Back Pain Blog

Benefits Of Traction For Neck and Back Pain

What is Traction Therapy?

Traction is used to treat pinched nerves, neck and back tightness, and headaches. While in traction, the neck or the low back is stretched, and along with it, the spine is stretched a little as well. If you have pinched nerves in your spine, this can help take some of the pressure off and ease arm or leg pain. Traction is also good for treating bulging discs in your spine, which can also pinch your nerves if they lose enough water in the middle. By pulling your spine apart a little, traction can help the disc’s water and gel slip back into place.

What Are the Benefits of Neck Traction?

There are many benefits that are associated with cervical traction for neck pain. It can help treat causes of neck pain, tension, and tightness in the neck. Neck traction can also aid in relaxing neck muscles which contributes to reducing pain and even increasing flexibility. Depending on the individual and their specific issues, there can be numerous benefits from neck traction.

What Are the Benefits of Lumbar Traction?

If you’re experiencing back pain that is interfering with your every day life, lumbar traction could be a beneficial in helping to relieve your pain. Specifically, lumbar traction can help take pressure off pinched nerves that will reduce pain and improve your flexibility. For athletes, this can be especially beneficial in helping them perform to the best of their ability. Compass Sports Medicine works directly with athletes on a one on one basis to achieve the maximum benefits of lumbar traction.

While traction therapy for neck and back pain is good for many conditions, there are some things it should not be used with, such as spinal fusion surgery, osteoporosis, and some spinal problems where the bones in your spine are slipping out of place. Each person is unique and should be consulted based on their individual needs to find the optimal solution to relieve the pain. 

Back Pain During Pregnancy Article by Spine Center PT Featured in Local Magazine

Karen Litos, PT, MPT is The Compass Rehabilitation Center's in-house Obstetrics Physical Therapist with extensive experience and education in evaluation and treatment of pregnant and postpartum women suffering from pain. To learn more about how therapy at The Compass Rehabilitation Center can help you regain control of your pain and improve overall health during pregnancy, delivery and recovery, check out  the July 2011 edition of Patient in Charge magazine available in area physician offices and local stores, or click on the attached link.

Workstation Ergonomics

by Mike Marcin, PT
Many of us notice aches and pains when sitting at a desk for long periods.  These can be annoying at first, but can also turn into serious medical issues if not properly addressed. 
Keep in mind, we have many things on our desks, and it is helpful to consider the impact of having them in the wrong position:
  • Monitor – should be an arms length away to avoid slouching and gazing to see the screen
  • Keyboard – keep it close to you, are your elbows bent (preferred), or are they almost straight as you reach for the keyboard. 
  • Document stand – these are helpful to avoid looking down at papers on your desk on a regular basis.  A document stand can be put next to the monitor or attached directly to a monitor
  • Mouse – keep your mouse as close to you as possible, preferably right next to the keyboard
  • Gel pads – these are helpful to avoid pressure on the wrist which can lead to problems such as carpal tunnel.  Gel pads are helpful in front of both the keyboard and mouse.
  • Phone – do you tip your head to hold the phone?  Do you hold the phone next to your ear for long periods?  If so, consider a headset to reduce stress on the neck.
 Most importantly, try to get up and move every thirty minutes, stretch if you need to, and always sit up tall with good posture. 

What To Look For In A Properly Fit Office Chair

by Mike Marcin, PT
As many people sit at their desk a majority of their day, sitting in an improperly fit chair can lead to repetitive strain and aches and pains throughout the body.
Here are a few things to consider in using your office chair:
  • Are you using the back support properly?  They are often adjustable, and can be raised or lowered.  It is very important to have good support for your lower back.
  • Are you using the arm rests?  You should be able to rest your forearms on the armrests and let your shoulders relax.  If you’re not using them, you often are holding up your arms, which can lead to stress on the shoulders and neck.  Armrests can often be raised or lowered, and in better chairs, be turned in or out.
  • Your ankles, knees, and hips should be at a 90 degree angle.  If you cannot reach this position, consider raising your chair; or if you cannot touch the floor, consider an elevated foot rest.
  • Is the seat too deep or shallow? Some seats move forward or backward.  Look for three fingers of space between your knees and the seat. 
  • Seat width is often overlooked.  Sometimes a wider chair fits people better, and sometimes a narrower chair may be better for your body type. 
 Also, keep in mind, if your desk gets in the way of making the needed changes with your chair, you may benefit from an ergonomic workstation evaluation