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Cervical Traction Therapy?


Im new to this forum and this is my first post here. I hope im posting this in the right place! (sorry if im not).The reason I joined is to get some questions answered and to hear other peoples opinions on cervical traction therapy.

Im a 29 year old male, relatively healthy but I started suffering from chronic neck pain. After years of chiropractor appointments I didnt really feel like my condition was ever getting any better, although the chiropractic therapy did help for a little while. A friend of mine told me about cervical traction so i hunted down a physician who was experienced with this type of therapy and ive been using one of his machines for the past month. I decided to stop my chiropractor visits for the time being so i could see the effects of the cervical traction device.

After a month of regular use of the device, Im trying to figure out if its working. I have noticed the pain subsiding a bit. I had been experiencing mild sciatica which isn't quite as noticeable. Im aware that it may take a lot longer than a month to see good results but im just wondering if its something i should spend time and money pursuing. Should i just stick with my regular chiropractor appointments? They are definitely cheaper. I have also considered a device you can buy for the home which doesnt cost a whole lot, but is it worth it? And which one?

These are some of the questions i have and i was hoping that i would be able to hear from others about their experience with cervical traction and their opinions if any. I'm really just looking for unbiased information.




  • I use the pneumatic track (lay on the floor) type. But you really should have a neuro or ortho spine specialist okay its use after examining your MRI or Myelogram.
    Severe DDD, Severe neural foraminal stenosis at 2 levels, moderate canal stenosis at 2 levels, significantly impaired left shoulder & arm function. Chronic moderate compression fracture at C6.
  • Hi, thanks for the reply.

    Sorry i forgot to mention that. I mentioned to my physiotherapist who gave me the go ahead. He didn't really hav any strong opinions one way or the other on the subject though.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
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    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • I had that as part of my PT a few years ago. They had a table that had the machine attached to it so it didn't move. It didn't hurt and I would feel a little better for a few hours but that was it. We tried a home unit that a salesman had brought in and the PT agreed with me that it doesn't work. It was one that you put on the floor, laid on part of it and then attached the rest to a door I think. Problem was that everything moved so you really weren't getting the pull. They ended up sending it back to the salesman.

    My neurologist warned that it was only temporary at best, just like chiropractic. You aren't fixing anything just providing some stretching of the vertebra joints but it all goes back to what you had.
  • davrunnerddavrunner Posts: 478
    edited 06/18/2013 - 7:39 AM
    I don't know the name of the unit, I'll check when I get home. Insurance pays $45 a month for the rental. It is pneumatic, you lay down with you neck between these two blocks/pads that engage at the base of the skull and put a strap across forehead.
    You pump using a hand pump and it pulls your head back. I started at about 15/20# and now using 30# almost nightly. It does help keep my fingers from going numb but hasn't helped much with neck and shoulder pain.
    Will you insurance cover if the surgeon/neurologist gives you a RX? It's worth a try, I am trying to buy some time before a 3 level fusion c4-7.
    There are some devices out there on the internet that would probably be a waste of money. I would work with your Doc or PT to get one that would give the best results and has been medically tested.
    laminectomy c4/c5 2008, ACDF c4-c7 Jan 20 2014 sched
  • So after talking to some people i decide a home unit might be worth a try. I was going to go for the posture pump one but I thought it kind of looked cheap and the way it stretches doesn't seem like it would be very effective. I decided to try the pronex device because the way it stretches is more like the machine i was using at the physiotherapist.

    After two weeks im not really sure how i feel about it. It does seem to relieve some of the tightness that i get after work which is nice but im not sure it has enough stretching power to really be effective. Im going to keep at it for another month and a half or so and see how i feel. I'll report back for anyone who is interested and maybe write a review talk about my experience with it.
  • I recently had Traction Therapy 2 times since I injured my neck, the first time was shortly after my (C5-C6 pinched nerve in my neck) + (degenerative bone as well) I felt nauseous...we stopped. This past Thursday we tried it again for 10 mins, everything was fine until about an 1hr after it was done, everything intensified~the pins & needles came on super strong along with pain & my neck is so hot at times. Today is Monday & I still woke up in much pain.. :/ I actually took a Tylenol 3 yesterday that did nothing for the pain, just gave me a headache & made me weak. Before I did the traction, my neck was 'calm' just tolerable pains...I'm going to let my physio therapist know...I don't think this treatment agrees with me. :/
  • I think, Better to consult the best and experienced health therapist and follow his suggestions. Mostly after two or five rounds you can get relief after than you didn't go to a therapist but do regular exercises.
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