Spinal traction or spinal "decompression" is the process of stretching and decompressing the spine, facet joints and intervertebral discs. The two basic types are mechanical traction and manual traction. Spinal Traction is effective with disc herniations, disc bulging, disc degeneration, facet joint restriction, sciatica and spinal stenosis. It decompresses discs and nerves and allows for a "vacuum effect" within the disc that brings the necessary nutrients and oxygen to enter the disc, to decrease pain and swelling and allow the disc to heal. At OSPT, we utilize several types of spinal traction including manual traction, mechanical traction and mechanical intersegmental traction depending on the spinal level, type of condition and positional preference specific to each patient we treat. Mechanical traction utilizes a motorized unit or harness with unweighting system that decompresses the spine.
Manual Traction or distraction is traction performed manually by the clinician.