When Your Doctor Recommends Traction Consider Flexion-Distraction

Traction vs Flexion Distraction for the spine

Flexion-Distraction, a Chiropractic Technique is Deemed Superior to Spinal Decompression to Reduce Pressure in Injured and Bulging Spinal Discs

Traction, as a treatment, has been used for centuries in an attempt to relieve radiculopathy and pain.  Seated, standing, supine, mechanical, manual; there are a vast variety of options when performing traction on a vertebral region.

Nearly every primary care physician and orthopedist refer daily to physical therapy for some form of traction.  They refer for traction because they are attempting to decrease intradiscal pressure.  What many of them don’t know is that a chiropractic technique called flexion-distraction is a far superior treatment choice.  It is our responsibility, as chiropractors, to promote and emphasize the effectiveness and safety of this treatment.

Over 65% of chiropractors report using flexion/distraction in their practice.  Research studies have proven that flexion-distraction of the cervical and lumbar spine decreases intradiscal pressure with clinical significance.  Decreased intradiscal pressure is thought to improve tissue flow gradients, alter nociception (pain transmission), and allow retraction (recovery/repair) of prolapsed disc material.

We have randomized controlled trials which have demonstrated the effectiveness of flexion-distraction for treating radiculopathy.  Additionally, the traction which many physical therapists use is void of any localizing effect!  Essentially, a little bit of the force or traction is applied everywhere; whereas with chiropractic flexion-distraction, we are able to focus at individual vertebral levels with much greater specificity.  Unlike spinal decompression which is done with a machine, flexion-distraction is a hands-on technique which allows the Doctor of Chiropractic to feel changes in muscle tension and segmental movement as the flexion-distraction is applied.

I have been using Flexion-Distraction technique for the past 23 years, since I was a student doctor back in Chiropractic College.  I have found flexion-distraction technique to be invaluable in treating my patients suffering from herniated or bulged discs.  Using this conservative technique along with physiotherapies, I have found that my patients recover much faster than those who receive traditional chiropractic adjustments or spinal decompression alone.

If you have been suffering with pain due to a herniated disc, call my office and schedule an evaluation to see if you are a candidate to receive flexion-distraction technique.  You could be nearly pain free and back to physical activity in as little as 6 weeks!  (239) 243-8735.


Click HERE for a video demonstration.


Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 954134, 10 pages

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *