Intersegmental Traction

By Dr. Brian Kosik
Read Time: 3 minutes

One modality or therapy that we use frequently in our office is intersegmental traction. Many patients come in for this treatment to decompress the spinal segments and decrease pain and tightness in the lower back and the neck. 

What is intersegmental traction?

Intersegmental traction is the practice in which the spinal segments or joints are decompressed axially (from head to toe) to promote healing and relief for conditions and complaints caused by compression of the spine. We love to use this in our office because it is the best way to relieve many complaints that patients come in with. All day, everyday we are subject to the effects of gravity pressing down on our bodies. From the moment we stand up in the morning to the minute we lay down at night, we are being smushed from head to toe into the ground. Weird way to say it but I feel like it effectively illustrates the effect that gravity has on us. Gravity is great at keeping everything on the ground and in its place. But over time, as we go on with our lives, we feel the effects of this force on our bodies. It is difficult to reverse these changes as they are happening everyday, but we can try to recover from them. Spinal decompression, or traction, pulls the spinal segments apart to gap the joint in the lumbar (lower back) and cervical (neck) spine. As this decompression happens, the intervertebral discs between the segments are revitalized with water and nutrients, resulting in a relief of pain and an increase in mobility in various joint segments.

spinal column diagram

How is intersegmental traction achieved?

In our office, we use a traction table. There are many methods and devices that are used to decompress the spine, like an inversion table, but they could be unsafe to use without proper supervision and instruction. Our table offers a gentle, controlled motion that is measured and set to exact specifications which allows us to avoid chance of injury or aggressive decompression. I’ve had many patients come in and say that their inversion table caused more back pain than they had originally. That is not good, especially if you are looking for relief from your pain. At our office, patients are stabilized on the table and positioned to ensure comfort during the traction.  After every lumbar session, we perform muscle stimulation as well. This is to allow more permanent relief to the body and promote muscular healing in the areas that we decompressed.

woman getting chiropractic adjustment

When should you come in for care?

I highly recommend coming in for care when you are experiencing pain and discomfort in the lower back or the neck. In the case of traction therapy, it is beneficial for your spine even when you are not having any complaints. This is the recommendation for getting adjustments as well. Chiropractic care, along with therapies and modalities, are best utilized when you are feeling good and have no major complaints. So, whether you are having pain and discomfort or not, be sure to ask about our decompression therapy next time you make your appointment!

Call our office at 610-689-3700 to schedule your chiropractic appointment today. Have questions? Email us at

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Brian Kosik