Sunday, December 4, 2016


Traction- Blog 10
           Neck and back pain are probably one of the most aggravating injuries to suffer from. For my last blog over therapeutic modalities, I am going to discuss a way to help relieve some of that annoying neck and back pain. Traction is the use of “tension created by pulling a force to produce a combination of distraction and gliding to relieve pain and increase tissue flexibility.”1 There are two types of traction that can be used which includes manual and mechanical. Manual traction is performed by a clinician or trainer through the use of a traction harness or hands, while mechanical traction uses a machine to “exert a pulling force through a rope and various halters and straps.”2  
chiropractic-neck-treatment.jpg            What exactly can cause neck or back pain? There are many reasons for this type of pain including bulging, herniated and protruding discs, narrowing of the vertebral foramen, tightness, lack of range of motion and muscle spasms just to name a few. Traction can help reduce some if not all of the symptoms caused by these issues by increasing space for spinal nerves, “elongating muscle tissue, decreasing sensitivity and muscle guarding, decreasing intradiscal pressure and increasing blood supply to the disc.” Indications to use traction would be degenerative disc diseases, spinal stenosis (narrowing of foreman), generalized hypomoblitiy, and muscle spasms. However, you also have to be careful when using traction because it could make the injury worse, depending on what it is. If a patient has a fusion with internal fixation, infection, tumor, hernia, etc. If wanting to apply traction and you are not sure whether or not the patient has an injury, illness, or symptoms that is contraindicated, then it is best to not traction at all.
           Personally, I have only used traction a few times on an athlete and I prefer manual traction. I feel as if though I have more control on what movements are trying to be achieved. Like I stated earlier, manual traction is delivered through hand contact on the body or the use of a harness. Manual traction can provide a very controlled and specific force to the joint or spine in order to relieve compression or pain. Traction can be a complicated modality, mainly because it deals with the neck and back, so it is best to let a trained professional perform this technique.
           1Modalities and Assistive Devices Used in Physical Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from
           2Genesis Physical Therapy - Helping you get back to life. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from

Treatment Modalities & Procedures | OrthoBalance Physical Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2016, from


  1. Good information, I like how you give your personal opinion on what technique you like better!

  2. Traction is something that I have seen work, not only in the athletic training setting, but the physical therapy setting as well. When having mechanical traction at your disposal it is something that can be incredibly beneficial, but something that has to be monitored carefully.