What is the role of cervical mechanical traction in the treatment of cervical spondylosis?

Updated: Nov 09, 2018
  • Author: Sandeep S Rana, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Cervical mechanical traction, commonly used for cervical radiculopathy, in addition to cervical joint distraction, may loosen adhesions within the dural sleeves, reduce compression and irritation of discs, and improve circulation within the epidural space.

  • Studies regarding its efficacy are conflicting, with intermittent traction probably being more effective than static traction. Initially, a weight of 10 lb is recommended, eventually increasing to 20 lb as tolerated.

  • It can be used at home 2-3 times daily for 15 minutes at a time. It is contraindicated in patients who have myelopathy, a positive Lhermitte sign, or rheumatoid arthritis with atlantoaxial subluxation. A retrospective study found that cervical traction provided symptomatic relief in 81% of the patients with mild-to-moderately severe cervical spondylosis syndromes. [34]

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