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Mechanical Traction: Can it Help My Low Back Pain and Sciatica?

By: Rachel Crosby, DPT

Do you have low back pain? Mechanical traction may be for you!

What is mechanical traction?

Mechanical traction is a tool used by physical therapists to treat low back pain. Connect PT has a mechanical traction table! Mechanical traction is used to decompress the spine. A low level force is used to separate the spaces between the joints in your spine and offload pressure on sensitive structures. 


  • Increases the space between vertebrae

  • Decreases pressure on nerves or sensitive structures

  • Decreases the pressure on the discs between the vertebrae of your spine

  • Relieves pressure on the joints in your low back

  • Ultimately, it decreases your pain!

Do You Qualify?

Mechanical traction is indicated for individuals who have low back pain that radiates into one or both legs and low back with weakness or numbness into the legs. Specific diagnosis include lumbar disc protrusion or herniation, degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint disease, sciatica or lumbar stenosis. 

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that starts in the lumbar spine and radiates into one or both legs caused by irritation from the sciatic nerve.

What to Expect

You should expect treatment to last from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. You will lay on your back on the mechanical traction table with a hardness wrapped around your torso. Your physical therapist will work with you to ensure your comfort for the duration of the treatment. The machine will create a pulling or traction force on your low back which should result in a gentle stretching sensation. Your PT will determine if this force will be constant, or intermittent meaning that the force will come and go. 

Connect PT offers a Traction Program!

In addition to utilizing traction during your treatment sessions, Connect PT has a traction program where you can continue to utilize mechanical traction after you have been discharged! Learn more by contacting Connect PT at 959-209-4318.


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