What is manual traction?

Traction describes a pulling or drawing action which causes a stretch or separation of body parts by an applied force. The force can be continuous or intermittent and it is in a direction to pull joint surfaces apart.

Manual traction is when a physiotherapist has their hands on the patient and uses their body weight to apply the traction force. The period of traction generally doesn’t last very long.

Manual traction sounds quite scary however it is a safe treatment option that can be effective for certain conditions. All our physiotherapists are fully qualified and able to perform safe manual traction.

What conditions can manual traction treat?

In physiotherapy treatment traction is often used on the cervical or lumbar spine. Traction was traditionally recommended for nerve root compression treatment as the intervertebral foramen was narrowed or the disc material had herniated though the evidence is poor.

Your physiotherapist will carry out a full subjective and objective assessment when you first come for treatment. Following assessment, a tailor made treatment programme will be provided which may include manual traction as a treatment option if your physiotherapist thinks it is indicated. Manual traction is often used alongside other treatment methods such as exercises.

Manual traction can treat low back pain, cervical pain or pain that radiates to other parts of the body which is being caused by a disc protrusion between the vertebral bodies or if there are any degenerative changes.

When should manual traction be avoided?

Manual traction should be avoided in the presence of infection or a tumour local to the area that traction would be applied t.

What are the benefits of manual traction?

Manual traction can pull vertebral bodies apart, glide and distract the facet joints, stretch spinal musculature or widen the intervertebral foreamen. Manual traction aids:

  • Pain relief
  • Decreased stiffness
  • Improved range of movement

Why Farrell Physiotherapy?

We pride ourselves on providing excellent patient care ensuring you are always at the centre of what we do. We are committed to continuous education and development to make sure we are up to date with the latest practices and therefore you can feel confident you are getting the best possible advice and care when coming to Farrell Physiotherapy

If you would like to find out more about manual traction or any of our other treatments, or would like to book an assessment please call 01245 830280 or e-mail: infofarrellphysiotherapy@gmail.com.