Chiropractors/Spinal Traction for Lumbar



I had severe lower back pain years back, when I was playing competitive softball.  Recently, the pain started to come back, and so I went in to see a chiropractor and to get adjusted.  He took an X-ray of my low back and showed me the comparison between my spine and where it should be.  The lower back was over-extended backwards, which has caused compression on my L5 vertebrae and attached nerve.  (at least, this is what I understand of the results).

He suggested that we try traction to help correct the problem, which is most likely due to my years of over-extending my back while pitching.  I have gone 3 times, and it's been good.  However, today, I passed out after a standing up, sideways traction exercise.  Can you please provide some insight into why this might have happened as well as if it is an issue?  Is traction an effective treatment for my lower back issues?  From what I've read, passing out during traction does not seem uncommon, but it also does not seem like the best outcome of chiropractic treatment.

Thank you for your help!


Dear Jeanette,

Radiographs of the lumbar spine do not tell the whole picture of what is going on with your back, any more than your brief narrative completely describes your medical condition.  The application of traction to a lumbar spine can be very productive, in some cases.  It is definitely something that can be tried. If you wish to have a more definitive diagnosis of what is possibly happening in the lower back, an MRI is not a bad option, especially if you are experiencing any pain radiating into either leg.  

Did the radiographs show any narrowing of the disc spaces between the vertebrae? Do you have any sensory, reflex, or motor losses in the legs?  Along with the traction, is there any other plan to do active exercise therapy to improve strength and flexibility?  Personally, I am not convinced that softball pitching would be the sole cause of lumbar hyperextension. It is very possible that some of the postural issues that you have are inherited structural tendencies, with pain instigated by physical activities, such as pitching, etc.

Passing out can be caused by many things, including but not limited to blood pressure issues, heart issues, lung issues, autonomic nervous system responses, fatigue, response to pain, reactions to medications, etc.  It is no particular indication as to whether or not physical medicine treatment (chiropractic, physical therapy, stretching, strengthening, traction, etc) is a viable course of treatment for your back condition.

I hope that this helps a little bit. Good luck in your decision making and therapy.

Keith Biggs, DC


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Keith E. Biggs, DC


I can answer questions regarding chiropractic care and diagnosis, exercise rehabilitation, spine therapy, disc injuries, back pain, neck pain, headaches, sports injuries, car accident injuries, physical therapeutics, acupuncture, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, decompression traction, acupressure, acugraphing, orthotics, arch supports, carpal tunnel, sciatica, degenerative joint disease, arthritis, weight loss, etc.


I have been in private practice for more than 20 years in Mesa, AZ. In my practice I have seen thousands of patients with many different conditions. Every patient is unique and requires individualized attention and care. I pride myself in attentive and appropriate care for every individual that comes to my office

Arizona Chiropractic Society


Doctor of Chiropractic, Cum Laude,Logan College of Chiropractic, 1987. Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Logan College of Chiropractic. Licensed to practice Chiropractic in Arizona. Certification in Acupuncture. Certification in Physiotherapy and Traction.

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I have treated thousands of people in my private practice during the past 21 years, and in the process, I have learned so much. Practice guidelines and patient privacy laws prohibit the naming of past patients.

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