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Intermittent Cervical Traction for Radiculopathy

Normal cervical disks absorb stress applied to the spine and permit some degree of spinal motion. The water content and elasticity of the nucleus pulposus is highest in utero but aging gradually decreases the water content and elasticity. Cervical disk herniation usually occurs when flexion, extension, rotation, and their combination exceed the strength of the annulus fibrosis and the supporting anterior and posterior ligaments. Because the posterior longitudinal ligaments are relatively weak laterally, most herniations occur there. The most common levels of cervical disk herniation are C5-6 and C6-7 (about 90% of all cases).

The treatment for cervical disk herniation is essentially conservative, although surgical treatment may be necessary in cases of intractable pain or progression of neurologic deficits. Conservative treatment may include cervical traction, anti-inflammatory medication, chiropractic manipulation, and physiotherapy…