Cervical traction is one of the most popular methods of pain relief for those who suffer from back pain and other ailments. When using cervical traction devices, a special head brace is affixed directly to the patient’s neck and head. Then, with a handheld device attached to a manual or motorized system, the head is gently stretched out from the shoulders, easing neck and back pain and releasing pressure on the spinal cord. Depending on the type of cervical brace and the method of application, patients may feel a little discomfort and only temporary pain reduction. The downside, however, is that manual traction often requires the assistance of a trained health care professional.
There are two types of cervical traction devices available to healthcare professionals. One system employs a manually operated and lightweight brace that can be fitted easily into a pants pocket. Another system, commonly used in chiropractic offices and elsewhere, uses a motorized device similar to a rowing machine. The advantage of using a motorized system is that it can relieve pressure without necessarily exerting physical force on the neck and back muscles.
The most common use of cervical traction devices falls into the category of preventive care, designed to reduce or eliminate neck pain prior to chiropractic services. Using traction on the spine can be very effective in relieving minor neck pain caused by everyday stress and strain, including carpal tunnel syndrome and osteoarthritis. Moreover, chiropractors have used this technique to treat headaches, asthma, neck pain, tennis elbow, and other conditions. The results vary depending on the severity of the condition and the skill and professionalism of the chiropractor performing the therapy. For example, a patient suffering from tennis elbow may be recommended manual manipulation in addition to applying a cervical traction device.
Other ailments that may be helped with cervical neck traction devices include migraine headaches, jaw pain, poor posture, and lower back pain. Some researchers believe that chiropractic care can provide significant relief for many conditions, including chronic fatigue, asthma, and osteoarthritis. A study published in the Journal of Alternative Medicine showed that neck pain experienced by patients who consulted with a chiropractor was significantly reduced when compared with the results obtained when those same individuals visited a traditional medical doctor or therapist. Improved self-care skills and a reduction in stress and muscle tension were also found by these individuals.
A major drawback of Cervical Traction Devices is their relative inflexibility in terms of a patient’s follow-up period. Since the device is worn in the pocket at all times, it becomes impossible to conduct daily activities without removing the device. In addition, since the device must remain in the mouth at all times, it can become difficult to eat and chew food. Therefore, it is important for patients to monitor their daily diet closely and to consult with their physician regarding any potential changes in their symptoms. This follow-up period is also important because some doctors will not allow patients to wear the device if they are experiencing severe discomfort or an adverse reaction to the treatment.
Most of the cervical spine treatment procedures used to treat low back pain and neck discomfort can be performed using this form of traction. However, there are devices that are specifically designed for use in diagnosing and treating conditions such as spondylosis and osteoarthritis. Spinal decompression methods are also sometimes used to treat these conditions. Patients should always ask their physician regarding the specifics of the devices that they plan to use.
It is important for patients to realize that they do not need to continue using the cervical neck traction device indefinitely. These devices will begin to wear down after regular wear for several hours. Therefore, it is important that patients allow the product to gradually decrease in size over time. If a patient does not allow the product to decrease in size as the doctor has prescribed then there may be serious or even fatal consequences to occur. Therefore, it is important that patients ask their doctor about the recommended time frame in which they should allow the cervical neck traction device to decrease in size.
Patients should also understand the many benefits that are associated with using these types of traction products. Many physicians suggest that patients begin by using the device for a few days to see if they are able to get relief from their symptoms. If the doctor feels that the product is working to help patients manage their neck pain and tension, then the doctor may recommend that patients use the device for several weeks. The number of weeks that a patient uses the device will depend on the individual case. Patients should always ask their doctor before purchasing a cervical traction device how long they should use the device in order to reap the full benefits.