If you have chronic neck pain, headaches, tingling or pain in the arm, degenerative disc or degenerative joint disease, have been told by your doctor that you have “arthritis in your neck”, and or are over the age of 40, you probably will get huge benefit from doing home traction. For the neck we recommend the Pettibon home traction unit. It is inexpensive and can be done at home for 2-3 minutes several times a day. Far superior to pulley type traction devices. Intermitant traction which utilizes a pumping type motion is the way to go.
The spinal discs are avascular (lack of direct blood supply) after the age of 12. Avascular tissue needs nutrition and waste product removal to function normally; as well as for repair and regeneration. Motion is what is needed to get nutrients moving in and waste products moving out. Therefore loading and unloading cycles should be started in both the cervical and lumbar spine as soon as possible. This is accomplished by cervical and lumbar intermittent traction.
The average person loses about 2 inches in height by the time he or she is 65, which can be attributed to degeneration and thinning of the inter-vertebral discs. These discs not only act as shock absorbers, they act as spacers for the holes that allow the spinal nerve trunks to exit the spinal column. These holes or foramina not only contain a nerve root, but a fat pad, artery, vein, and lymphatic. When the discs thin, the resulting thinning of the foramina can cause constriction of the nerve flow and circulation. If these compromised foramina are in the part of your neck that controls the nerves going down your arm, you may experience numbness, tingling, or pain in your arms and hands. If the foramina in question were controlling your sciatic nerve, you could experience sciatic pain in the buttocks or legs. By doing traction, not only do we help the discs, we relieve pressure and constriction on nerves and circulation. Additionally traction helps to relieve muscle spasms.