Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Neck FAQ

Question:

I have a catalog of home healthy care products. would one of those over-the-door home traction units help with my neck pain?

Answer:

Home cervical traction may be of some limited benefit. Newer, better units have been developed to help with some types of neck pain. Patients with cervical radiculopathy (CR) are likely to benefit the most. CR refers to neck and arm pain caused by pulling or pressure on the spinal nerve(s) in the neck region.

Traction assists by stretching the soft tissues and pulling the soft tissues apart. This has the same effect as opening or enlarging the space where the spinal nerve exits from the spinal canal.

Intermittent traction is used most often. The pull is applied for a period of time. Then the traction is released for about half that length of time.

Traction is not advised for patients who have damage to the spinal cord itself. This condition is called cervical myelopathy when it occurs in the cervical (neck) spine. Traction can put a stretch on the already compromised spinal cord. So before using this as a home remedy for neck pain, seek out the services of a physician or physical therapist who can advise you appropriately about using this particular treatment modality. John M. Rhee, MD, et al. Cervical Radiculopathy. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. August 2007. Vol. 15. No. 8. Pp.486-494.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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