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Document Type


Publication Date



Physical Therapy

Faculty Advisor

Michael Ross, PT, DHSc, OCS


Lumbar traction is a treatment commonly used by physical therapists to treat patients with low back pain and radiculopathy, both of which are usually caused by lumbar disc herniation and subsequent nerve root compression. Patients with lumbar radiculopathy may experience pain in their low back and legs, as well as muscle weakness and/or numbness or tingling in their legs or feet. Lumbar traction, which can be done through manual or mechanical means, utilizes distraction forces to help relieve compression on the affected nerve roots of the lumbar spine. Pain modulation and reducing symptoms, including regaining sensation and muscle strength, are the goals of lumbar traction. This presentation is a review of the scientific literature on the effects of lumbar traction on patients with lumbar radiculopathy. If the literature concludes traction is efficacious in the treatment of patients with lumbar radiculopathy, then the appropriate treatment parameters will bepresented.