Benefits & Differences of Traction vs. Gravity Blocks

What is the difference?

What are the benefits of traction?
Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) traction is applying different loads to the spine to correct the spine and postural alignment. It is very different from hands-on chiropractic adjustments, stretching, or strengthening the spine. Certified CBP doctors do a very thorough spinal analysis involving posture exam and X-rays, then apply very specific loads to the spine to steadily stretch it closer to normal alignment. We have a very well-established normal for the spine based on many published studies. The closer your spine is to normal alignment, the healthier you will become, the stronger your muscles will be, the better your brain and organ systems will become, the less pain you’ll have, and the longer your spine will last you!
Is traction good for a slipped disc?
In most cases, traction is great for a “slipped” disc, which is usually called a bulging disc. The disc is like a wet, leather washer that keeps the bones apart and helps them move. When the spine is out of alignment, usually for long periods of time, the discs have more and more abnormal stresses on them. Eventually, if the problem is not corrected the disc will “slip” or bulge out from between the two vertebrae. Picture an ice cream sandwich that’s squeezed hard on one end and the ice cream oozes out of the other side. Traction, when applied exactly as indicated by the patient’s posture and x-ray analysis, helps restore normal alignment, ideally avoiding the disc problem altogether. It should be preventative! But even when a disc is bulging traction, when done properly, can often help a “slipped” disc. Your CBP-trained chiropractor can determine when the spine is in a condition to benefit from traction.
How can I decompress my cervical spine at home?
There are many traction devices that can help decompress the cervical spine. The most scientifically proven to correct alignment and decompress is the Denneroll orthotic. This tool must be prescribed by a doctor trained to know when and how it is indicated.
How often should you do lumbar traction?
This depends on the severity of the displacement of the spine. In severe cases, or when a patient comes into town for care from far away (we’ve had people from all over the country, including The Virgin Islands, come in for care.) They often come for two weeks at a time. In this case, we will see them up to three times per day!


Hello, from Thoracic Park. So I get the question a lot: What is the difference between the home traction, the home blocks, and the in-office traction? The answer is that the home blocks are extremely effective for what we can do at home. Still, the traction in the office, we have thousands and thousands of different setups on multiple different units, but they allow us to tailor-make exactly what that patient needs. We have multiple planes of correction, so this is a setup. That's actually, and we're about 60% set up. It's appropriate for me and my spine and my configurations. I've put my spine through a great deal in its life, so I'm still under care to correct and stabilize my spine, and it changes with time with new bike accidents or skiing accidents. So we're going to finish my setup with what we're trying to correct on me: my thoracic spine, my mid-back is shifted backward. There's a little bit too much curve in my low back, and most of it's pretty appropriate for my unique anatomy. We're trying to correct the curve in my neck, and we're trying to shift. There's one area of my thoracic spine that I fractured twice that needs to be less curve, so we're going to work on all that at the exact same time, and the lovely, brilliant Hannah is going to finish off, setting up my traction, she does most of the traction setup.

She is the head of the Rehab Department, and she is doing it. So here we're allowing more leverage by pulling down on my lumbar spine to flatten that, just a little bit tighter, Hannah. And she'll ask every patient, "How does that feel? Is it tight? Is it good?" That's perfect, thank you. And then we have blocks under here that help shift my ribcage, my thoracic spine forward compared to my pelvis, and then this down pull here allows that, and then this is very specifically on the area where I fractured, not everyone can traction, right? Where they fractured, but in my case, it's safe and very effective. So let's go ahead and tighten that Hannah, and so this up pull on a 6-to-1 pulley, good, that's good right there, so I can feel that, so you can notice the change in my voice because we're moving my spine. Okay, and then how's my cervical Denneroll setup, my neck setup?

So it doesn't look like it's doing anything, so I'm going to add a little height so that way you get the most out of this cervical Denneroll.

Okay, great.

While you lift your head, alright, try that. How's that feel, doc?

That's terrific. Well, that is a perfect setup for me, so with this table and other tables that we have, it can be seated traction primarily for the neck, it can be lumbar traction, which we have an actual mechanical winch, that's just for the lumbar spine. There are all sorts of different setups, literally thousands of possible setups that are unique and tailored to each patient. And with these different devices, we can anchor at the exact points we need. We can pull up and down at different points in the same traction. So it allows us to have great versatility to tailor-make our care to people's very specific needs. So in a moment, I'll show you what the home blocks do and what the difference is.

Okay, so now the home blocks, extremely effective for what we're able to do at home, or not even at home, but on the road or on a mission trip to Africa or whatever, these are going to be super, super helpful, they're not as effective, there's not as many nuances or specificities to the setup that we can do with the in-office traction, but you don't want to be here seven days a week for an hour a day or whatever. So these blocks are called Denneroll blocks, and people will say, "Why are they called dinner rolls?" They're not dinner rolls; they're Dennerolls. They're invented by a doctor named Adrian Dennewald, he's out of Australia, he is a brilliant clinician and biomechanics expert, and they're called rolls because they're like rolls or blocks, so they're kind of like foam rollers, so they're called Dennerolls, and so we call them Dennerolls or C-Denn, which is a cervical Denneroll, or T-Denn, which is thoracic where I don't use a lumbar because I already have enough lumbar curve.

So these are very, very effective for use at home. I get the question a lot of, "If I'm doing in-office traction, do I still do my home blocks on that day?" And the answer is yes because they're different. So you do it all twice a day, every day on your cervical Denneroll and all your regular Dennerolls, your blocks at home. Then the traction three or four or five times a week, whatever your schedule, they are independent of one another, even though they work together in unison, I almost said in Communion, not in Communion, in unison.

So we're going to lie on our back, so this is done on the floor at home, this table is very fancy, but it's all flat, so it's just like doing it on your floor. You do not want to do it on the bed in 99.9% of cases because the bed takes a lot of the body's load. So we're going to lie back on this. You probably already know how you've probably already been instructed, but this is my cervical Denneroll at the base of my neck. Then my thoracic Denneroll for me working on an area of T10 here that I fractured twice, and then I have a block to decrease the curve in my tailbone, so just like this.

So you have to work up to 20 minutes. 20 minutes is the prescribed amount. That is the most effective amount. But you want to work up to that. Some people can't do that. In fact, almost nobody can do that right away, so you build up to that. It also can be that your neck one you can handle for 10 minutes, but your mid-back one is just too much for those 10 minutes, so you're going to go six minutes with both of them, and then maybe it's just too much. So you're going to squirt that one out, and set it down and then just do the rest of the time on your neck block. And it can be any combination of that. So these are both the in-office traction and the in-home traction are very effective, but they're independent, and they work off of one another. So I hope that helps, and as always, ask us if you have any questions.

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