Spinal decompression traction therapyBy Nigel Chua
Spinal decompression traction therapy refers to a computerized safe, accurate and gradual method of providing decompressive traction forces to your back and/or neck muscles and joints to provide both pain relief and stiffness/spasm relief to the spinal muscles and joints.
This spinal decompression traction therapy is used specificly for patients who suffer from back and neck pains such as:
- neck aches and pains
- neck-related headaches
- low back pains
- back pains
- hip pains
It's safe to be used for patients with spinal disc-related pains as well.
Unfortunately, back and neck pain is so rampant and prevalent that it's estimated that about 20-33% of the population has back and/or neck pain at some point in their lives. In fact, even children may suffer from back pain, either caused by
- playing sports
- being active or
- back pain due to school bags
PATIENTS NEED TO BE ASSESSED AND TREATED BY OUR SENIOR PHYSIOS FIRST
For all patients with back and neck pains or stiffness and wants to receive spinal decompression traction therapy, they always have to be first:
- assessed by our senior physiotherapists first
- get back and neck physiotherapy which may include
a) hands-on manual therapy
b) ultrasound therapy for accelerated soft tissue healing
c) joint and soft tissue mobilization and stretching
d) exercise therapy (including home exercises program)
e) and more
The reason for this is we want to first understand your body, your condition(s), your habits, pain tolerance etc - this is mainly so that we can establish:
- if it's suitable for you
- what's the decompression force that's suitable for you
- how long this decompression force should be
IS IT UNCOMFORTABLE? HOW WILL SPINAL TRACTION BE DONE?
Patients will be fully clothed, and usually lying face-up on a specially-designed medical bed, and either your back or your neck will be connected to the traction machine.
The traction machine will be setup by your specific senior physiotherapist who has treated your condition, to the level of decompressive traction force that your back and neck will benefit from.
There is also a safety stop button (which though which has never been used before), to stop the machine in the event of discomfort or pain. The decompressive traction machine provides a deep traction that's so comfortable and relaxing that most patients nap/snooze/sleep on it.
REALLY, PATIENTS FALL ASLEEP USING TRACTION. QUESTION: WON'T THAT BE UNCOMFORTABLE?
Frankly, patients who has back or neck pain...usually are in pain most of the time. Hence "being in pain" is their usual experience, and it wont be surprising that they already cant sleep well because of the disruptive nature of pain.
With the decompression traction therapy, even though it may "look" uncomfortable, but the real experience is that it may help reduce pain or provide such pain/ache relief that is deeply relaxing and that's why patients can truly rest at the machine.
On top of that, it's
- safe and gentle and gently progressive
- has a safety stop mechanism
Patients often finish the session very refreshed and has decreased pain.
HOW MANY DECOMPRESSIVE TRACTIONS SESSIONS WOULD YOU NEED?
That really depends on a few factors:
- how mild, moderate or severe your back and neck conditions is (of course, severe conditions naturally take much longer)
- how acute/fresh/recent your injury is
- your age (younger patients and bodies naturally heal better and faster)
- how your back and neck muscles and joints respond to traction
- how compliant you are with home exercise program
- how experienced/skilled is your physiotherapists
- and more
Conservatively, you can assume between 6-12 sessions. Some patients will take much more than that (we have patients coming in regularly for months and years), some may take a couple of sessions.
IS SPINAL DECOMPRESSION REALLY SAFE?
It's a commonly used equipment in most private and public hospitals, and it's compliant with the US FDA restrictions.
This means that as long as the physiotherapist in charge is
- experienced and skilled in the management of spinal conditions
- trained and experienced with the spinal decompressive traction machine.