Cervical Traction and Neck Pain

What is cervical traction?

Cervical traction describes a treatment where the neck is gently stretched, at varying degrees of tension, for a specific amount of time. 

What is cervical traction used for?

Cervical traction is primarily used for pain relief in the neck region. Cervical traction can help with several conditions that affect the cervical spine including:

  • Herniated discs
  • Radiculopathy
  • Facet syndrome
  • Myofascial pain
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Muscle spasms

What symptoms can cervical traction help improve?

  • Neck pain
  • Pain starting in the neck that travels to the mid back
  • Pain starting in the neck that travels down the arm
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands
  • Muscle spasms in the neck
  • Inability to turn the head from side to side

How does cervical traction work?

Cervical traction works by gently stretching the neck. This can lessen neck pain through the following mechanisms:

  • Lengthening muscles
    • This increases blood flow and can reduce muscle spasms
  • Increases foramen diameter
    • The foramen is where the spinal nerve exits the spinal column. By increasing the diameter of the foramen, it reduces pressure on the nerve root, which can reduce neck pain that travels to the arm along with decreasing numbness, weakness and tingling.
  • Decreases pressure on the discs
  • Distraction of the facet joints
    • This improves the nutrition that is delivered to the articular cartilage. The articular cartilage covers the facet joints and can degrade in osteoarthritis.

What scientific evidence supports it?

A study done by The Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, showed that slightly more than half the patients who had cervical radiculopathy symptoms for twelve weeks or less and completed cervical traction had complete resolution of symptoms.

Another study was done utilizing functional MRI's, while patient's received cervical traction. Results showed that there was partial and complete regression of cervical protruding discs.

How many treatments are necessary?

10-15 treatments are recommended depending on each individual case.

Does it hurt?

No. Most people state that it feels amazing. It is a gently pull. Each session we increase the tension to your tolerance. You also have complete control and can turn the machine off at any time with the press of a button. 

If you have any more questions or would like to schedule your cervical traction appointment today contact us online or give us a call at (303) 221-1714.