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Lumbar Traction Device
Lumbar traction is widely used to treat low back pain, often in conjunction with other treatment modalities. The traction may be applied intermittently, using any of several methods to treat conditions of the spine, in either an outpatient setting or in a home setting. Typically, these modalities are used short term but can also be use in long term. Various techniques have been reported to widen or decompress disc spaces, unload the vertebrae, decrease disc protrusion or muscle spasm, separate the vertebra, or lengthen and stabilize the spine. The duration of the exerted force applied may be intermittent or continuous throughout a treatment session. Traction therapy is consider to be a safe and effective treatment for back pain, especially with radiculopathy. Commonly used home lumbar traction devices employ a free weight and pulley system capable of holding approximately 20 pounds of sand or water as a traction force. A harness is attached around the pelvis (to deliver a caudal pull), and the upper body is stabilized with a chest harness or voluntary arm force (for the cephalad pull). In some cases, 70–150 pounds of pull are required to distract lumbar vertebrae.
Several available home lumbar traction devices that are not pulley and weight systems may apply traction forces greater than 20 pounds. This type of device may be indicated when use of a standard home pulley traction device has been unsuccessful. Some of the home lumbar traction devices we carry can apply up to 200 pounds of home traction force. Manufacturers propose that the device mimics the traction offered in a clinical setting by providing a friction-free split surface that actively moves, enabling vertebral separation by inducing a pulling force. It is suggested that, when using these devices, the patient can be positioned so that the lumbar curve is in any degree of flexion, neutral or in extension. Each of these devices has both a patient-controlled pressure valve that limits the amount of force transmitted to the user and a hand-held pump for immediate release of pressure.
Lumbar traction can relieve pressure on compressed nerves, help muscles relax and reduce muscle spasms. Traction increases the space between vertebrae - reducing pressure on intervertebral discs and nerve root. The vertebral separation is temporary, but may last long enough to allow some patients to exercise without aggravating sciatica.
The therapist must decide the optimum amount of force to use and the length of time the force is sustained. Enough force must be used to cause vertebral separation. Though relatively safe, excessive force could increase pain or injury. Force is increased slowly to avoid overstretching or triggering muscle spasms. Traction should not cause pain although mild soreness is often felt the next day.
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Lumbar Traction Device
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