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A 26-year-old male asked:

can spinal decompression (traction) do more damage to a degenerative spine w/curve loss? lumbar/hi now feels loose w/ popping noise throughout the day

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Vernon Barton
General Practice 52 years experience
Not likely: Traction in the vertical direction along the planes of the spinal column will usually help with a bulging/degenerative disc problem. There may be transient pain as the joint involved and the muscles are made to stretch, but the disc will be helped. Studies show this type of treatment is equal to or better than surgical treatment at 6 months or longer. Get a physical therapy referral.
Dr. Edward Hellman
Orthopedic Surgery 29 years experience
Unlikely: It is unlikely that traction will do any permanent harm to a person with degenerative disc disease. If it seems like it persistently aggravates it, then you may want to pursue another line of treatment. Thank you for the question.
Dr. Douglas Linville II
Orthopedic Spine Surgery 30 years experience
Traction therapy: I am completely unaware of any literature that supports the use of traction therapy. Previously, orthopedic surgeons would admit patients for traction which was eventually deemed ineffective. This therapy is expensive (around $200 per visit). For that cost, you could buy an inversion table and use as frequently as you felt necessary. Mckenzie pt is also an excellent option. Failing this, md eval.

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Last updated Jan 5, 2019

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