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Spinal Traction

Spinal traction is used to “gap” the spinal joints, thereby reducing compressive forces on spinal structures. Think of spinal traction as the opposite of gravity.

Spinal Traction can be applied by the therapist’s hands – manual traction– or by the use of a machine – mechanical traction. It can be applied to the neck – cervical traction – or the lower back – lumbar traction.

Traction can be applied continuously or intermittently. The intermittent (on-off) pull is believed to stimulate blood circulation and the body’s natural ability to produce joint lubrication.

Your physician will be consulted if we determine mechanical traction is indicated for your condition.  At Atlanta Sports Physical Therapy, our physical therapists will calculate the force of traction and period of traction pull that is indicated for your body type and condition.

However, at your initial session, your physical therapist will use less traction force, for a shorter period. This is recommended so that your personal response to traction may be determined. It is a safe approach.

Cervical Traction

This can be applied manually, using the therapist’s hands. The force is gradually increased and the patient response is carefully monitored.

Alternatively, Atlanta Sports Physical therapy has the Saunders Traction Device.  This is a state-of-the-art computerized Mechanical Traction device.Therapy-IMG_0271

The patient lies on their back; their head neck is securely supported by the cervical traction unit. To ensure patient relaxation, the patient holds a button which can disable the device.

Our unit is computerized and the therapist will set the cervical traction to deliver the traction force in a predetermined amount of time. The patient will experience a comfortable, gradual pull on the neck.

A portable home unit is available. This is especially useful for patients who travel, or patient who will benefit from further traction treatments, when the no longer require physical therapy sessions.

Lumbar Traction

Manual traction can be performed with the patient lying on their stomach or back.

Mechanical Traction involves the use of a split-traction table which pulls apart as the force is applied. The patient can lie on the stomach with the belt around their hips only, or on their back, with a chest and hip belt. Our computerized traction unit delivers a steady pull, the force of which is determined by the patient’s body weight and condition.

A home unit is available.