Back and Joint Injuries

Treating With Traction

Back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the United States—surpassed only by headache. Eight out of 10 Americans, or an estimated 80%, will complain of back pain at some point in their lives. Many will take a do-it-yourself (or a wait-and-see) approach to fix the problem, solution that, fortunately, often works. Most back pain dissipates on its own after a few days.

In some cases, however, it doesn't. Short-term or acute back pain lasts a few days or weeks; chronic back pain is experienced for longer than 3 months. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases recommends back pain sufferers seek medical care if the pain persists for more than 3 days.

Some of these patients will find themselves in physical therapy, where the goal will be to alleviate or manage the pain. Others will be able to utilize home based traction units to complete their treatment using decompression therapy.

Lately, decompression therapy has been receiving a fair share of attention. And for good reason, as the incidences of back and neck pains are still occurring with alarming frequency.

Simply put, spinal decompression is traction applied in constant or intermittent phases to isolate mechanical impairment in the neck or back. Barring spinal instability, traction is a gentle approach to treat common spinal dysfunctions, to address nonfused, post-surgical discomfort or manage failed back syndrome.

At our center, traction plays an important role to treat spinal conditions, and successful intervention depends on accurate communication between a physician and physical therapist. In addition, a proper diagnosis, the administration of medications and injections, if warranted, and a physical therapy program are key components to maximize patient outcomes. This article will address the approach physicians and therapists should take with respect to spinal derangement, while incorporating traction or decompression therapy into a treatment regime. 

Learn more about Spinal Decompression Devices


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