How Long Does It Take for Neck Traction to Work

neck traction

Nowadays, many people have cervical spine problems. Some of them may want to do home cervical traction therapy to cure their neck pains. However, after a period of cervical traction treatment, the effect is not very obvious. Therefore, you may want to ask that how long does it take for cervical traction to work? No worry, this article will answer your questions. If you also want to know, read on.

Part 1. What is neck traction

Neck traction (or cervical traction), administered by various techniques, ranging from supine mechanical motorized neck traction to seated neck traction using an over-the-door pulley support with attached weights. The external force generated by the instruments or other devices acts on the human spine or the joints of the limbs, so that the tissues are separated to a certain extent, and the soft tissues around the joints are properly stretched, so as to achieve the purpose of treatment.

The main groups for neck traction are: mild cervical spondylosis, cervical disc herniation, changes in the physiological curvature of the cervical spine, over 18 years old (the bones are not fully developed at the young age), and without severe osteoporosis and vertebral artery stenosis.

Part 2. How long does neck traction take?

Basically, duration of neck traction can range from a few minutes to 20 to 30 min, once or twice a week to several times per day. It’s not recommended to do neck traction for over 30 minutes each time. Otherwise, excessive traction will make you feel dizzy and hurt your cervical spine.

Part 3. How long does it take for neck traction to work? 

Under normal circumstances, neck traction takes two to three weeks to a month or so to have an effect. However, how long it takes to have an effect varies from person to person, and it needs to be judged according to the degree of cervical spondylosis and your age. Therefore, you should not give up easily because of short-term ineffectiveness, but must persist patiently in order to obtain symptom relief.

See the survey data below:

Age range was 29 to 84 (mean, 56) yr. Twenty-three males and 35 females were classified as Grade 1 to Grade 3 according to the Quebec Task Force of Whiplash-Associated Disorders Cohort Study. Outcomes were as follows:

  • Grade 1 (mild)--4 of 4 (100%) patients improved;
  • Grade 2 (moderate)--34 of 44 (77%) patients improved (P < 0.01), 5 were unchanged, and 5 felt their symptoms were aggravated by cervical traction;
  • Grade 3 (patients with radiculopathy) --9 of 10 (90%) patients improved (P < 0.01).

In a retrospective study, a brief (3-5 min), over-the-door home cervical traction modality provided symptomatic relief in 81% of the patients with mild to moderately severe (Grade 3) cervical spondylosis syndromes. Prospective, randomized assessment of cervical traction for this and other methods is needed.

Of course, if you do the neck traction more than 2 or 3 months without any effect, or even worse. Then you need to discuss with your doctor to see whether to stop the traction and choose other treatment options.