Spinal traction, both mechanical and manual, are treatment option based on applying force to the axis of the spinal column. A spinal column region is pulled in opposite directions to stabilize or change the position of herniated, slipped, or bulging discs and/or nerve injury/damage to the spine. Traction treatment is crucial to spinal adjustments, especially disc or nerve compression.
It allows the chiropractor to alleviate any stress that could lead to disc problems like herniation, rupture, or displacement. However, traction is a general term. The concepts can apply to all forms of traction, but the application can be drastically different regarding static positioning and inverse force.
Mechanical vs. Manual Cervical Traction
Mechanical force is typically applied through a series of weights or a fixation device and requires the patient to stay in bed or be placed in a halo vest. The techniques and methodologies can vary, but the objectives/results are the same.
The utilization is developed case-by-case basis, and the chiropractor’s diagnosis/recommendations. Many chiropractors implement both mechanical and manual traction approaches. Choosing the right traction plan comes from a thorough examination, medical history, and understanding each method’s strengths.
The difference between mechanical and manual traction is simple. Mechanical traction is directed by machines, weights, and pulleys, while a professional chiropractor performs manual traction. With mechanical traction, an individual’s head is cradled into a sling, then positioned at the optimal position for the adjustment. The sling is counterweighted to hold the head/neck in that position, leveraging mechanical pressure and affecting change.
Manual traction has the individual lie down on a table, with the chiropractor pulling the head away from the neck to decompress the cervical spine. The adjustment/s can be a continuous pull or a series of low-force pulls in different directions. Again these depend on the individual’s condition and the nature of the adjustment.
Techniques and methodologies
Mechanical and manual traction can have similar results, but both offer different benefits based on the individual. Mechanical traction is a hands-free technique for decompression that allows chiropractors to focus on the patient’s needs when working on complex cases. This method is more applicable for severe cases, where the traction could last for 20-30 minutes.
Mechanical traction is helpful when teaching healthy posturing. Manual traction benefits come from a chiropractor’s control over the technique. With manual pulling, the chiropractor can increase or decrease the countering force. A hands-on approach enables chiropractors to feel the spinal adjustments and understand the effects of the traction.
The proper form of traction
The overall ability of traction to decompress the spine makes it a valuable approach to treating various conditions. The exact nature of the condition determines whether mechanical or manual traction will be used, along with the recommendation/treatment plan of the chiropractor. Injury Medical Chiropractic Clinic is committed to implementing the best approach for spinal correction for every patient. Mechanical and manual traction are just two adjustment modalities.
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Resistance Training For Everyone
Even if not an athlete, resistance training is important for functional fitness. Functional strength training attempts to emulate the physiological demands of real day-to-day activities. Traditional strength training focuses on specific muscle groups during the exercise, while functional training focuses on whole muscle groups to train the body for daily responsibilities.
Individuals might believe they are too old for resistance training. But research shows the benefits of improving an individual’s functional fitness level, specifically for older adults. Functional training resistance exercises and bodyweight movements can help the body become stronger, more flexible, more agile, and better equipped to handle day-to-day responsibilities. Plus, it can help with injury prevention.
Afzal, Rabia, et al. “Comparison between Manual Traction, Manual Opening technique and Combination in Patients with cervical radiculopathy: Randomized Control Trial.” JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association vol. 69,9 (2019): 1237-1241.
The information herein on "Mechanical Vs. Manual Cervical Traction: Chiropractic Clinic" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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