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Journal of the Korean Academy of Rehabilitation Medicine 1977;1(1):5.
The Effects of Traction on the Cervical Spine
Yong Pal Ahn, M.D., Kun Whan Lee, M.D.*
Department Internal Medicine & *Orthopaedic Surgery, St. Mary's Hospital, Catholic Medical College, Seoul, Korea
경추의 견인요법과 그 효과
안용팔, 이근환*
가톨릭 의과대학 내과학교실 및 *정형외과학교실

With the revival of interest in the mechanical derangement of the spine in this century and the demonstration that many forms of neurogenic pain were attributable to intervertebral disc protrusion or degenerative change of spine, traction began to be used in the treatment of painful conditions arising in the spine.

Cervical traction in contrast to lumbar traction is more widely used because of its effectiveness. But, to be effective, sustained cervical traction requires forces up to 35-45 pounds, which the patient can not tolerate for long periods due to pain and discomfort. The discomfort experienced by the patient from such large forces led to the, development of applying intermittent traction.

To study differences in results between the classical sustained and intermittent methods, experimental cervical traction with one fourth body weight was carried out on 13 normal adults and cervical spondylotic patients. The increase in the length of cervical spine and the discomfort which the patients felt were analyzed with the following results;

1. During each traction, average increase in the intervertebral disc space was 0.9-1.0 mm. There was no difference between the two methods. 5th disc space showed the largest increase and followed by the 6th space.

2. Average increase in the entire length of cervical spine during traction was 4.9mm in intermittent and 4.4mm in sustained traction.

3. 5 minutes after removal of traction, average increase in the entire length of cervical yertebra was 1.4-1.5mm.

4. A minimum of 25 pounds is needed for the increase in the cervical disc space in adults.

5. Patients experienced more discomfort in sustained traction than in intermittent traction, larger traction forces could be better tolerated by those on intermittent traction.

It was found from this study that intermittent traction is a more useful and effective method than sustained traction in treating several cervical spine conditions, because with a given traction weight similar effect can be obtained with lesser discomfort.

Key Words: Traction, Cervical


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