Traction is a method of treatment for back pain, dislocations, broken bones, or spinal deformities. The treatment relies on mechanical tension using a system of pulleys or weights to move and hold the bones into the desired position. Traction should always be performed under the supervision of a healthcare professional, either at home or in a hospital setting.
There are several types of traction, non-invasive and invasive. Skin traction is common and is non-invasive, with three specialized forms: buck’s/russell, dunlop’s and pelvic. Skeletal traction is invasive and involves surgical placement of pins to assist in the pulling mechanism of treatment. In the skin traction method, the force is light and non-continuous and must be performed in a bed. Skin traction is commonly used to treat knee injuries, back pain, or upper arm fractures.
Pelvic traction is a specialized form of skin traction typically using five to seven pound weights for results. The healthcare professional will attach a belt snugly around a patient’s hips. The belt is then attached to a system of pulleys and weights. For this treatment to work, the force and weight must be directly applied to the pelvis. If the belt is placed too high on the waist, it can cause further complication and pain. Patients with lower back disorders can benefit from this type of traction—experiencing relief from low back, hip and leg pain.