Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Lumbar traction - SCARY sensations!

Harmonic MinorHHarmonic Minor Posts: 31
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:36 AM in Alternative Treatments
Okay I'm not sure if this is the entirely correct forum but here goes. Today I went to a new physical therapist who assessed me, tells me I have almost no mobility, my back isn't in a very good way, no where near full flexibility and thus activity, etc etc. Very disheartening stuff considering I have had this prob for 7 months and at times it felt close to 90% but the probs just keep coming back, for no reason, despite doing everything to try make it better and avoid reinjury.

Anyway, so he put me on lumbar traction, lying on my back with the thing round my waist and started it going. I must say that I got some very frightening sensations during the traction. First my legs were out straight. I felt the most peculiar electric shock sensations in both legs, in my buttock and hamstrings (though I don't think it went further than that) and my whole torso (back, front), I told him about it, he said bend my knees. It did start to feel better as it progressed but it felt like my whole torso had these sensations. It didn't hurt and he asked expressly to make sure there was no pain.

He said this isn't normal really, but it's because my spine and the tissues haven't been moved and stretched in that way for such a long time. I also had some electric current treatment. But I was just wondering has anyone else had this treatment and experienced such a thing? It was extremely bizzare! I thought the atcually thing was giving me electric shocks... unpleasant but not painful.

Any comments/thoughts? Thank you


  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,846
    I have had Cervical, Thoracic and Lumbar traction many times over the past 30+ years.
    All of those initial times, I had some strange tingling feelings, most of the time it was after the traction. In fact, many therapist that do the traction will want to keep you laying down for 10-20 minutes after the session and perhaps adding ice to make sure you are ok.
    When you legs are out straight, that is more of a lumbar traction and when your legs are bent, that handles your thoracic area. Of course a lot depends on exactly how you were hooked up.
    When a therapist or other medical professionals tell you that it is not normal, you need to have the explain why. And you should also talk to your doctor about this.
    Most traction situations in which I have heard about patient complaints was due to to much weight/force being used during the traction or doing it for too long
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Well this was during the treatment, it felt normal afterwards. I was still lying down after but on my front for the electrocurrent.

    Well I already said what he said - the tissues haven't been moved in this way for a long time so possibly the nervetissues being stretched creating this sensation?

    I'm not sure about the bent kenes thing then.
    When you say ask you doctor, what to you mean? I don't have another doctor... I suppose I could make appointment with GP, I want to push for a repeat MRI scan too.

    Anyways... at the moment in feels like I'm on a slippery slope towards surgery. My back is just messed.
  • I had traction for the same disc problem and found it slightly uncomfortable but more like relief for my feet feeling less numb during the procedure. I didn't have too many sessions of traction though and preferred when the PT put a belt around her and me and did manual traction instead of the machine. I don't think there should be so much electrical jolts but rather a stretching feeling. I would see your Dr about it and get another referral like Ron said also. I hope you have more pain relief soon. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • Thank you for your response Charry. Well in a way when I think about it, if I usually have tingling sensations in the foot this traction kinda moved them up higher towards the hamstring buttock/back... but it didn't really feel like normal tingling I get...

    So I'm not sure what to do! Another appointment with him on tues. Maybe it WAS stretching and not actually electric shock.. .that's just what the stretching feels like. I always suppose I can try it again and see how it feels and stop if necessary. Hopefully todays session did no harm, but it's getting to the point where I can barely care, my back gets better and worse as it feels NO MATTER WHAT I DO! So all I can do is try stop caring so much and hope for the best... and probably end up under the knife.

    I don't have a Dr who sends me for referrals, I'm in UK, this is a private physical therapist who I saw on my own accord. Over here the NHS do not offer elaborate treatement for this kind of thing. They don't care, they don't do anything. If I went to NHS physiotherapist theyd just have me do some exercises/stretches. That's it.

    So it's up to me really, and obviously depends on what others think I should do! Like I say I suppose I can see a GP but it's essentially a waste of time if you're looking for a legitimate advice.

