Medieval Methods: Traction

By | January 4, 2011

Traction is a very old technique (dating back at least as far a Torquemada) for treating back pain which went out of favor many years ago due to expense and lack of long term results. Recent advance in diagnosis as well as computer and robotic technologies have brought this technique back to the forefront for certain back & neck conditions.

Spinal traction is a very old technique, dating back to at least the time of Ancient Greece that can provide symptomatic treatment for back pain and neck pain. A number of spinal conditions including disc bulges, protrusions and herniations as well facet joint subluxations can be treated. Traction along the axis of the spine causes negative pressure within the disc and causes the protruding part of the disc to be drawn back in. When used in conjunction with physical therapy and exercise programs to restore flexibility and muscle tone conservative therapy can be effective in up to 50% of cases of radicular back pain. Acute facet joint subluxations can often be reduced with a single treatment.

More modern versions of the machine are more comfortable, but somewhat less picturesque.


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