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Traction: Does It Help Neck Pain and Headaches?

drx9000c san francisco
DRX9000c Cervical Decompression

We have been providing neck pain treatment in San Francisco for over 20 years now. We have incorporated cervical traction and now nonsurgical spinal decompression  with the DRX9000c.

Traction is defined as, “…the act of pulling a body part.” Therefore, it is commonly used in many regions including legs, arms, low back, mid-back, and the neck. We will be limiting this discussion to cervical or neck traction, and the question of the month is, “…does it help patients with neck pain and headaches?” Though I’m assuming you already know, the answer is YES! You may want a little “proof,” so here it goes!

  1. REDUCES DISK PROTRUSIONS: In 2002, a medically based study found traction to be very effective in the treatment of cervical radiculopathies (pinched nerves in the neck that radiate pain into the arms). A 2008 study using MRI (images) described the effect traction had on the disk protrusions in the neck reporting 25 of 35 (or 71%) were reduced while in traction with a 19% increase in the spacing (disk height) and improved neck range of motion after the traction was applied. They postulated that by pulling the vertebrae in the neck apart, there was a suction-like effect pulling the disk material back in place.
  1. RECOMMENDED BY GUIDELINES: Around the world, guidelines have been published giving doctors information that allows us to know how well certain forms of treatment work for different conditions. In a 2008 publication, it was reported that, “Clinicians should consider the use of mechanical intermittent cervical traction, combined with other interventions such as manual therapy and strengthening exercises, for reducing pain and disability in patients with neck and neck-related arm pain.”
  1. CLINICAL PREDICTION RULES: These help us determine who is most likely to benefit from a certain type of treatment (in this case cervical traction and exercise). If 3 of 5 variables are found, the likelihood of success with traction & exercise was reported to be 79%, and if 4 of the 5 are found, 90%. The 5 variables are: 1. Radiating neck to arm pain in certain positions; 2. Positive shoulder abduction sign; 3. Age >55years old; 4. Positive limb tension test; 5. Relief of symptoms using manual distraction test (if pain is relieved while the neck is being pulled).
  1. INTERMITTENT AND CONTINUOUS TRACTION: Either way, significant improvement in neck and arm pain, neck mobility, and nerve function occurred with both approaches.
  1. TRACTION VS. SURGERY: In this study, patients with radiating arm pain and positive neurological findings on exam were offered a course of traction before surgical options. They reported 63 of 81, or 78%, of the patients experienced significant or total relief, 3 could not tolerate traction and 15 simply didn’t respond. They concluded that when neck and arm symptoms with neurological deficits were present for 6 weeks, that 75% will respond to neck traction over the next 6 weeks.

            There are MANY additional studies available that show well beyond doubt that cervical traction is a GREAT option in the management of neck and arm pain and sometimes headaches. Next month, we will discuss “HOW TO” apply cervical traction.

            We realize that you have a choice in where you choose your healthcare services.  If you, a friend or family member requires care for neck pain, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Doctors call 415-392-2225.

 

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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Is Spinal Decompression Traction?

There are many spinal decompression skeptics out there…I know…I used to be one. After-all, the idea that a disc herniation can be repaired with a machine is beyond the comprehension of many…including some medical doctors and so called spine experts.

drx9000 therapy san francisco, 94111
DRX9000 Lumbar Decompresion

It is not uncommon at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Center, for a herniated disc patient to tell us that their orthopedic surgeon said that spinal decompression is nothing more than expensive traction and chances are it wont do anything.

Well…tell that to the hundreds of thousands of disc patients worldwide that are now living more active lifestyles (many avoiding surgery) because of nonsurgical spinal decompression.

So is spinal decompression traction?

Hardly…traction pulls on the entire spine without any regard to the individual patient “muscle guarding” response. When you apply force to an injured spinal segment the body tries to protect it by guarding against the pull with it’s muscles…it’s involuntary. The muscle response varies patient to patient so there is no way to anticipate it effectively…you can only react to it…which is what computerized spinal decompression does.

In fact, this is the primary difference between conventional traction and spinal decompression. Nonsurgical disc decompression systems have a built in computerized biofeedback mechanism that instantaneously senses a patients muscle guarding response and adjusts the amount of force being applied to the pull accordingly. Big difference.

Plus, spinal decompression systems adjust the angle of pull precisely to better target the injured discs. Spinal decompression machines such as the DRX9000 actually have a split bed (one of them floats) to negate the force of gravity, allowing for enlargement of the disc space.

Modern decompression also creates a negative pressure inside the disc which pulls the herniated disc fragments back to the center of the disc where they belong. Regular traction just pulls…and pulls..that’s it.

So when herniated disc patients ask us if spinal decompression is traction, we happily inform them of the differences. One thing for sure…anyone who has ever had conventional traction quickly realizes they are different animals as soon as they try decompression therapy for the first time…it’s an amazing sensation.

So there you go. Nonsurgical spinal decompression is not traction. Spinal decompression is the most advanced technology in the marketplace today for the nonsurgical treatment of neurovascular compression syndromes such as lumbar and cervical herniated and bulging discs.

To find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression at our San Francisco Spinal Decompression Clinic…call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary DRX9000 consultation.

Directions to San Francisco Spinal Decompression

Scott Calzaretta

Chiro-Medical Group is an innovative collaboration of health care professionals who work together as a team to promote optimal health. Our group includes experts in the fields of medicine, chiropractic, physical therapy, massage, nutrition, and personal athletic training.

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