Featured Speaker

Mr. Carman Wong

BCScBiol, BCScPT, FCAMPT, CG (IMS Physiotherapist Vancouver, BC

BIO: Orthopedics Now

Mr Carman Wong I hold a degree in Biology and Physiotherapy from UBC (2004). I completed my post-graduate training in the Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Therapy (FCAMPT) in 2010 and have extensive experience assessing and treating the spine. I also have treated many cases of shoulders, elbows, wrists, knees and motor vehicle injuries. I am a certified and experienced Chan Gunn IMS needling practitioner (2011), treating myofascial and neuropathic pain in the spine and extremities. I am trained in Diane Lee’s Integrated Systems Model for assessing and treating the thorax/pelvis and body as a whole for finding the sources of dysfunctions in the body. Being Bike Fit Systems Certified, I often combine my physiotherapy experience to bike fitting assessments in the prevention and treatment of biking related injuries. I do functional running assessments with my training from The Running Clinic.

Spinal traction is a physiotherapy treatment technique that applies a longitudinal stretch to the reachable joints and soft tissues, and it’s used commonly on the cervical spine and the lumbar spine, and also the thoracic spine by physiotherapists.

So spinal traction is often used when there’s a spinal injury or there’s pain in spine or pain down the arms from, or the legs from nerve injuries. There are two ways that traction may be applied. First one is by physiotherapists using their hands, so that’s manual traction, and it tends to be very specific. Maybe a shorter duration of traction.

The second way that traction may be applied is through a decompression machine, where the patient lies on a machine and the traction is applied at a relatively low grade and weight but for a longer duration, up to about 30 minutes even.

Spinal traction has several effects on the spine. It can obviously decompress the spine and the reachable structures, such as the discs and the reachable joints, and therefore decrease irritation on the nerves by increasing the space in the, the, the spine where the nerves exit. It can also decrease muscle spasm, increase blood flow, and decrease sensitivity and pain in the spine.

The conditions that can often be helped are disc injuries, where there are nerve injuries or nerve pain down the arms and legs. It can help in advanced degenerative changes, such as stenosis. And it can help in just simply stiffness in the spine created by the joints from things such as sitting too long at the desk or traveling or lifting heavy objects.

So for a person that spinal traction might be helpful for, the first step is to see a physiotherapist to assess the condition and assign some symptoms and to eliminate any risks to the patient. Local Physiotherapists 

And when the patient receives spinal traction, there are some things that can happen after traction, such as post-traction soreness, which is quite normal. And, but generally it should be quite comfortable.

Traction can be used over time. Usually it’s over several weeks, two to three times a week, where the patient comes in and receives either by the physiotherapist or by machine, and the results are generally progressive, and people feel better as treatment goes on. Not every condition has a certain number of treatments a week. It’s dependent on the patient and the signs and symptoms of the patient.

You want to bring down your pain and any discomfort in your back and legs before continuing with exercise therapy because the muscles will strengthen and respond better to exercise after the pain and sensitivity has come down.

If people have more questions about spinal traction or if they think that it might help them, they should consult their physician just to rule out any risks and to see a physiotherapist to rule out any risks and assess them properly before applying traction.

Presenter: Mr. Carman Wong, Physiotherapist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Physiotherapist

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