A complete guide to learn about cervical traction – benefits, how to wear, types, home usage

Cervical traction is a treatment used in physiotherapy. It helps to treat neck pain and cervical radiculopathy. Cervical radiculopathy is a condition where the nerve root in the cervical spine is damaged or inflamed. Cervical spine is the spinal bones in the neck region.

What is cervical traction?

It is a modality applied in the neck. The traction stretches the neck. This separates the disc and joints in the cervical spine.

What are the symptoms of neck pain?

  1. It starts with bearable pain or discomforts while turning the neck.
  2. Other symptoms include numbness, difficulty in swallowing, movement difficulties in the neck region
  3. Some feel drowsy, light headedness, swelling in the lymph node, swishing in the head, etc.
  4. Neck pain is also accompanied with facial pain, headache, arm numbness and shoulder pain.

Why are neck pains caused?

The neck pain is mainly caused because the nerves in the neck region are pinched in the neck. The damage in the nerve can be because of infection, accidents or physical conditions.

What are the causes of neck pain?

  1. Neck strain is the common cause of pain.
  2. Neck pain is also caused due to osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, cervical radiculopathy.
  3. It can also come from infections like viral infection in throat, tuberculosis infection, septic discitis and meningitis.
  4. It is also caused due to uncomfortable sleeping positions.
  5. Apart from medical conditions, it can also be caused due to motor vehicle accidents, horse riding and sports.

How long should one do cervical traction?

The scientific study and info on all cervical things say that cervical traction should generally be done for about 15 to 20 minutes per session. However, one can perform several sessions in a day.

What are the types of cervical tractions?

Air Neck cervical traction device

It is an electronic device which inflates when placed around the neck. They have soft pillow like consistency. They help to take the pressure off the neck and shoulders. It is portable.

  1. Working – It is tied around the neck. A pump attached to the device fills it with air. The air is filled till the user finds comfort.
  2. Drawback – These types of devices are not made of quality materials. Some begin to leak air after some days. They also inflate around the jaws causing discomforts.

Over the door cervical traction devices

They are placed at the back of a door as the name suggests. The process of wearing the traction is complicated as compared to the other cervical tractions. The traction is connected to a rope. The rope is part of a pulley that goes over a door. The traction can be used by sitting and leaning back

The major advantage of these traction devices is that they increase the easiness around neck faster. The main drawback is that it cannot be used lying down. It takes time for the body to adjust to the weight. It also causes burning sensation in the chin.

Posture pumps

They are the most expensive traction device of all. This is mainly because they are lightweight and are made of durable materials. The only drawback in using these devices is that they are not portable as that of the sir neck devices. The link provides other info on all cervical things.

Manual cervical traction

The physical therapist makes the patient lie down. He gently pulls the head away from the neck and holds it in the position for some time. They release and repeat the process for the next 15 to 20 minutes.

Mechanical cervical traction

This is done by a physical therapist. The patient is made lie flat on his back. A harness is attached to the head and neck. The harness on the other end is attached to a machine that adds weight to pull the head away from the spine and neck.

What are the treatments for neck pain?

  1. The treatment for neck pain includes traction, heat or cold application, physical therapy, pain relief patches, Jacuzzi treatment.
  2. Self – care treatments include relief exercises, neck pillows, cool and hot pads.
  3. Acupuncture is considered as one of the best cures for neck pains
  4. One can also use anesthetic creams, muscle relaxants, etc.

Tips to prevent neck pain

  1. Always use a comfortable pillow: The pillow should keep the head, neck and spinal in a straight line. The natural curve of the neck should be held intact by the pillow.
  2. Always sleep on the back: If the sleeper is used to sleep on his side, make sure the pillow is not too high.
  3. If the person uses computer frequently: His monitor should at the eye level. Avoid facing the laptops with head downward.
  4. Texting for longer duration leads: To premature degenerative changes in the neck. It also adds stress on the joints, discs and ligaments. Avoid neck strains by raising the mobile to eye level, using pillows to rest the hands and device.
  5. Avoid cradling the phone: Often people tend to tilt their heads while watching videos or movies. Use a headset to avoid these situations
  6. Exercise and stretch the neck frequently.
  7. Drink plenty of water: The discs in the neck region should be well hydrated to prevent the damages in the nerves passing through the region.
  8. Always carry weight evenly: People tend to carry heavy purse or a shoulder bag or briefcase to work. This regular uneven weight lifting causes the shoulders to become uneven.
  9. Always keep the posture straight and erect: For instance, people generally sit with their head and shoulders in the forward posture. This loads the neck region as the head is ahead of shoulders. Such postures should be avoided. Place the head, neck and spinal in a straight line. This can be achieved by cautious self – observations.
  10. Irritation in the facet joints: They are small knots in the muscles around the neck region.