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What is Cervical Traction?

What Is Cervical Traction?
Cervical traction is a light stretching of the neck. The neck, or cervical spine, has seven vertebrae. Any of these can be injured from whiplash in a minor car accident, or even from sitting for extended periods of time at work or while driving.
Cervical traction helps create space between the vertebrae to keep the spinal discs healthy. It can be achieved through yoga poses, assisted stretching or with the help of a chiropractor, physical therapist or massage therapist.
Why Do Traction?
Untreated neck pain or discomfort can easily worsen and create a larger long-term problem. If not treated, an injured or compressed neck can lead to chronic neck pain or stiffness, and the pain could begin to move into the upper back and shoulders.
What Is An Example of Cervical Traction?
If you have an obvious neck injury, see your doctor. But if you suffer from minor neck pain and stiffness, you can achieve light cervical traction at home.

Device
Most cervical traction devices are mounted on doors for ease of use. Generally the first step in a cervical traction procedure is to mount the device on the top of a door.
Securing Stap or Harness
While seated in a chair with your back facing the door, lower the harness to head/chin level and apply the appropriate straps. Since each traction device is a little bit different, you will want to consult the instructional manual that came with the device. In general, the strap or harness should fit snugly around your chin and possibly wrap around the back of your head.
Applying Tension
With the harness securely in place, gently pull on the tension cord to initiate the traction on the cervical spine. Other devices may require you or another individual to place the lowest weight provided on the opposite end of the pulley with the materials provided. It is important to first gauge each amount of tension before applying any more to best ensure your safety and health.
Removing The Device
All cervical traction units should come with a safe removal system. One should never release the tension on a device by standing up and relieving tension at the pulley system. Generally the head strap comes with Velcro, and the chin strap with a hook or separate release mechanism to remove the device.
Contraindications
Cervical traction units can be dangerous if not used correctly. It is very important to first contact a health-care professional before using one of these devices. Never modify the device in any way, and always use the unit according to the exact specifications outlined in the manual.