, can alleviate back discomfort and radiating pain, promoting the body’s natural healing process.
Spinal decompression, also known as traction, is a remedy that can help lessen discomfort in the neck and back by removing compression that may be causing the pain. A physical therapist can help determine if you are a good candidate for this treatment.
Neck and back pain: Possible causes
Neck and back pain can have many origins. It can be as simple as sleeping in an awkward position leading to a stiff neck, or it can be an accident sustained while playing sports that ends in a ruptured disc.
Back and neck pain is often caused by:
Most of us know that we need to improve our posture by sitting properly or standing erect. Both can lead to slouching, a habit that might eventually cause back or neck pain.
However, most of us sit at a desk for eight hours a day or more, often without checking our posture the whole time. And that doesn’t include our secret smartphone addiction, which has us slumping forward over the device throughout the day.
Herniated or ruptured disc
When a disc in the spine herniates or slips out of its normal position, it can cause severe discomfort in the back, muscles, and joints in the surrounding area. An injury often causes this to happen.
Back discomfort might be caused by a muscle strain or injury. Even though these kinds of wounds usually mend on their own quite fast, they can still produce a significant amount of pain that is both annoying and distressing.
This can cause irritation and deterioration of the joints throughout the body, spine, and back, contributing to bone spurs around vertebrae. Arthritis can also cause pain and stiffness in the joints. This results in significant discomfort.
How traction therapy equipment works
A traction device’s purpose is to lengthen the space between the vertebrae to alleviate pain and relieve pressure on the spine. Depending on the requirements, this can be accomplished by focusing more on the neck, the lower spine, or both. Although many people turn to traction for the above indications, it may also help release tension, reducing headaches and jaw pain.
Cervical and lumbar are the most common types of traction devices. The neck is the primary target of cervical traction therapy equipment, while the lower back is the area of focus for a lumbar traction device.
A range of traction equipment and techniques can be used in the treatment process, known as traction therapy. These methods can take the form of anything from a massage administered by a physical therapist to gravity tables, manual traction devices, and more.
At-home traction devices
There are several cervical and lumbar traction devices made for at-home use. Please note that the best approach is to see your doctor first for an accurate diagnosis. They will likely refer you to a physical therapist for a supervised, guided approach for your best needs.
The physical therapist may then suggest at-home traction equipment to supplement the one-on-one sessions with them. Follow their medical advice rather than risking further injuring yourself by self-diagnosing or trying a new treatment approach without medical approval first.
How to use a traction device at home?
Only once getting a physician or physical therapist’s approval should you use a traction device at home. I cannot stress that enough.
Typically, the device involves fastening it to the treatment area, either by inserting yourself within the device or anchoring it around your body. When ready to inflate or enlarge the device, after it has been properly fastened, you may use a pump or hand control, depending on the model.
Expanding the cervical or lumbar device will give you a light pull at your neck or back. The goal here is to widen the gap between your vertebrae and relieve any pressure there to help relieve pain.
The best of cervical and lumbar traction therapy equipment
Here are four of the most popular traction therapy devices for cervical and lumbar:
1. Saunders Cervical Home Traction Device
The Saunders Cervical Traction Device comes in a carry bag for easy portability. It has three different adjustable angles, with a pressure gauge that is easy to read and a hand-held pump.
It applies pressure to the neck and jaw. Saunders produces some of the most effective traction devices available today.
2. Dynamic Cervical Traction Wedge
The Dynamic Cervical Traction Wedge is one of the most innovative traction devices. It uses cervical traction therapy with thermal and TENS therapy (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation).
TENS therapy involves the application of low-voltage electric currents to treat pain. The goal is to decompress and relax the cervical spine to alleviate pain. It has a user-friendly digital control system that adjusts pressure and therapeutic settings.
3. Saunders Lumbar Traction Device
The Saunders Lumbar Traction Device was the first of its kind. It exerts up to 200 lb. of force from the comfort of home. A unique pneumatic pump, non-slip belts, and an intuitive force gauge contribute to a more comfortable and secure experience.
There is no installation; it is ready to use right out of the box. The goal is lumbar traction and stretching. The adjustable belts fit waist sizes between 24 and 60 inches.
4. Dynamic Lumbar Traction Wedge
The Dynamic Lumbar Wedge is a non-surgical option for some patients with back pain. It gently extends and retracts the lumbar spine to relieve pressure on the spinal discs.
The device is designed to loosen tight hip and back muscles with infrared heat and light and regulated vibration. It constantly shifts the spine to stretch the muscles and improve posture dynamically. Through a combination of vibration massage, heat, and light treatment, the lumbar traction device can help some people alleviate pain and increase blood flow.
Final thoughts on traction therapy and equipment
The tools mentioned above are only provided as a basis for making decisions. Always seek the advice of a physician or physiotherapist before attempting any new corrective exercises or purchasing equipment.
Also, be aware that results are not guaranteed. Each person is unique, and each situation is too. What works well for one person may not necessarily have the same effect on someone else.