Cervical/Lumbar Traction

Cervical/lumbar traction is a therapy that stretches the spine to relieve pressure on compressed nerves and stretch tight muscles, in order to treat back and neck pain. It may also be used for realigning the spine in cases of dislocation. Traction may be performed manually or mechanically (with the use of weights and pulleys).

Excessive pressure on the spine from injury or stress may cause discs present between the vertebrae to herniate. Nerves exiting and entering the spine may become compressed by these herniated discs. Traction or spinal decompression therapy separates the vertebrae, reducing pressure, which may reverse disc herniation, facilitate uptake of healing nutrients into the disc, stretch muscles that have tightened as a result of spasm, and realign the spine. It is helpful for treating painful conditions such as osteoarthritis, herniated discs, bone spurs, sciatica, pinched nerves and degenerative disc disease.

During cervical (neck) spine traction, steady or intermittent force is applied to the neck manually or mechanically. The manner of traction, how much force is used, and how long you should remain in traction, depends on your condition.

During lumbar (lower back) spine traction, you lie on a motorized table. A harness is fastened around your hips. The upper half of the table is fixed, while the lower half of the table slides back and forth producing traction.

Traction may include 15-30 sessions, spread over a 4-6 week period.

Traction is not recommended when the structure of the spine is compromised such as in osteoporosis, tumours or cervical rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital


    Ashford and St Peter’s
    NHS Foundation Trust
    Guildford Road, Cherstey,
    Surrey, KY16 0PZ.
    Ph: 01932 722 730
  • The BMI Runnymede Hospital


    The BMI
    Runnymede Hospital
    Guildford Road,
    Ottershaw, CHERTSEY,
    KT16 0RQ.
    Ph: 01932 877800
  • Spire St Anthony’s Hospital


    Spire St Anthony’s
    801 London Road,
    SM3 9DW.
    Ph: 020 8337 6691
  • Nuffield Health Woking Hospital


    Nuffield Health
    Woking Hospital
    Shores Road,
    GU21 4BY.
    Ph: 01483 331257
  • Ramsay Health Ashtead Hospital


    Ramsay Health
    Ashtead Hospital
    The Warren,
    Ashtead, Surrey.
    KT21 2SB.
    Ph: 01372 221400