What’s the first thing you do when your lower back hurts?
You try to stretch it in some way, right?
Most people intuitively do that. You try to bend down and touch your feet. You try to sit and bend over to touch your feet.
You have a feeling that it will ease the pain, and you are right.
What you’re actually trying to do is low back traction, which is pulling the top half of your body and the bottom half away from each other.[yellowbox]When you do lumbar traction, your aching muscles get a chance to relax and you take a bit of the pressure off your discs.[/yellowbox]
While this is definitely the right way to go, that little stretch is not likely to bring you the dramatic relief that you want NOW.
You’ll need to take it up a notch.
- 1 Can Back Traction Relieve Your Pain?
- 2 How Much Force of Pull is Needed?
- 3 Is Traction for Lower Back Pain Painful?
- 4 Is Back Traction Effective (Does it Work?)
- 5 How to Do Traction for Lower Back Pain – At Home
Can Back Traction Relieve Your Pain?
Did you know that Hippocrates, the “father of medicine”, used spinal decompression to relieve his patients’ ailments?
He used to hoist his patients on a ladder with a series of ropes and pulleys to harness gravity, in an effort to stretch the hell out of them.
Thankfully, it’s 2017 and you won’t need a ladder and ropes.
When you use back traction to decompress your spine, you increase the space between your vertebrae, relaxing the pressure on your discs, ligaments, nerve roots and muscles.
If your low back pain is muscle related, low back traction can almost immediately relax your muscles and increase blood flow to the area, making it heal much faster.
If your pain is spine related, the (yet to be proven) theory is that if the discs are pulled, they will regain hydration or “enjoy” an influx of water and healing nutrients.
This will allow speedy healing and make them more shock absorbent.
Other great benefits of lower back traction are:
1. Realigning your spine (if used long-term)
2. Improving circulation, mobility and flexibility.
3. Improving posture – a critical preventative of future low back pain.
How Much Force of Pull is Needed?
In lumbar traction, the amount of pull needed to begin separation of the vertebrae is half the body weight.
For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, it will take 90 pounds of pull to begin getting separation of the spinal joints and bones.
Is Traction for Lower Back Pain Painful?
Back Traction can be anything from a little painful to horribly painful, but if done correctly, it shouldn’t hurt at all. Back traction is meant to alleviate pain, not increase it.
The best way to describe how it feels is – “a feel good hurt“. You know what I’m talking about.
Is Back Traction Effective (Does it Work?)
Truthfully, the research is a little mixed. Some studies prove it works, some studies prove it doesn’t. So why would you even try to do it?
1. The “Word on The Street” – so many people are thrilled with the back pain relief they’ve achieved through spinal decompression that it would be silly to not even try it.
2. Drug-free pain relief – no medication is involved here, no risking your liver and kidneys, no danger of addiction.
3. Cost Effective – you don’t have to pay a chiropractor to decompress your lower back. You can safely do back traction at home, and for a fraction of the cost.
4. More than hiding the symptoms – as opposed to conventional medicine (pain killers, steroid shots etc), back traction can help not only considerably relieve your back pain, but speed up healing of your injury.
How to Do Traction for Lower Back Pain – At Home
As long as you won’t attempt to hang upside down on a tree branch or using Hippocrates ladder and ropes method, you can, safely, relieve your low back pain with a home back traction device.
3 Ways to do low back traction at home are:
1. Mild Traction – Spinal Decompression Exercises
Spinal decompression exercises make a mild version of low back traction. If you do the right ones, they will slightly pull your vertebrae apart and relieve pressure on your discs, nerves and muscles.
Watch this great example for a good exercise:
You can do this great stretch much easier and without worrying about posture mistakes if you have this high quality stretcher(The CoreStretch):
2. Moderate Traction – Back Stretchers
Back stretchers take spine decompression exercises up a notch and basically help you keep your back in proper posture when you decompress your lower back.
The 3 best back stretchers in my opinion are the following:
The True Back Stretcher[yellowbox]The True Back stretcher is a portable and compact lower back lumbar traction device, and easy to use. No assembly is needed and no parts can break down – ever.[/yellowbox]
You simply lie on the device, and the 30 suspension points molded into the center rails support your body weight and create pressure to the muscles on each side of the spine.
This pressure allows for the muscles to completely relax, which increases blood flow. It decompresses your spine and you are passively stretching in opposite directions while being supported in the correct position.
The Teeter Spinal Stretch[yellowbox]The Spinal Stretch comes fully assembled but requires a fixed point (like a door) and ratchet system for user-controlled tension.[/yellowbox]
It includes a metal ratchet, waist belt, traction belt, instructional DVD, and nylon tote bag.
After you strap yourself into the harness and secure the anchor point, you slowly ratchet the device that essentially pulls you towards the anchor point. Simple and effective.
The Nubax Trio
The Australian-made Nubax Trio is one of the most popular spinal decompression home devices, and for good reasons.
the Nubax Trio decompresses and stretches your spine in a way that you couldn’t possibly do on your own.
This one is a high quality device and it takes about 10 minutes to assemble it.
The low back traction with this one is more powerful and you’ll only need one or two 3-minute sessions per day to get maximum results.
See my detailed review for the Nubax Trio (and comparison with inversion tables).
3. Powerful Traction – Inversion Table
Inversion therapy is the most powerful lumbar traction therapy. Inversion exists for more than 3000 years and even the army uses it to speed up healing of training injuries.
You strap yourself onto the table and invert in any angle that is comfortable to you. You don’t have to fully invert (hang upside down) at all. Even a 30 degrees angle is beneficial and will “get the job done”.
The most important factor in choosing an inversion table is safety. Low quality cheap tables can cause serious injuries.[yellowbox]One of the safest and most high quality inversion tables is the Teeter Hang Ups.[/yellowbox]
You can also see my head to head comparison between the 2 best-selling inversion tables
Back traction for lower back pain can be done at home, by yourself, while saving money and time on Chiropractor treatments.
For some people it won’t work, for others it works remarkably well. Fact is that you won’t know if it works for you until you try.
And now over to you:
Have you ever done back traction to relieve lower back pain? what’s your experience? share with us in the comments below.
To your health and happiness,