The Benefits of Traction


As a person gets older, the spinal discs, ligaments and cartilage no longer have a direct blood supply for the nourishment and elimination of tissue cell wastes. These tissues are then referred to as avascular. Avascular tissues require nourishment and waste elimination to function normally, and to repair and regenerate as they did when they were vascular. Motion is now required to pump nourishing fluids into, and waste products out of, avascular tissues such as the spinal disks and ligaments. This pumping motion is called loading and unloading.

Loading and unloading cycles are the physical actions of all Pettibon correction and rehabilitation procedures. Loading and unloading warm-ups and exercises with the Cervical Traction Unit and the Therapeutic Wobble Chair prepares the spine for rehabilitation with the PT-5 table and other adjustments. Loading and unloading helps the following:Animated portrayal of disc rehydration

  • Begin rehydration and increase disc height.
  • Increase disc, ligaments, and tendon, strength.
  • Helps prevent injury.
  • Aids the healing process of injured tissues and improves injured joints.
  • Lubrication and nourishment of spinal joints.

Loading and unloading is necessary to deliver nutrients into and remove waste products from tendons, ligaments and discs. The Cervical Traction device not only puts the necessary motion back into the cervical spine, it helps to restore disc height and eliminate pain. The Cervical Traction and Fat Traction (designed for TMJ patients) works to lower the cervical and thoracic spines resistance to mobilization and rehabilitation.

Cervical traction helps restore cervical mobility and reduces back and neck pain. It also relieves tension on the spinal cord as well as warming up the discs prior to adjustments.

The Pettibon System recommends that for home use, the traction use be in the morning and again before bed prior to spinal molding. It is critical that the patient do warm-up exercises with the Wobble Chair and Cervical Traction devices prior to using the full body traction tables.

A man on the PT-5 table while it is inverted with a harness around his hips and neckThe PT-5 Decompression table will also provide excellent full-body traction while utilizing vibration as well. Full body spinal decompression traction helps to restore and rehydrate the discs. The vibration works to relax the muscles allowing the traction to be more effective.

The spinal soft tissues are stretched, lubricated and warmed up by the cervical and lumbar loading and unloading cycles, the thoracic roll, and the 6-way stretch strap. After those warm-ups, 15 minute use of the PT-5 table will now be most effective. The constant force of the table creates a negative pressure in the disc, much like a syringe it pulls fluids into the disc. This negative pressure causes the bulging or herniated discs to retract and therefore releasing the pressure on those nerves.

A continuous system of loading and unloading exercises, done in a slow and easy pace to the patient’s pain tolerances, works best for those suffering from chronic pain. It is important to remember that pain is subjective and changes throughout the day.