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Does cervical traction help?

ktbraunkktbraun Posts: 2
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:42 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Hi, I have several bulging discs, spinal stenosis and have had 2 esi's that didn't help. I am on neurontin ( a smaller dose because of side effects) and am trying PT and traction now. I have a saunders home traction device - and I don't think it is really doing much good. Anyone have any experience with this? I have seen 2 surgeons who both recommended an anterior cervical fusion, and I would like to avoid this if possible. Thanks!


  • First, welcome to spine-health.

    I tried traction prior to my first ACDF. Honestly it felt good while I was in traction, but I received no lasting benefits from it. So for me it didn't work. For others it may have. Hopefully someone will be along soon with experience using traction. I understand your desire to avoid surgery, and I always encourage people to try all conservative methods first. Have you tried injections?
    Surviving chronic pain one day at a time, praying for a reprieve because living another 40 years like this doesn't sound too fun!
  • Hi, thanks for the input. I had 2 esi's - they helped for a week or so, and then-the pain came back again. I want to give the traction a good try, but there are so many things wrong in my neck, that I don't know if it CAN work.
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  • I have a saunders home traction device that I have been using as well as a tens unit. I don't think it is really doing much good either just makes my Neck hurt more when my neck comes together to quick. my injury is C-5,6,7 inpingment and stenosis I dont want surgery but im thinking about it more and more.
    Best wishes
  • I to am trying traction with a PT but I suspect that it is not being done correctly. I have read the the angle needs to be right and the disk need to be isolated. By that I mean being supported at the vertebra below the disk so that all the force goes to the herniated disks and the disks above it. That would me for be that C6 or 7 needs to be isolated.

    This study says that it is about 70% effective.

    I think the study is valid because it seems that the researchers were Chinese and it seem that they were not selling anything like a traction machine or surgery.
  • Traction is a very controversial thing. In theory it is a good idea in many cases. In real life it is less effective due to the quality of the machine and the knowledge of the therapist. Also the benefit is temporary at best.

    Professional models in a PT office are the most effective. But as everyone else said the angle has to be right and you have to be able to work up from the affected area. Not easy to do.

    Home models are a joke. The one they tried to sell me on in the PT office was one that sat on the floor above your head and you layed on it. As soon as it started pulling your whole body moved.

    I think they are intended to provide temporary relief similar to stretching your muscles in a workout. This is only going to help with some conditions and is only temporary. Nothing is changing the physical condition in your spine so it will return to where it was.

    Traction sounds good on insurance forms. It brings to mind images of hospital beds and weird contraptions and people in immense pain. My experience is that it was worthless at best and dangerous if done incorrectly.
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  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 11,348
    Before, it was clear that I needed ACDF surgeries, my neurosurgeon prescribed a particular home neck traction unit (over the door with a bag of water for weight) He also provided DETAILED instructions on how to use it, how much weight and for how long.

    For me, it bought me several months before I had to have the surgery.

    Once you do have ACDF and other cervical surgeries, for the most part neck traction is OUT.

    But always check with your doctor to make sure
    Ron DiLauro Veritas-Health Forums Manager
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I also have a saunders home traction unit, I agree that while I am in it it seems to relieve some of the pain and the tingling in my thumb and finger go away while in it, after the ns surgeon said I needed surgery on acdf c5-6, I guess I will have to put it on ebay!! I am going to try a facet injection next week, see if that helps, then see what happens!! Lela
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