Objective: Our objective is to assess the effect of mechanical and manual intermittent cervical traction on pain, use of analgesics and disability during the recent cervical radiculopathy (CR).
Methods: We made a prospective randomized study including patients sent for rehabilitation between April 2005 and October 2006. Thirty-nine patients were divided into three groups of 13 patients each. A group (A) treated by conventional rehabilitation with manual traction, a group (B) treated with conventional rehabilitation with intermittent mechanical traction and a third group (C) treated with conventional rehabilitation alone. We evaluated cervical pain, radicular pain, disability and the use of analgesics at baseline, at the end and at 1, 3 and 6 months after treatment.
Results: At the end of treatment improving of cervical pain, radicular pain and disability is significantly better in groups A and B compared to group C. The decrease in consumption of analgesics is comparable in the three groups. At 6 months improving of cervical and radicular pain and disability is still significant compared to baseline in both groups A and B. The gain in consumption of analgesics is significant in the three groups: A, B and C.
Conclusion: Manual or mechanical cervical traction appears to be a major contribution in the rehabilitation of CR particularly if it is included in a multimodal approach of rehabilitation.