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Flashcards in Traction Deck (12):

3 things to do BEFORE putting someone on traction for the first time:

1. Ask about contraindications
--> VA for CS (5 D's)
--> CE for LS

2. Perform manual traction & assess response

3. Check integrity of the ligaments
--> anterior shear test (LS)


Contraindications to Traction

1. VA
2. CE
3. RA
4. structural disease secondary to tumor or infection
5. TMJ dysfunction
6. any condition where movement is contraindicated (fusion, cord compression)


Intensity/Traction force

Lumbar spine
- 25-50% of BW (25% on first trtmt)
- increase wt if no response, decrease wt if symptoms are worse, and stop if no response after 2-3 visits

Cervical spine
- Upper: 10-15lbs
- Lower: 20-40lbs



first treatment = 3-5 minutes

Build up tolerance to 10-15 minutes

Consider SINS


Static vs. Intermittent

Same for LS and CS

Static - acute, moderate severe/highly irritable conditions

Intermittent - chronic, low irritability conditions


Patient & Cable Position

Lumbar spine - supine or prone
- posterior pull --> flexion; cable higher, w/ legs on pillow or bulster
- anterior pull --> extension; cable straight, w/ legs on pillow

Cervical spine - always supine
- Upper: lower angle
- Lower: higher angle


Effects of spinal traction

1. distraction of vertebral bodies
2. combination of distraction & gliding of facet joints
3. widening of IV foramen
4. Tensioning of ligaments
5. straightening of spinal curves
6. stretching of spinal musculature


Herniated Discs
- why
- ideal position & settings

traction seperates vertebra allowing the NP to migrate back towards the center of the disc w/n boundaries

best treated w/ static or long hold-rest periods (60sec hold, 20 sec rest) of intermittent

- 5-10 min treatment time
- posterior best for unloading the spine in 90/90


- why
- ideal settings

traction lowers interdiscal pressure & increases nutrition to the disc

optimal stimulus for disc = intermittent comp/decomp

- respond best to short hold-rest periods


Joint hypomobility
- why
- ideal settings

traction passively moves the joints, increasing mobility

best to use short hold-rest periods of intermittent


Facet impingement
- why
- ideal settings

traction releases restriction of facet joints

MANUAL traction ideal b/c it can be applied segmentally


Muscle Spasm
- why
- ideal settings

Traction decompresses or separates painful joint structures

--> if pain is relieved the muscle spasm will be relieved as a result of relaxation of nociceptive reflexes