What types of traction are there?
Manual traction is one method used. The physiotherapist will securely hold your head and apply a gentle but consistent pull to your neck area. In some instances this can help to reduce the mechanical stresses on the joints of the spine, and can help to reduce nerve irritation and muscle spasm.
In some of our centres we can also provide mechanical traction. This is done using a machine. Usually you are in a comfortable sitting position (if treating the neck). A halter is placed under your chin and around the back of your head. This is in turn attached to a machine that applies a constant and gentle pull to the neck. As with manual traction, the aim is to reduce mechanical stresses while reducing nerve irritation and muscle spasm.
Is it safe?
Yes, it is safe when recommended following a thorough verbal and physical assessment by your physiotherapist. There are some conditions and situations where traction may not be appropriate. During assessment your physiotherapist is ensuring that any treatment offered is safe for your condition, taking into consideration all other aspects of your general health. The traction machine is fitted with a button that will stop the machine at any time you feel uncomfortable. This button will be handed to you at the beginning of your treatment. You will also be given an alarm call button so that you can alert a member of staff if you become worried or uncomfortable.
How long does it take?
This varies from patient to patient but a session will usually last 10 – 15 minutes.
Does it Hurt?
You should not feel any pain but a gentle pulling sensation is normal. Most people feel that their pain is reduced immediately following treatment and sometimes during treatment.
How many sessions can I have?
This varies depending on individual need and your physiotherapist will discuss this with you after assessment, however, traction should be seen as a therapy to compliment a home exercise plan, which you should also complete for good long term benefit.