A cervical traction device is used to treat different types and causes of neck-related pain and discomfort. It functions by creating expansion and eliminating compression from the neck discs and vertebrae. It is an alternative treatment method for surgery and medication. Unlike complicated, potentially dangerous surgical procedures, cervical decompression devices can provide long-term relief for chronic pain and neck injuries without the risks associated with surgery. They are also lightweight, easily portable, and can be used almost anywhere with minimal distraction.
How It Works
Traction is a technique through which force is applied to the body, stretching tissues and separating joints or fragments. Cervical traction primarily extends the vertebrae's opening spaces on the neck, relieving pressure applied to the discs. It is fast-acting and highly effective. Other than stretching and separating joints to increase flexibility, it alleviates spasms and sprains, helping to flatten herniated discs. Poor posture affects the muscles around the cervical section of the spine, altering the discs' positioning. This reduces the effectiveness of the blood supply, resulting in nerve irritation.
Neck traction using cervical traction devices reverses this by allowing the herniated discs to settle in place. This ultimately increases blood flow, assisting muscle and tendon functionality.
Causes of Back and Neck Pain
The prevalence of neck and back pain among society is primarily due to lifestyle preferences and work environments. With most working environments shifting into computers, we do not get the chance to stretch as often as we should. Sitting down for long hours creates compression on the spinal discs that can be countered by regular exercises. The following are the most common causes of back and neck pain.
This is among the most common causes of neck and back pain. Patients clock into the outpatient department complaining of sharp back pain without knowing what might be the cause. Muscle injury commonly occurs when fibers stretch too much and tear. This may be due to heavy lifting and repeated tension and stress on back and neck muscles.
When cervical discs bulge and protrude outward, they irritate nearby nerve roots, joints, and muscles, causing stabbing pain. This is caused by increased compression of the spine. Repeated pain relievers may not work as effectively as stretching the spine through exercise or spinal traction therapy.
Lumbar Degenerative Disc Disease
Spinal discs undergo wear and tear as we go about our daily activities. However, as you progress with age, wear and tear becomes chronic, irritating nerve roots and flares up, requiring professional examination. Traction therapy is a treatment technique suitable for this disease.
Facet joints of the spine undergo wear and tear, causing pain when bending or twisting. When left unattended, this pain causes stiffness of the neck due to muscle pain and irritation of nerve endings.
Spaces between the spine reduce in size, increasing pressure exacted on each disc. Increased discomfort from this tension causes extreme back pain that requires a medical diagnosis.
Other causes of neck pain include and are not limited to heart attack, meningitis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and spondylosis.
Who Uses Cervical Neck Traction Devices?
Using neck traction devices should not only happen when you are in a hospital ward but also after a long day at a backbreaking workstation. Approximately half of the world population will experience clinically significant neck pain episodes at some point in their lives. The prevalence of this pain varies between gender, age, work environment, and income levels. However, the general risk factors include sleep disorders, smoking, psychopathology, and people living a sedentary lifestyle.
People who use cervical neck traction devices to relieve neck stiffness include those with a history of trauma due to brain injuries and sports injuries during games. Office workers, manual laborers, and health care workers are among the individuals considered the best candidates for neck stretchers due to occupational stress.
Benefits of Neck Traction Devices
Better Alignment of the Spine
The cervical spine's alignment improves after using the neck traction technique, as the bulging discs do not cause stress to nearby muscles. It keeps the spine in shape, allowing for the execution of daily activities with ease.
Increased Blood Circulation
Bulged spinal discs press on the underlying muscles, increasing the tension on blood vessels within the spine. Using a neck traction device relaxes these muscles, giving room to the vessels for increased blood flow.
Neck and back pain reduce the convenience of doing our daily activities. Traction therapy stretches upper back muscles increasing neck and back flexibility for a better experience when turning or bending.
Due to the increased compression caused by the weight of the head, spinal discs become rigid, reducing head and neck mobility. Separating the joints experiencing irritation increases mobility and work efficiency overall.
Poor neck posture constricts and shortens some neck muscles and stretches others, causing wear and tear. Tearing of muscles causes stabbing pain and discomfort that is reliably relieved by regular traction therapy.