    Thank you
  • I hear pool therapy helps also in a heated pool. Is there one there with your Physio? I found acupuncture was relaxing also but I had it done by one female Therapist for a few weeks which was good but then having it by another PT while she was on vacation was painful for my legs so that didn't help. I've had great success with my infrared platinum heating pad I got prescibed by one pain management Dr. and it's soothing on the back and leg. My L5-S1 herniated disc and annular tear healed within a year and a half and thankful for that as I too was refused surgery by 2 Ortho Drs. But I still have inflammation and degenerative disc problems that I need to see my 3rd opinion Neurosurgeon next week for. I think seeing a GP would help with referrals to Pain Management Drs and Spine Specialists though. You seem to be wise for your years and you're right to keep looking. Another website helpful for me was www.chirogeek.com. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I will look into that, thanks Charry- though I'm not sure if I need hydrotherapy, I can walk quite far without pain and have been doing so for a long time, but as I say my problem isn't resolving and I just don't know what to do! It just gets better/worse for no reason at all. I don't know why I have no mobility. I don't know why only recently I have extreme tension now in both legs when doing the straight-leg raise (it was better like 4-5 months ago). It's very distressing and =( I've been doing extension exercises every single day, as well as some core exercises, I walk regularly, eat well, have lost weight, don't pick up heavy things, don't sit for long, etc etc so I have no idea what's wrong. Anyways I'm going off-topic!

    I'm glad to hear of the progress you made with the disc - so discs CAN heal? The physio I saw today said that discs never heal which I suppose is true in some ways (surgeon told me once the disc is herniated it will always be degenerative so it becomes chronic).

    I'll book in to see a GP on monday and at the same time harrass them for a repeat MRI. I suppose if I have misgivings about the traction I'll call the physio and tell him about it. If I have reasons to be worried, maybe so should he.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has experienced
    anything like this? Maybe it's just my nerves/tissues being stretched? Nothing seems amiss after the treatment. I'm trying to research into it but can't find anything!

  • Like, if this is practically unheard of, then I'd be worried!
  • Hello, Harmonic Minor!

    Don't know about traction stuff, but there was something in your story that is familiar. And that's the no-mobility part.

    Which areas did the PT tell you don't have much mobility? Was it just the lumbar area or also upper in thoracic spine?

    Anyway, I also had a case of not much mobility in my spine after neck surgery for a prolapsed disc. My back got fast weaker and weaker and started cramping the muscles until I couldn't stay up much. And the doctors had no idea that the neck problem and lumbar problems were connected even when I insisted that there has to be a connection. What had happened was that for some reason the protective muscle spasm around the injured area had spread thru my whole back.

    In my case these protective spasms didn't relax all by themselves, but needed outside help. After almost a year of cramping I went to a chiropractor to unlock the dysfunctions. However my stabilization muscles had athrophied and forgotten what to do...

    Anyway, I was thinking that maybe you could have a similar case in a bit milder form? If your stabilizing muscles are tight they could cause this not-much-mobility stuff. And in that case exercising doesn't help much, cause those stabilizing muscles can't work normally.

    This is of course just guessing, but let me hypothesize a tad further. If this is the case, seeing a chiro a few times and exercising with the help of a good PT should get you started. You said that you've seen a chiro at some point, so the question is is there still something that could be maintaining the problem?

    First time I went to a chiro my back musculature was so tight that in a couple of hours it had already cramped back. After a few weeks of treatment it slowly started to give in and didn't jam the vertebras into dysfunction as fast as previously. I also got some good physiotherapic guidance and the exercises helped in part to unwind the situation.

    This was a lot of quesswork, but maybe you'd like to consider different scenarios as well.

    And about the GP, you probably have physiatrists there in UK as well? Doctor of physiatry is an expert in rehabilitation and usually knows much more of these kind of problems than general practitioner. Maybe you should see a physiatrist as well?
Sign In or Register to comment.