Who Benefits From Traction (Decompression)?...Finally a Good Study!
Reference:Fritz JM, et al Is there a subgroup of patients with low back pain likely to benefit from mechanical traction? Results of a randomized clinical trial Spine. 2007 Dec 15;32(26):E793-800.
Finally, here we have an RCT that identifies a subgroup of patients who are most likely to respond positively to lumbar traction. The following variables were associated with better outcomes with mechanical traction treatment:
i) Leg symptoms below the knee
ii) Signs of nerve root compression
iii) Peripheralization during lumbar extension movements
iv) +ve Crossed straight leg raise test (i.e. pain down the symptomatic leg while raising the asymptomatic contra-lateral leg
Personal Comment: My personal favourite way of predicting the value of mechanical traction is by applying manual traction with a belt for 5 times 10 seconds…the patient should say aahh, that gives me slight relief!”
Posted on: January 26, 2010