Many of you have been to chiropractors who do not utilize traction in the office. Some of you have never been to a chiropractor and may be wondering why traction is a necessary and an important part of your care. The fact is that traction is the only known conservative method used to restore normal curves to the spine. Traction is simply a sustained force applied to the spine in a specific direction, for the purpose of restoring normal spinal position. These traction forces are necessary to reduce abnormal spinal curvatures, correct abnormal postures, and will provide increased stability to damaged spines. These forces should only be applied by a practitioner certified in CBP® or Clinical Biomechanics of Posture®. The proper application of spinal traction will ensure safety and effectiveness of care.
Force and Time
Your spine exhibits many different properties. Elasticity, viscosity, and plasticity are the properties which are being addressed with traction. Elasticity simply means that your spine is like a rubber band. If you apply a rapid stretch to a rubber band, it instantly changes it shape, lengthens, and then returns to normal when the stretch is remove. The human spine is no different, if you apply a traction force, and then remove it quickly, the spine still resume its shape, even if that shape is abnormal! The spine also exhibits the property of viscosity, or, in other words, you spine is similar to silly puddy™. If you press on silly-puddy™ it will retain the shape of your finger. However, this shape is not permanent and can be changed with pressure in another direction. Your spine is no different. If a force is applied for a certain amount of time, a change will take place. However, if that force is removed too soon, the spine will again resume an abnormal shape. The ultimate goal of traction is to apply a force which will affect the plastic property of the spine. This means permanent change toward normal! If a traction force is applied to the spine for more than 10-15 minutes, a permanent change is made. That change may be small at first but, over time, the change will be more and more apparent, improving posture, structure, and function!
What should I expect while undergoing traction?
The CBP® doctors are trained to determine the proper time for traction therapy to begin. Once it has been determined that traction may begin without any increase in symptoms, there are some things you should be aware of. First, be patient! It has probably taken many years for you to develop your abnormal spinal positions and it will take some time to get you back toward normal. Traction forces will be applied to your neck, or your back, or both to achieve optimal spinal correction. Understand that you will be slowly introduced to this type of care and it is important to keep an open line of communication with your CBP® Doctor. If at any time, you experience an increase in symptoms, it is important that you notify your doctor to see if there needs to be modifications in force application or time duration of traction.
Will I experience pain?
NO! If at any time you experience an increase in pain during traction, it is vital to notify your CBP® Doctor to see if modifications are necessary. There are many different forms of spinal traction, making it important to have an open line of communication with your doctor. However because traction is changing the spine from an abnormal position back toward a normal position, you may experience some increased soreness. This soreness is normal, and frankly, is expected. If you did not experience increased soreness from the traction, it is likely that you are not changing your spine toward normal. Remember, just like exercising or learning to play an instrument, you will receive the greatest benefit if you are consistent, diligent, and challenge yourself toward a goal of normal spinal structure. The harder you work, the greater the spinal change and thus the greater the benefit to you and your health.
How long does it take?
It is necessary to remember that healing takes time. In order to achieve a great outcome, not only is hard work necessary, your consistence is vital. Look at it like this: if you were to exercise only one day per week, do you really think that you would be in great shape by the end of the year? Not likely. However, if you exercise for 52 days in a row (the same number!), you will definitely see results! Traction is the same way. You must be willing to consistently traction, with a concerted effort to increase time and force in order to see the kind of corrections you and your CBP® Doctor wish to accomplish.
What more will help my progress?
Now that you understand why traction is necessary to correct spinal structure toward normal, there are things you can do outside this office that will significantly benefit you while you’re here. Most importantly follow your doctors’ instructions. This means that if you have been instructed to increase water consumption, decrease smoking, or improve your diet and nutrition, be diligent about following through. Remember that the CBP® Doctors have your best interests in mind. Work with us to assure maximum results!