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Lumbar Traction for Back Pain

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Lumbar Traction for Back Pain

Lumbar traction used in conjunction with exercise may be a physical therapy treatment for low-level back discomfort or sciatica.

A study published in The Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy (JOSPT) in 2016 challenges the effectiveness of lumbar traction in alleviating plantar fasciitis pain. Researchers consider lower back pain and PT exercises comparable. 

What Is Lumbar Traction?

Lower back (low back) traction helps to separate the spaces between your vertebrae, and the bones that make up your spine. In theory, slightly separating these bones can help reduce pressure on the pinched nerves (such as the sciatic nerve) to decrease your pain and improve your mobility.

It sounds like a logical approach to the problem, but research and logic don’t appear to agree.

What Does the Research Show About Lumbar Traction?

The study investigated the effect of lumbar traction on an extension-based exercise plan for treating back pain.

A group of 120 people with lower back discomfort and nerve root impingement had to alleviate their pain with lumbar traction exercises or non-exercise alternatives for discomfort. These methods were procedure-based, as they focused on flexing the spinal column backward, a movement that is believed to alleviate pain for many Americans with back discomfort and pinched nerves.

Adding lumbar traction to PT exercises offered no additional benefit over extension-based exercise alone for back pain involving lumbar nerve root impingement. Lumbar traction may simply be a waste of time (and resources) for back pain of this kind. Expensive machines and devices, such as lumbar decompression, generally fall into the category of traction, and so they may not necessarily help you during your back treatment.

The Best Treatment for Low Back Pain and Sciatica

If your back pain requires you to consider traditional medical treatments, performing postural exercises and physical therapy may be the best course of action. Subjects who are treated with PT exercises have seen amazing improvement in mobility and decreased pain.

In addition, exercise is an active treatment you can do wherever you might be. You do not need to arrange your physical therapy appointment, as you would be able to go to the place of the problem and get treatment. Your therapist can additionally educate you on how to avoid chronic back pain.

Does it matter what you’re doing? Yes. Research from a 2012 study revealed the significance of centralizing sciatic symptoms during repetitive movements. Centralization of pain that happens during exercise is a sign of good physical therapy. Visit your therapist for further guidance.

So, starting a regular exercise program that centers on easing your symptoms if you have back pain may get you back on your feet quickly and safely. Communicate with your primary care doctor before starting any exercise program for your back.

If you have low back pain or sciatica, certain treatments provided by your doctor may help. In the event that your physical therapist offers you lumbar traction for lower back problems, the results of this study indicate that it may not actually be necessary. You should discuss your concerns with your physician and perhaps consider certain alternative treatments for you.

Moving frequently can facilitate rapid recovery from back pain so make sure you include most of these exercises in your treatment program. Likewise, a referral to a personal fitness professional is a good idea to deal with procedures for the health condition as early as possible.

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