When back issues arise, most people initially react to them by going to a medical doctor. While that’s always an option, it’s not often the best option with simple back pain and discomfort issues. Oftentimes, back pain sufferers would be far better off getting treatment from a reputable and licensed chiropractor.

Depending on the location and cause of your back pain and or discomfort, a chiropractor might choose to treat you with a treatment option like spinal traction therapy. Since there are real benefits you could derive from agreeing to this kind of treatment, a further discussion about the spinal traction therapy option seems to be in order.

What is Spinal Traction Therapy?

The term spinal traction therapy refers to a subset of treatments under the general category of spinal decompression therapy. It’s an FDA-approved treatment process designed specifically for the treatment of back pain and spine alignment problems.

Spinal traction therapy is used for the treatment of pain related to common spine conditions like spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, and ruptured or herniated disc.

How Spinal Traction Therapy is Administered

Spinal traction can be done manually but more often than not, said treatments involve the use of a traction medical device, which works as follows.

Manual spinal traction therapy requires a chiropractor to use manual force to manipulate joints and muscles. With force used in the proper spine locations, the vertebrae will separate, resulting in pain relief and hopefully spine realignment over the long term

With mechanical spinal traction therapy, patients are requested to lie on a treatment table while attached to a series of pulley-control slings/braces. The pulleys are manipulated manually or electronically to gently stretch the patient’s spine as needed. As the spine stretches, discs and vertebrae are allowed to move back into proper alignment. This serves to alleviate back pain and fix some of the aforementioned spine issues.

The 5 Benefits of Spinal Traction Therapy

While spinal traction therapy might not be suitable for all patients, it tends to be a go-to option for a lot of professional chiropractors all over the world. It’s a relatively easy treatment to administer, and its effectiveness is quite good.

As someone dealing with back pain because of any of the aforementioned conditions, you no doubt should be looking for a non-invasive treatment option. Spinal traction therapy might well be the option you need. If you were to agree to your chiropractor’s recommendation of spinal traction therapy, there are some benefits you might get from going through the treatment process. Let’s look at five (5) of these potential benefits.

1. Relieves pain and discomfort

The #1 goal of any kind of chiropractic treatment is going to be pain relief. That is absolutely the goal of spinal traction therapy.

The spinal traction therapeutic process serves to gently pull the vertebrae apart. As vertebrae are spread apart, any and all pain-causing nerves that are being pinched will get released. Almost immediately, the pain from pinched nerves will diminish.

Of course, it will take several traction treatments before the pain will diminish over the long term. The pain will initially keep coming back until the spine has been adequately realigned, putting vertebrae back into proper positioning. When properly aligned, they will no longer agitate or pinch the nerves running through the spinal column.

2. Promotes faster healing of tissues of the spinal discs

Spinal discs or intervertebral discs are composed of an outer membrane ((annulus fibrosis) with an inner core filled with mucoprotein gel. They serve as “shock absorbers” between vertebrae to keep the vertebrae from compressing together. This compression is what causes pinched nerves or wear and tear on the vertebrae bone mass.

Sometimes, the discs can slip from between the vertebrae. This is referred to as a “slipped disc.” A slipped disc is further exposed to the possibility of tearing, which would result in a ruptured or torn disc.

Spinal traction therapy serves to take the pressure off slipped or ruptured discs. Given enough time, the release of pressure can give the damaged discs adequate time to heal. It’s noteworthy that pinched nerves will also get adequate time for healing.

3. Prevents further degeneration of the discs

Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which discs will slowly wear down. This process is usually caused by the natural aging process, obesity, or excessive physical activity that involves a lot of stress being put on the back area.

As discs wear down, the process allows for vertebrae to start rubbing together. This can cause collateral spine issues like

  • Sciatica – pinching of the sciatic nerve (runs through the center of the spinal column and splits into each leg)
  • Scoliosis – curved spine
  • Spinal Stenosis – narrowing of the spinal column
  • Spondylolisthesis – slipping vertebrae
  • Herniated or ruptured discs

Given what’s at risk, slowing down the degeneration of discs is a much-needed benefit derived from spinal traction therapy.

4. Restores proper body movement, mobility, and function

As goes the spine, so goes the rest of the body. You cannot underestimate the importance of keeping your spine in proper alignment. As the center of your entire neuromuscular system, one spine issue can cause a multitude of problems with body function.

When the spine is out of alignment, the body can’t move properly. It puts tremendous pressure on the rest of the skeletal system, which often results in mobility issues. Also, as the skeletal system breaks down, it puts pressure on body organs. As body organs break down, it affects the immune system, respiratory system, and circulatory system.

Spinal traction therapy helps bring the spine back into proper alignment. That helps very much with the process of bringing the entire body back to proper functionality. That would likely result in improvements in all of the aforementioned areas.

5. Affordable and non-invasive treatment option

Earlier in the article, mention was made of other treatment alternatives for back pain. The problem with some of the more invasive treatment options is they come with risks. For instance, pain medication can certainly provide temporary pain relief. However, extended pain medication use comes with the risk of addiction.

There are similar risks related to epidural injections and surgery. As for epidural injections, the FDA only permits doctors to prescribe such injections no more than three times a year. That leaves patients pretty much at the mercy of how long the steroid injection alleviates their pain. In between injections, other treatment options might have to be used.

With surgery, there are risks on several different levels. Minor as they may be, there are always risks related to the use of general anesthetics. It’s also worth noting that recovery from back surgery can require a lot of downtime while not always delivering the best results.

As a non-invasive treatment option, spinal traction therapy is almost always risk-free. Very seldom do such treatments result in anything more than a little post-treatment soreness and discomfort.

It’s also a more affordable option as opposed to paying the high costs related to prescription medication, epidural injections, and surgery. If your insurance company covers chiropractic adjustments as they would medication and surgery, affordability would be a non-issue.


Here’s the bottom line. Chronic back pain can and will affect the quality of your life. It can adversely affect your overall physical and mental health, interfering with your ability to eat, sleep, and stay active. Knowing this, you’ll want to address your back pain issues sooner rather than later.

As a rule of thumb, choosing the least invasive treatment for any health problem is always a good idea. As long as your back pain issues don’t include circulatory issues or broken bones, a visit to a chiropractor is a good place to start looking for treatment.

Under the right set of circumstances, your chiropractor might prescribe spinal traction therapy. It’s a non-invasive back pain treatment option that often delivers positive results while also addressing the causes of back pain.

If you would like to know more about our chiropractic services and how we employ spinal traction therapy, we recommend that you fill our our online form.