Changing posture easily without struggle is an underrated exercise. Decreased blood flow to the neck muscles weakens them, causing the inability to move neck muscles freely. As pointed out earlier, increased blood flow through traction improves muscle recovery, reducing stiffness.
Improved Muscle Relaxation
Traction therapy rejuvenates sore and tired muscles by improving the functionality of blood vessels and sensitive nerve endings. This is a necessary exercise after spending long hours driving or sitting in front of a computer. Our professional team recommends using cervical posture pump traction for a similar relaxation experience.
Improved Range of Motion
Herniation resulting from sedentary lifestyles and extreme sporting activities reduces the ability to bend, turn, or freely stretch. Traction relieves pain and, in turn, improving the range of motion.
Reduced Nerve Irritation
Healing of muscle injuries requires quality traction therapy to reduce instances of trapped sensitive nerve endings due to delayed scarring of muscles.
For How Long Should One Use a Neck Traction Device?
The amount of time varies depending on your healthcare provider, neck pain intensity, and the device manufacturer. Neck traction procedures should not be extreme or surpass the threshold your body can take. Traction therapy should be done in short periods for several sessions in a day. The amount of time also varies depending on the type of device. These are the most common types of neck traction techniques.
Mechanical Cervical Traction Device
This cervical traction procedure requires a physical therapist to operate and harness hooks and weight systems for proper application of pressure. Time taken depends on the nature of the neck and spine discomfort.
Over-the-Door Neck Traction Device
This home-use device consists of a harness attached to a rope, which is then threaded through a weighted pulley system over the door. The counterweight is usually a bag of water that can be easily adjusted by how much water you fill it with, from 2 to 20 pounds of pressure. The user then places their chin in the harness and is able to lean back, lie down, or sit in a comfortable position as the over-the-door neck traction device stretches their neck muscles over short periods a couple of times per day.
While over-the-door neck traction devices are inexpensive and fast-acting, they are less portable than other options and may require the assistance of a physical therapist or loved one for the first few uses.
Manual Cervical Traction Device
The physical therapist will suspend weights to gently pull your head away from the neck while you're lying down. The exercise lasts for a considerably short period, say 15 to 30 minutes.
Air Neck Traction Device
Inflatable neck collars or air neck traction devices are great entry-level neck stretchers. Simply place the collar around your neck, inflate with the air pump, and leave it on for about 20 to 30 minutes a few times per day. The greatest benefit is that these can be used while still doing other activities.
The most compact and convenient type, pneumatic traction devices simultaneously pull on the head while pushing down on the shoulders, releasing tension on the cervical spinal column. Some versions of pneumatic devices have rotating head frames that the patient can control for greater flexion of the neck.
Who Should Not Use a Traction Device
It is not recommended to use neck stretchers if you have had neck surgery or are not completely healed. The application of pressure may alter the healing process, destroying muscles already healed.
How Often Should You Use a Neck Traction Device?
The choice to use a neck traction device is personal if it aims to stretch your muscles after a long drive or if you have been sitting down for too long. We recommend that you contact your doctor to avoid unwanted physical damage.
Does Insurance Cover Cervical Traction Devices?
Insurance companies have specific policies that cover neck stretchers. We recommend that you contact your insurance provider directly and know the required documentation.
Are Home Neck Traction Devices Safe?
Cervical traction devices manufactured for home use are generally safe for an overall functionality in relieving pain. Before beginning treatment, it is recommended to consult a doctor or a certified physical therapist to avoid confusion. After using a home neck traction device, the results differ from one individual to another due to the method of use. Side effects that may result from these exercises include headaches, nausea, and dizziness. We recommend that you consult your physician or physical therapist to avoid further injury.
It would be best if you observed the guidelines given by your doctor while doing these exercises, making sure you do them correctly. Using the right weights is of significant importance. To make sure you are safe from joint dislocation and posture discomfort, do a warm-up before using the neck traction device. Once you release yourself from the device, keep your spine aligned with your head as you stand to avoid extreme dizziness.
Cervical traction is a non-invasive technique wonderfully effective in relieving neck pain and improving overall body performance for productivity. Besides your financial strength, it is also essential to consult your doctor about the most recommended traction device for you. Use the device up to the point you experience relief, and avoid pushing your body to extremes to prevent injuries.