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How to Use Cervical Neck Traction

By Carole Anne Tomlinson

Cervical traction has therapeutic value treating disorders of the neck that can result in severe pain for a person. Theses disorders include degeneration of the cervical discs, arthritis of the bone and different types of joint involvement, which cause compression of the nerves within the neck to occur. People with chronic neck and back problems also benefit from cervical traction, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

  1. Get training in setting up the cervical neck traction device. In most cases, your physician will explain to you how to use the counter weights attached to the device at your neck to help decrease compressional in your spine. The doctor also typically will send a therapist to help you set it up the first time.

  2. Hook up the cervical neck traction device to a door, if you have this kind. The angle and weights of the traction work with a pulley system. Your doctor will give you instructions for the system he has chosen for you, the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates. Some systems use metal weights while others use containers filled with water. In either case, use the amount of weight recommended by the physician.

  3. Test the traction device while the therapist observes. You will need to try the traction to see if you can tolerate it. The therapist will guide you through the steps of applying the halter support around your head and the 30 degree-angle you need for the therapeutic use of the traction device, the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates.

  4. Follow the doctor’s orders about how often to use the cervical neck traction device. She may recommend using it two times each day or more, depending upon your need and your tolerance levels. As you become more accustom to the device, the doctor or therapist may tell you to increase the weight, the frequency of therapy and the duration of each therapy session. The device works to pull the neck upward, separating the discs and allowing them more space, the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates. By performing this traction, you can help relieve pain by reducing pressure on the nerves of the neck. Repetition of the cervical traction therapy will continue to help relive the nerve compression within your neck, the U.S. National Library of Medicine indicate.

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