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Cervical Spine Disorders: A Comparison of Three Types of Traction

updated

Tags: neck, head/neck, spine

Two articles on PainSci cite Zylbergold 1985: (1) Does Massage Therapy Work?(2) The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks

PainSci notes on Zylbergold 1985:

A straightforward experiment: four groups of about 25 patients each received one of three different types of traction or no traction, and although everyone “regardless of group assignment, improved significantly” one group stood out: “patients receiving intermittent traction performed significantly better than those assigned to the no traction group.” That sounds really great, but remember that it just takes a couple of odd cases to throw the stats out of whack with test groups that small.

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

A randomized clinical trial was conducted to evaluate the efficacy of three commonly employed forms of traction in the treatment of cervical spine disorders. One hundred consenting men and women with disorders of the cervical spine were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups, static traction, intermittent traction, manual traction, or no traction. All patients, regardless of group assignment, were seen twice weekly. The four groups were shown to be similar with regard to age, sex, diagnosis, chronicity, and prescores on the seven outcome measures. Although the entire cohort of neck patients, regardless of group assignment, improved significantly on all the outcome variables over the 6-week period, patients receiving intermittent traction performed significantly better than those assigned to the no traction group in terms of pain (P = 0.03), forward flexion (P = 0.01), right rotation (P = 0.004) and left rotation (P = 0.05).

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