Perhaps a doctor or physical therapist has recommended lower back traction to you. Or, perhaps, you’ve heard great things about it from a family member or friend. Or, maybe after doing a lot of online research, you’ve determined that you want to try back traction to address the lower back pain you’ve had for years. Whatever it is that has led you to trying a lower back traction device to help your spine, here are some of the most important things you need to know to maximize your back traction experience.
Use Traction Frequently and Consistently
There are many back traction devices on the market. Some clearly have benefits over others, but no matter which you’ve chosen, all are recommended to be used consistently, on a daily basis, to see the best results.
Duration: Back traction should be used a minimum of 10 minutes per day, but ideally should be used for 15 minutes twice a day (for a total of 30 minutes daily). Most therapists will tell you that performing 15 minutes of back traction when you wake up and 15 minutes again before bed will give you the most relief, and also provide your spine the best benefit from the stretching and decompression provided by the traction device.
Frequency: The treatment protocol for back traction takes about a month. So, it is recommended that you use the traction device for 30 consecutive days (and because of this, you’ll want to make sure you select a device that is lightweight and portable, so it can be used every day, even if you are traveling). While some users may experience almost immediate relief (within the first few days of using the back traction device), for others it will take the cumulative effect of many days of traction to begin building the momentum required to realize true improvement in the discs, spine and muscles. That is why you should always give a traction device 30 days (of daily use) to decide whether it is effective for you.
Choosing the Right Device
To maximize the benefits of back traction, it’s important to choose the right device. As mentioned, there are many types of back traction devices available, but only one that provides a full 160-lbs of pull-force on the lower back, in addition to other great benefits: it’s portable, lightweight, easy to use, comes assembled, is affordable, and offers the unique ability to cycle between compression and decompression with the inclusion of its release strap. That traction device is Fisher Traction’s Lower Back Device.
Other traction devices may provide some light traction, but Fisher Traction’s patented bungee technology creates a safe pull of up to 160 pounds, one of the few at-home devices out there capable of this much tension without medical intervention (in other words, without a physical therapist’s hands performing manual traction, or a professional device used in a physical therapy clinic).
The Fisher Traction Lower Back Device: Tips for Set-up
If you are using the Fisher Traction Lower Back Device, setting it up properly is simple, but is key to the proper technique and efficacy.
Attach the Strap to a Door Handle - First, the red loop of the device should be placed on a door’s outer door handle, and the strap should get closed in the door, above the door’s latching/locking mechanism. Once this is in place, you should give the strap a good tug with your hands to make sure it is securely fastened and the door is solidly closed.
Sit Down and Position the Harness - Next, sit down on the floor a couple of feet from the door. Slip the large, black harness over your head and shoulders, and work it down to position it around your hips. It’s important that you not place it around your buttocks or up on your spine; it needs to be nestled right in between those, around your low hips.
The Importance of the Release Strap for Spinal Decompression
Now that you’re in position on the floor, the next step is scoot yourself away from the door until there is slight tension in the harness and bungee, then slide the black buckle down towards your body to further tighten the device. Finally, you lay down and let the device do its pulling work!
Except, you’re not done yet. Fisher Traction’s Back Device is designed with a proprietary “Release Strap” which you hold in your hand as you lay on the floor. It’s vital not to skip this step: every 3-5 minutes, you should pull on the Release Strap (with one or both hands) for 30-60 seconds. When you pull the Release Strap, it releases the tension in the negative G-force bungee, and you enter a “resting phase”, temporarily released from the pull of the traction. This allows your discs to absorb the fluid that has collected around them during the stretching phase. Repeating this process every few minutes during back traction is crucial for your discs to rehydrate and maintain their height, thus achieving decompression and preventing bulging discs that pinch nerves.
A Better Experience with Foam Wedges
Fisher Traction makes foam wedges available as an option with our lower back device, to be used under the knees as you lay down during traction. While back traction can be performed while laying flat on the floor with your legs straight out, it is more beneficial to have your knees bent, supported with foam knee wedges. Using knee wedges allows your hamstrings to relax, which, in turn, allows your lower back to release and relax, and enables the traction device to perform a stronger pull. As Dr. Fisher says about the knee wedges, “The greater state of relaxation you’re in, the more decompression you’re going to get.”
The right back traction device - used the right way - can be life-changing: relieving pressure off the spine, lessening muscle spasms, improving posture, and improving pain to the point that the need for pain medication is lessened or eliminated. When using Fisher Traction’s safe and scientifically designed Lower Back Device, be sure to set it up properly, use it daily, engage the Release Strap to allow for imbibition (liquid absorption) in the spinal discs, and use the knee wedges for proper alignment and relaxation of your leg and back muscles during traction.