Neck Traction for compressed disc and pinched nerveCompressed discs and pinched nerves in the cervical spine are often painful and greatly interfere with daily activities. An effective and safe way to treat pinched nerve at home is neck traction. Neck traction is a method that can be used. It is a safe and effective way to stretch the soft tissues and the spine.
What is a Compressed Disc?
Are you looking for way to relieve pressure and pain associated with these issues?
A compressed disc is also a herniated disc. The two terms are used interchangeably. When a disc is compressed, it has pressure on it and this can cause a tear in the outer shell.
Once this tears, the inner part of the disc which is almost gel-like can leak out. Once the inner part of the disc leaks out, it can put pressure on surrounding structures. There is a little space around each spinal disc, but not much, so if enough leaks out, things like a pinched nerve cal result.
Compressed discs can happen acutely, such as during a traumatic injury, or over time, such as with wear and tear that occurs with aging.
A variety of discomforts can result from a compressed disc. These include:
- Electric shock sensations
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling and numbness
- Radiating pain
What is a Pinched Nerve?
A pinched nerve is a nerve that has too much pressure on it. Just about anything in the neck anatomy can be responsible for this pressure, such as bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage and spinal discs. A pinched nerve can result from a variety of factors, such as:
- Sports and other active activities
- Repetitive job stress
- Poor posture
When a nerve is pinched, the nerve function in that specific nerve is disrupted. Pinched nerves that are quickly resolved generally completely heal without further issues. However, if a pinched nerve becomes a chronic issue, the damage can be permanent, resulting in long-term discomforts.
The symptoms of a pinched nerve can include:
- Decreased sensation or numbness
- Burning or sharp pain that can radiate
- Twitching or muscle weakness
- Tinging sensations
- Often feeling like a hand or foot is asleep
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How Can Neck Traction Help You?
Neck traction is one of the treatments available for compressed discs and pinched nerves. This is a very safe option, as it has no side effects or recovery time. This treatment works to stretch the neck, cervical spine and surrounding soft tissues. The primary goals of this treatment method include:
- Pain relief
- Improved extensibility of soft tissue
- Reduced protective muscle activity
- Reduced pressure on cervical nerve roots
- Pain-free range of motion
As pressure is taken off of spinal discs and nerves, healing is encouraged. This enhances the delivery of nutrients to the discs, which further promotes healing. To further promote healing, neck traction can be used along with cold, heat, exercise, normal stretching, massage and ultrasound.
Neck traction should not be used if a cervical spinal disc is completely ruptured, a vertebra is fractured or with extruded disc fragmentation. These will require professional medical treatment to stabilize them.
How to Use Neck Traction
The newer neck traction devices are very easy to use. They are very safe and effective for helping to relieve the symptoms of pinched nerves and compressed discs, as well as promoting healing of these two issues. The type of neck traction that is often being suggested now is known as air neck traction.
The device is portable and small. It resembles a neck brace that can be inflated. Attached to the device is a hand-held air pump. This looks just like the pump used to inflate and deflate a blood pressure cuff. You simply pump the hand-held pump to add air to the device.
The amount of air to be added, depends a lot on each individual person. Some people can do more traction without any discomfort than others can. The key is to inflate the device enough to feel a gentle stretch and then stop and leave the device inflated and on the neck for a specific amount of time. If you start to feel discomfort, some air should be released so the device can deflate a bit. Neck traction should never be painful.
In general, a neck traction device should be left on for 15 minutes after it has been inflated. This will allow for a complete stretch of the cervical spine and surrounding soft tissues. To maintain a limber neck, this should be done twice a day everyday. For acute pain, you can do more sessions to help alleviate this.
Always consult a doctor before you begin any kind of neck traction therapy.