Effects of segmental traction therapy on lumbar disc herniation in patients with acute low back pain measured by magnetic resonance imaging: A single arm clinical trial

J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017;30(2):247-253. doi: 10.3233/BMR-160741.


Background: Low Back Pain (LBP) is considered as one of the most frequent disorders, which about 80% of adults experience in their lives. Lumbar disc herniation (LDH) is a cause for acute LBP. Among conservative treatments, traction is frequently used by clinicians to manage LBP resulting from LDH. However, there is still a lack of consensus about its efficacy.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of segmental traction therapy on lumbar discs herniation, pain, lumbar range of motion (ROM), and back extensor muscles endurance in patients with acute LBP induced by LDH.

Methods: Fifteen patients with acute LBP diagnosed by LDH participated in the present study. Participants undertook 15 sessions of segmental traction therapy along with conventional physiotherapy, 5 times a week for 3 weeks. Lumbar herniated mass size was measured before and after the treatment protocol using magnetic resonance imaging. Furthermore, pain, lumbar ROM and back muscle endurance were evaluated before and after the procedure using clinical outcome measures.

Results: Following the treatment protocol, herniated mass size and patients' pain were reduced significantly. In addition, lumbar flexion ROM showed a significant improvement. However, no significant change was observed for back extensor muscle endurance after the treatment procedure.

Conclusion: The result of the present study showed segmental traction therapy might play an important role in the treatment of acute LBP stimulated by LDH.

Keywords: Low back pain; inter-vertebral disc herniation; magnetic resonance imaging; physical therapy modalities; traction.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / complications
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / diagnostic imaging
  • Intervertebral Disc Displacement / therapy*
  • Low Back Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Low Back Pain / etiology
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging
  • Lumbosacral Region / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Traction / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome