How Traction Can Help Low Back Pain

Traction for back pain relief

We at Back and Body Medical NY have written in the past about mechanical traction for those with neck pain, but we’ve never discussed the possibility of it treating low back pain (lbp). Today, we will be looking at what scientific literature has to say about traction for lbp. 

In a 2018 review, researchers looked at data from existing studies focused on the use of traction on the lumbar spine. They found 37 randomized clinical trials that reported on five different types of traction: mechanical, auto-traction, manual, gravitational, and aquatic. The team found great variability in the different types of traction and saw some differences based on force, rhythm, duration, and frequency of the treatment. The patients involved included those with acute, subacute, and chronic lbp patients. Some with sciatica, some without. 

The review did not make an overall conclusion of the effectiveness of traction because of the various different types of traction and the different diagnoses of patients. But, some other studies that included many different patients proved otherwise. 

The researchers discussed another pilot study which used inversion traction. This traction is unique because it can be performed at home, which is more cost effective and practical for the patient and doctor. Each participant had one herniated disc in their low back with sciatica. A group of patients who were waiting for surgery were assigned to one of two groups: physical therapy only, or physical therapy along with inversion traction. This study was successful because more than half the involved patients in the PT plus inversion cancelled their surgery. 

The group receiving PT only had a 22.2% rate of cancellation, while the PT plus inversion traction group had a 76.9% cancellation rate and avoided surgery! The authors concluded that the use of inversion traction resulted in a major reduction in the need for surgery, and a larger study should be done to further validate this claim.

Traction may be useful to manage low back pain, depending on their situation. Here at Back and Body Medical NY, we will use a variety of treatments such as  spinal manipulation, mobilization, nutritional advice, exercise recommendations, and more. Set up an appointment today!

If you are in pain, suffer from back pain, neck pain, headaches or whatever, come in and see us, we can help. We also accept insurance and would be delighted to help you out of pain. Call us today or Schedule an appointment.

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