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Isn’t Spinal Decompression Just Another Form of Traction? Decompression
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Isn’t Spinal Decompression Just Another Form of Traction? Decompression

In relation to the spine, decompression is defined as “A procedure carried out to relieve pressure on the spinal discs, spinal cord or nerve roots.”

Traction

In relation to the spine, traction is defined as “The application of tension or pulling to the spine.”

Methods of applying traction may include Gravity Boots, Spinal Traction devices, SpineMed Traction, DTS (Dynamic Traction System), Accu-Spina, Chattanooga Traction, or Lordex.

Comparing the Two

So, where your spine is concerned, Decompression relieves pressure whereas Traction is merely the act of tensioning or pulling.

Prior, unsuccessful attempts to reduce intradiscal pressure relied heavily on high-force, linear pulling motions that were unable to target specific spinal segments. High-force, linear pulling motions are effective at traction by definition (“tension or pulling”). However, simply “pulling” the bones of the spine apart (i.e., traction) results in little more than forcing the spinal muscles to protectively contract around the injury site. Unfortunately, these muscular contractions counteract the tension created by the traction and can actually increase pressure on the disc and spinal cord.

Effectively, traction can create COMPRESSION, the opposite of beneficial DECOMPRESSION, and makes the situation worse!

This explains the less-than-stellar success rates of most traction methods.

Several traction methods exist including gravity boots, spinal traction, over-the-door cervical traction, Lordex and SpineMed traction. All of these methods provide traction. However, none of them have been demonstrated scientifically to “relieve pressure on the spinal discs, spinal cord or nerve roots.”