Is Spinal Traction the Answer to Your Chronic Back Pain?

Chronic Back Pain

Spinal traction is a therapeutic modality used to treat various spinal conditions by applying a gentle pulling force to the spine. Spinal traction in Edmonton aims to relieve pressure on the spinal discs, nerves, and surrounding tissues, thereby reducing pain and promoting healing.

What are the Types of Spinal Traction:

Here are some common types of spinal traction:

Positional Traction: 

Positional traction involves placing the patient in specific positions to facilitate spinal decompression.

Continuous Traction: 

Continuous traction involves applying a constant pulling force to the spine over an extended period, often several hours or overnight. 

Intermittent Traction: 

Intermittent traction involves applying traction to the spine in a cyclical manner, with periods of traction followed by periods of rest.

Segmental Traction: 

Segmental traction targets specific segments of the spine, such as individual vertebrae or spinal levels, to address localized issues or imbalances.

Cervical Traction: 

Cervical traction specifically targets the neck (cervical spine) and is commonly used to treat conditions like cervical disc herniation, cervical radiculopathy, and neck pain.

Lumbar Traction: 

Lumbar traction focuses on lower back pain (lumbar spine) and is often used to treat conditions such as lumbar disc herniation, sciatica pain, and severe back pain.

What is Chronic Back Pain?

Chronic pain management refers to persistent or long-lasting pain in the back, typically lasting for more than three months. Unlike acute back pain, which usually resolves within a few days to a few weeks, chronic back pain persists over an extended period of time.

What are the Various Causes of Chronic Back Pain?

Muscle or Ligament Strain: 

Overuse, poor posture, or sudden movements can cause strain on the muscles or ligaments in the back, resulting in persistent pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease: 

As time passes, the discs that provide cushioning between the vertebrae in the spine may deteriorate, resulting in persistent pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility.

Herniated Disc: 

Also called a bulging disc, it forms when the soft inner substance of a spinal disc extends outward and irritates nearby nerves, causing chronic pain, numbness, or tingling.

Spinal Stenosis: 

This condition entails the constriction of the spinal canal, which may exert pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in chronic back pain, weakness, and numbness.


This can affect the joints in the spine, leading to chronic pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion.


This condition occurs when one vertebra shifts forward over another, leading to chronic back pain, instability, and nerve compression.


Sciatica arises due to compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which stems from the lumbar region down the posterior aspect of each leg, resulting in persistent pain, numbness, or weakness in the lower back and legs.

Other Medical Conditions: 

Chronic back pain can also be associated with other medical conditions like fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, or ankylosing spondylitis.

Is Spinal Traction the Answer to Your Chronic Back Pain?

Whether spinal traction is a good choice for chronic back pain depends on various factors. Here are some considerations for evaluating whether spinal traction is a good choice for chronic back pain:

Underlying Cause: 

Spinal traction is often used for conditions such as disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and facet joint dysfunction, where decompression of the spine can alleviate symptoms. If your back pain is primarily due to one of these conditions, spinal traction may be a suitable treatment option.


While some individuals experience significant relief with spinal traction, others may not find it as effective. It is important to have a conversation with our registered physiotherapist regarding the potential advantages and drawbacks of spinal traction.

Health Status: 

Spinal traction might not be suitable for individuals with certain health conditions, including osteoporosis, spinal fractures, spinal cord compression, or severe osteoarthritis.

Comprehensive Treatment Plan: 

Spinal traction in Edmonton includes other therapies such as physical therapy, exercise, and lifestyle modifications. Here are some common therapies and exercises used in our clinic:

Manual Traction: This involves our registered physiotherapist using manual techniques to apply controlled force to stretch the spine.

Mechanical Traction: Mechanical traction devices may use harnesses, belts, or specialized tables to facilitate controlled stretching of the spine.

Decompression Therapy: Decompression therapy involves using specialized equipment to gently separate the vertebrae and create negative pressure within the discs.

Exercise Therapy:

These exercises aim to improve flexibility, strength, and posture, which can help to support the spine and reduce pain. Common exercises in our Family Physio include:

  • Core Strengthening Exercises: 
  • Such as plank variations, bridges, and abdominal bracing exercises to stabilize the spine and improve overall core strength.
  • Flexibility Exercises: 
  • Include stretches for the hamstrings, hip flexors, and lower back muscles to improve mobility and reduce tension in the spine.
  • Aerobic Exercises
  • Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling to improve cardiovascular health and promote overall fitness.
  • Postural Exercises:
  • Focused on maintaining proper alignment and posture throughout daily activities to reduce strain on the spine.

Physical Therapy: In addition to exercises, our physical therapists may utilize other modalities such as heat or cold therapy, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or massage to complement spinal traction therapy and address back pain relief.

Navigating Chronic Back Pain:

Chronic pain is an intricate and multifaceted condition that greatly influences the lives of millions of individuals worldwide. Spinal traction in Edmonton plays a valuable component in the treatment of lower back pain relief.

Family Physiotherapy in Edmonton offers a patient-centred approach that emphasizes collaboration between healthcare providers and individuals with chronic pain, which is essential for developing tailored treatment plans that target the particular requirements and objectives of every patient.


Book an appointment today with our registered physiotherapist and embark on your journey to recovery and enhanced quality of life!

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