When I was battling lower back and leg pain and seeking treatments from chiropractors, physiotherapists and massage therapists no one made me aware of treating my condition with traction. Now that I know about it and have benefitted greatly from it I want to share it with every person I meet that suffers from sciatica down their leg or radiculopathy down their arm.
What is Traction?
Simply traction is the action of pulling something. In the case of lumbar traction your hips are pulled away from your upper body to give a deep stretch to your spine and counteract the years of constant gravitational compression of our vertebrae. With cervical traction the pull is placed on the neck so as to stretch apart the vertebrae in the neck instead. As you create more space discs within the spine can reabsorb moisture and nutrients needed to keep they hydrated, flexible and strong.
How do you get Sciatica Relief from Lumbar Traction?
The sciatic nerve is a collection of nerve roots that have exited the lumbar region of the spine. This is the largest nerve in your body and is most likely injured at the level where the nerve roots exit the spinal column. How they are injured is typically by compression of a spinal segment that can narrow the “exiting door” for the nerve root or cause the disc (shock absorbing padding) to bulge onto the disc and choke the life out of it so to speak. Compression of the spine over time from poor posture, long sitting, and the pull of gravity leads to spinal degeneration. The best way to counteract this is to pull your spine and stretch it out again. You will experience sciatica pain relief as soon as you get rid of this compression and the bulging disc off your sciatic nerve root. Lumber traction will give you this deep stretch and encourage the bulging disc to actually suck back in through negative pressure. Over the first few treatment sessions you will begin to see improvement and sciatica pain relief at last.
Other forms of Sciatica Relief
The first few days of initial injury it is advised to stop work and rest then gradually return to your normal activities without exacerbating the symptoms. During these days it can help to apply cold compress to the back to reduce swelling then alternate to hot compress to encouraged circulation and healing.
Along with the symptoms of lower back and leg pain your body will be trying to protect the injured area by stiffening your lower back muscles. Your muscles are actually guarding the area from excessive movement so the new injury can heal which is good at first but chronic guarding that is not treated can cause more spinal compression. Lumbar traction is excellent for stretching out these muscles but also massage, a physiotherapist trained in IMS (intramuscular stimulation), or use of a tens machine will work on relaxing these tight muscles and make it easier to increase your range of motion.
The most basic and essential exercise for sciatica relief is to immediately start stretching backwards. To do this lay on your belly and lift only your upper body gradually off the floor with your arms to the point of a comfortable stretch without exacerbating the symptoms down your leg. Stretching back in this way helps regain the natural lumbar curve that we tend to loose with long periods of sitting and frequent bending.
For most people finding a treatment that will finally get rid of their pain would be a major blessing. If you start with seeing out the professional help of a physiotherapist that preferably has training in IMS you are starting on the right track. If you find yourself at a plateau in your recovery like I did trying out lumbar traction could just be your ticket to full recovery. Ask your therapist about traction and if they have it available for you to use for free in their clinic. Otherwise you can find a Saunders Lumbar Traction retailor by clicking here.