The Active Lumbar Traction originates from the Swedish method of auto-traction, a mechanical type of treatment for lumbosciatic pain due to benign mechanical compression causes.
Physiotherapy table with a special design, being divided transversely. The caudal section of the table can be slowly tilted up- or downwards and rotated in the left or right direction by means of an electric servomechanism, through which the therapist can position or mobilize the lumbosacral spine tridimensionally. Traverse and speed of rotation will stay within a safe range. The table is fitted with special vertical and transveral bars, some of which are located in the cranial section. Patients can cling to these bars “pulling” their body, performing in this way an “Active Lumbar Traction”. To prevent slipping during traction, patients are secured by a pelvic belt to the caudal section of the table, where they can push or pull other bars with their lower limbs.
The Active Lumbar Traction is a method consisting in therapeutic rehabilitation exercises and such it must be prescribed by a physician and administered by a therapist.
The treatment can be applied to a wide range of conditions defined in various ways: back pain, sciatica, narrow canal syndromes, herniated disc, radiculitis and so on. “Lumbago” and “sciatica” are insidious clinical conditions. most of these syndromes are ultimately caused by a benign mechanical compression on the nerve endings due to disc herniation or protrusion. The latter might occur with or without the existence of bone dysmorphologies (osteophytes, congenitally narrow canal) and with the interference of the above-described vascular processes.
A small part ot the above described syndromes are on the contrary due to an increadibly wide range of pathologies, such as, for exhample, aortic aneurysm, vertebral metastasis, osteoid osteoma, spondylolisthesis and many others. Fortunately, our treatment turned out to be harmless for most of these cases; however this is not a good reason to administer in uselessly.
Very often our typical patients voluteer for TLA treatment after a long diagnostic and therapeutic history. Patients might not have been already submitted to examinations, such as rays, CT or NMR. In this case, if we presume that the patients’ symptoms are caused by a disc protrusion or by a narrow canal syndrome (and surgical intervention does not seem inevitable) it is reasonable to start with 3 sessions of Active Lumbar Traction. Further examinations shall be made only if the treatment proves ineffective.
1. What is the Active Lumbar Traction? Who can prescribe this treatment and who can apply it?