Objective: To evaluate a new 3-point bending type of cervical traction.
Design: Nonrandomized controlled trial of prospective, consecutive patients compared with control subjects. Follow-up patient data were obtained at 3 and 15(1/2) months, and 8 1/10 months for controls.
Setting: Data were collected at a spine clinic in Nevada.
Patients: Volunteer subjects consisted of 30 patients and 24 controls. Subjects had cervicogenic pain (neck pain, headaches, arm pain, and/or numbness). Subjects were included if their Ruth Jackson radiographic stress lines measured less than 25 degrees but were excluded if they had suspected disk herniation or canal stenosis. All subjects completed the first follow-up examinations, and 25 of 30 patients completed the long-term follow-up examination.
Interventions: Spinal manipulation for pain and a new form of 3-point bending cervical traction to improve lordosis. Cervical manipulation was provided for the first 3 to 4 weeks of treatment. Traction treatment consisted of 3 to 5 sessions per week for 9 +/- 1 weeks.
Main outcomes measures: Besides pain visual analog scale (VAS) ratings, pre- and posttreatment lateral cervical radiographs were analyzed.
Results: Control subjects reported no change in the pain VAS ratings and had no statistically significant change in segmental or global radiographic alignment. For the traction group, VAS ratings were 4.3 pretreatment and 1.6 posttreatment. Traction group radiographic measurements showed statistically significant improvements (P <.008 in all instances of statistical significance), including anterior head weight bearing (improved 6.2mm), Cobb angle at C2-7 (improved 12.1 degrees ), and angle between posterior tangents at C2-7 (improved 14.2 degrees ). For the treatment group, at 15(1/2)-month follow-up, only minimal loss of C2-7 lordosis (3.5 degrees ) was observed.
Conclusions: Sagittal cervical traction with transverse load at midneck (2-way cervical traction) combined with cervical manipulation can improve cervical lordosis in 8 to 10 weeks as indicated by increases in segmental and global cervical alignment. Magnitude of lordosis at C2-7 remained stable at long-term follow-up.
Copyright 2002 by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation