The effectiveness of motorised lumbar traction in the management of low back pain with limbo sacral nerve root involvement: A feasibility study

Annette Harte, David Baxter, Jackie Gracey

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Traction is commonly used for the treatment of low back pain (LBP), predominately with nerve root involvement; however its benefits remain to be established. The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to compare the difference between two treatment protocols (manual therapy, exercise and advice, with or without traction) in the management of acute/sub acute LBP with 'nerve root' involvement.Methods: 30 LBP patients with nerve root pain were recruited and randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups. Primary outcome measures were the: McGill pain questionnaire, Roland Morris disability questionnaire, and the SF36 Questionnaire; recorded at baseline, discharge, 3 and 6 months post-discharge.Results: 27 patients completed treatment with a loss of another four patients at follow up. Intention to treat analysis demonstrated an improvement in all outcomes at follow up points but there appeared to be little difference between the groups.Conclusion: This study has shown that a trial recruiting patients with 'nerve root' problems is feasible. Further research based upon a fully powered trial is required to ascertain if the addition of traction has any benefit in the management of these patients.Trial Registration: Registration number: ISRCTN78417198
Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 29 Nov 2007



  • Low back pain
  • Physical Therapy
  • Traction
  • Rehabilitation
  • Nerve Root

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