Thoracic Traction (Full Version)

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JSPT -> Thoracic Traction (July 12, 2007 11:45:12 AM)

I had a neurologist order traction for a bulging T6-7 disc.  Patient has no radiating symptoms, only "tightness" when waking in the morning or after prolonged sitting.

Would anybody do traction on this patient?  If so, how?

Shill -> RE: Thoracic Traction (July 12, 2007 2:20:03 PM)

If it was the only thing that relieved sx, yes, but it would likely NOT be the only means of sx relief.  I would try lumbar or cervical, as I know of NO devices that pull solely on the T spine.  I would use more convenient, easily performed by the patient movements to bring about relief.  If the pt needs to stop and apply traction every time she/he needs sx relief, this is extremely disruptive to his or her routine, thus reducing compliance, and there are usually far better alternatives, which I am sure you already know.  I think this is a case of a well meaning doc who doesnt necessarily know the best rehab, but has heard of traction before, and thinks it might help.  I usually call and ask how dead set the doc is on the txn, letting them know that we were able to bring about relief through other means, and usually they say "great, whatever works"...or words to that effect.
Incidently, I would spend a fair amount of time at the C spine, as despite the apparent bulging disc, (confirmed or unconfirmed by MRI?) I dont often feel that the T spine is the source of these problems, or at least these issues often respond very well to C spine treatment.  (extension that is). 

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