If an individual experiences neck pain, the doctor might recommend physical therapy to manage the condition. Remember that neck pain can reduce the capability of the individual to turn his/her head, look up or down or perform daily activities such as exercising or sleeping.
The symptoms that often originate from the neck include pain in the center of the neck, pain in one or both of the shoulder blades and pain on one side of the neck. Sometimes, the symptoms originating from the neck can be felt as numbness, tingling or pain in the hand or arm.
Since various symptoms originating from the neck can be felt in different areas, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the exact cause of the symptoms and decide on the ideal way to manage the condition. One of the treatment options for neck pain is cervical traction.
How cervical traction works
Cervical traction is utilized for various purposes. It can be used to help reduce the compressing force in the neck which helps relieve the pressure off the discs in between the vertebrae in the neck.
Traction can also uncover the spaces where nerves leave the spinal canal which relieves pressure from a flattened nerve. In addition, traction also helps stretch the muscles and joint surfaces around the neck. The usual diagnoses that can greatly benefit from cervical traction include the following:
How cervical traction is applied
There are various ways in applying cervical traction to the neck. It is best to discuss with the doctor regarding the best way to use the neck traction.
Manual cervical traction
This type of traction is performed by a physical therapist that holds the neck and head in his/her hands and mildly provides traction or pulling force to the neck. The periodic episodes of lugging and resting are typically applied with every position held for up to 10 seconds.
Mechanical cervical traction
The mechanical traction for the neck involves the use of a harness that connects to your head and neck while lying down on his/her back. The harness is connected to a device that provides a traction force. This machine has a control panel where the physical therapist can adjust the amount of force applied to the neck.
With this type of traction, it can be used at home and involves fastening a strap to the head and neck while seated in a chair. The strap is connected to a cord that is strung via a pulley system over the door and traction is utilized with the help of weights, water bag or a sand bag attached at the opposite end of the rope.
In case the symptoms become worse at any time during the treatment, it is best to notify the physical therapist right away. Adjustments can be made to the treatment or the traction can be discontinued so that an alternative treatment can be started to manage the neck pain.