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Chiropractic Research Review

Rotation Under Traction Puts Least Pressure on Spine

Spinal rotary manipulation is a common element of many techniques used to manage cervical spondylosis. It has been suggested that this type of adjustment can cause dangerously acute lesions of the spinal cord.

This study examined the effect of cervical traction combined with rotatory adjustment on the pressure of the cervical nucleus pulposus.

Twelve cervical spines (from C7 to the occipital bone) were obtained from human cadavers and subjected to one of three procedures: rotation under different traction forces; rotation followed by traction; or rotation and traction simultaneously.

Results demonstrated that rotatory manipulation of the spine under traction was the safest of the three intervention procedures (perhaps because it was difficult to protrude the nucleus pulposus). Rotatory manipulation under 200 N of traction force produced the most significant reduction in pressure.

Take Note: Pressure fell immediately when specimens were returned to their original position (after rotation). Chiropractors should pay attention to this phenomenon when caring for patients. (For example, patients with lesions of the nucleus pulposus may be best managed by traction therapy; those with central-type protrusions should not receive rotation followed by traction.)

Yi-Kai L, Qing-An Z, Shi-Zhen Z. The effect of cervical traction combined with rotatory manipulation on cervical nucleus pulposus pressures. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Feb. 1998;21(2), pp97-100.

Chiropractic Research Review

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