Mechanical Traction is when a patient is placed in the machine secured by straps and a gentle longitudinal pull separates the spine for the relief of nerve irritation or muscle spasm. Traction is helpful for those who suffer from lower back and neck pain.
Details and benefits of traction therapy
There are two types of traction in physical therapy, manual and mechanical.
Manual traction is when a physical therapist uses manual force on the joints and muscles to distract or widen the spaces between the vertebrae.
Mechanical spinal traction is used to treat bulging or herniated discs, sciatica, degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis, pinched nerves causing radiating pain, numbness or tingling, and many other spinal conditions.
In combination with other physical therapy treatments, many patients experience tremendous success with spinal traction from the reduction of pain and radiating symptoms to improved spinal alignment, decompressed joints, relaxation of spastic muscles and increased mobility.
Some patients need traction for only a short period of time, while others need it throughout their lives as a form of pain management.
Therapy Brings Back Pain Relief to Rudy
When Rudy woke up one morning with pain in his right lower back, he had no idea that within days pain would be radiating down his right leg and would have tingling in his first toe. With limited movement bending forward, sitting, driving and lifting/carrying objects, his physician referred him to Moon Physical Therapy.
Our thorough evaluation showed a herniated disc, and we started him on a land-based therapy program with exercises and techniques he could perform at home and work. We also used lumbar traction to reduce back pain and his right leg symptoms.
After 4 treatment sessions, Rudy reduced his pain medication, could sit for 30 minutes (previously 10-15 mins) and found it much easier to bend forward to put on his socks. At the end of his therapy visits, he was able to get back to work and, most important, get back to his favorite hobby: dirt bike riding.
As Rudy says: "Story is simple...I was broken, I came in, and you fixed me. You and your staff are awesome and made the healing and learning enjoyable".
How traction has helped others relieve their pain
When I first came to Moon Physical Therapy, I had a herniated disc on the L4, L5. In the beginning I could hardly sleep, tossing and turning in bed because of the lower back pain.
Julie started me with minor exercises and as I improved, I advanced to strengthening and stretches. She also put me on traction, which really helped my lower back. The real test is when I go back to regular duty at work. I know that I will still have some minor aches and pains, but with what I learned from Julie and sticking to the exercises it would go away.
Julie is very knowledgeable and answered all my questions professionally. She also had a very friendly staff, which made coming to therapy enjoyable. Mahalos to M.P.T. Also, I will never forget to do the dead-bugs!!!
– Jeff Chun
I came to Moon Therapy after herniating a disk in my lower back while pregnant. I was unable to sit, stand, or walk for nearly 3 weeks. The aquatherapy was amazing – it took the pressure off my spine and allowed me to move with significantly less pain.
I continued to do the water exercises on my own in the ocean and saw results within a short time. I consider myself fully recovered less than 2 month since the injury. I have about 3 more months to go in my pregnancy and will continue to exercise and strengthen my core with the exercises Julie and her staff taught me. Thanks for everything!
– Stacy Hargrove
Over the course of 30 years I have had varying degrees of pain in my back, hip, and leg for which I sought attention for. I consulted and saw medical doctors, chiropractors and an osteopath. In late November of 2012, I began to experience pain in my right hip and leg. In addition to the pain, I began to feel a burning sensation on the outside of my right upper thigh. It made me feel like my skin was going to peel off, so I began to sit in awkward positions to avoid what my brain was telling me was chafing. Over time, this caused the pain in my leg to increase as I tried to compensate for the pain I was feeling. When I went to consult with Dr. Linda Rowan, a physiatrist, I would feel pain so excruciating that by the time I reached the Pali tunnels on my way to and from work, I felt and did scream.
Dr. Rowan referred me to Moon Therapy. I did not know what to expect as in my past experiences. It was always a practitioner working on me. My job was to just lie down – not at Moon Therapy.
Here I learned the reason for my pain – tight muscles and a pinched nerve…and ways that I could manage the pain by stretching and increasing my core strength. These exercises I will take with me and with discipline use them regularly to minimize and reduce my symptoms. I realize that I share an equal part in my getting better.
In addition to exercise, I was put on a traction board. This became something I looked forward to. The first time it was administered, the pain relief was remarkably noticeable. Each time, the results were different, but after each session, it seemed the pain was reduced. The burning sensation also gradually lessened. I have been to Moon Therapy for 12 sessions and I can no longer qualify for insurance coverage…but as I prepared to end my sessions, Julie and her staff are preparing a list of exercises for me to continue working on.
At the outset of my sessions at Moon Therapy, I wondered how much the guided stretching and “sucking in my stomach” and keeping my balance would make a difference. At the end of 12 sessions, I am glad I was given this opportunity to understand that getting better would mean I also had to do some of the work. I feel this form of treatment will allow me to manage any pain I may be experiencing.
The staff at Moon Therapy, especially Julie, is very pleasant and was always concerned about my comfort and progress. They are comfortable to be with and always made me feel like things would get better! I highly recommend Moon Therapy. Nice place, nice people, excellent treatment!
– Joan Sakaba
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