Is Spine Traction Good for Back Pain?


Dealing with any spinal difficulties is a serious thing. Not only can things like herniated disks and sciatica lead to serious pain, but they can also progress and become debilitating. 

Knowing your options and acting early is extremely important. We’re going to discuss one option that can effectively treat a number of spinal difficulties in this article. It’s known as spine traction, and it could be the answer to your back problems. 

Spine Traction: What Does It Treat?

Back pain is one of the more excruciating and debilitating issues within the human body. While back pain can come in a number of forms, it’s usually caused by one of a few reasons.

Any back pain that lasts only six weeks or less can be chalked up to an injury or an episode of heavy lifting. Lifting can lead to muscle strains that cause you serious, consistent pain over a period of time. 

Often times, though, back pain originates with some irregularity of the disks or vertebrae in your spine. If you’re someone who suffers from injured spinal nerves or joints, herniated or bulging disks, sciatica, tingling, or neck pain, you might wonder if you’ll be in pain forever. 

Either that or you’re dreading the possibility of surgery. Spine traction, also referred to as spinal decompression therapy, is a nonsurgical way to treat these complications. 

Understanding Spinal Decompression

Spine traction is a method of treatment that can be done manually by a person or mechanically with the aid of a machine. The idea is to carefully stretch the spine, which removes pressure from your spinal disks.

We’ll discuss the process in more detail later. First, though, let’s take a short crash-course in the anatomy of the spine and what can go wrong with it. 

Basics of the Spine

Holding up the majority of your body and supporting all of the twists, bends, and curves that you make throughout the day is a tough job. 

The spine is a layered combination of parts. Vertebrae are the primary element of your spine. They are stacked upon each other and house a canal for your spinal cord to run through. 

The spine is made up of cervical vertebrae, thoracic vertebrae, and lumbar vertebrae. Because they carry the most weight and exist at the bottom spine, lumbar vertebrae are most often the causes of back pain and other issues. 

Nerves shoot out from your spinal cord and travel through your vertebrae to communicate information from your muscles to your brain and vice versa. There is a bundle of nerve roots in your lumbar vertebrae where the spinal cord ends. These nerves branch out as well, leading to your sciatic nerve.

Between each vertebra sits a disk. These provide cushion and support for your vertebrae as they function throughout the day. Irregularities in the disks can lead to all sorts of issues including sciatica, herniated discs, bulging discs, and more. 

Why Spinal Decompression Helps 

Spinal injuries are maintained by the force between vertebrae, and misalignments can cause undue pressure to weigh down on disks in incorrect locations. This pressure affects the nerves branching out from your spinal cord and lead to a lot of pain. 

Spine traction gently stretches out the spine and all of its vertebrae, allowing the disks to resituate into their correct locations. Opening up space between your spinal column also helps generate the movement of oxygen, water, and fluid that your spinal discs need in order to heal. 

It is a non-invasive option can serve as a gentle alternative to surgery.

How it Works

To start, your doctor or chiropractor will situate two harnesses on your trunk and around your pelvis. You then place yourself on the decompression table, which gently adjusts itself according to the doctor’s directions. 

You’re strapped in and the table’s movement stretches in ways specifically fitted to your particular back issues. Your doctor might add corrective pillows, hoist your knees up into a “sitting position,” or adjust your neck to be tiled to a degree. 

Alternatively, your doctor might take the manual route. In this case, you will lie face down on the chiropractic table. Your doctor will use their hands and place pressure in order to get your vertebrae into an expanded state. 

They will then apply force in the areas that require attention. The force they use will, over time, correct the irregularities in your spine. 

How Long Does it Take to See Results?

Each session of spinal decompression you go through should last thirty to forty minutes. You may feel an immediate shift in the way your back feels as a result of the adjustments made by your doctor.

In other words, you’ll feel something right when you stand up. At the same time, most irregularities in the spinal arrangement are longstanding and they will slowly shift back into their original placements. In order to have lasting benefits of decompression, you need to go to a number of sessions. 

People typically require something to the tune of twenty-five treatments in the span of a couple of months. If you keep up with regular appointments, the adjustments will allow your disks to heal and your spine to fall back into its natural, healthy state. 

What About Surgery?

Surgery should be thought of as a last resort for back issues. A surgeon may remove an entire disk and replace it, take out portions of spinal bone, remove growths, adjust the vertebrae, or enlarge the opening for the spinal cord and nerves. 

Our bodies have a knack for healing themselves if they’re given the opportunity to. We suggest asking your doctor if manual spinal decompression, or spine traction, could be explored before you jump into the idea of surgery. 

Want to Learn More?

Experiencing back pain can be a terrifying thing. Small issues in the back can lead to larger problems with the wrong turn of your spine, so be sure to speak with a professional as soon as possible. 

It’s important to understand what your doctor is telling you when you get to the office, though. If you want to become informed on the ins and outs of spine traction, decompression, and more, explore the rest of our site for the information you need.