The intervertebral discs - an ingenious invention of nature. Nevertheless, they cause problems for many people. Constrained postures due to excessive sitting or standing are to blame. A body stretcher, also known as a traction table, can help equalise the load.
Located between two adjacent vertebra, the intervertebral discs enable mobility and cushion the system. Elasticity is what makes each intervertebral disc so special. The spinal column cushions need fluid to maintain this.
However, the intervertebral discs are not supplied by blood vessels. They obtain their nutrients exclusively through movement. Ongoing loading and unloading is essential to work fluid and nutrients into the intervertebral discs. This is precisely where the problem lies: most people simply do not get enough exercise. Continuous sitting or excessive standing leads to permanent compression, disrupting the exchange of fluids.
Normally the cushions are able to regenerate overnight. But if we do not sleep sufficiently well, the intervertebral discs may become brittle and cracked: they simply do not absorb enough fluid. They may bulge out or even rupture as a result. This can cause severe pain. A body stretcher system can alleviate, reduce or even reverse this development.
Intervertebral discs are able to saturate themselves with fluid and nutrients again when they are provided with an appropriate surface for resting. This is also possible while swimming when a back-friendly swimming style is chosen. Regeneration is particularly effective when the effects of gravity are virtually eliminated and stretching occurs simultaneously.
This is exactly what a special body stretcher system achieves. One stands on the device, secures the feet/legs, and adapts the device to the individual height. Then one slowly tips forward in a controlled manner, as on a teeter-totter or swing.
This movement should be self-regulated and controlled using additional handles, or carried out with the support of a trained specialist. The handles can be used to carefully pull oneself forward to reach the horizontal position. The torso and leg pad draw apart slightly while tipping forward.
Since the feet are held by the base plate, a pleasant stretching effect results. The entire body is then in traction. This stretches the intervertebral discs, vertebral joints and short musculature that connects the spine (segmental musculature).
The musculature should be relaxed as much as possible so the intervertebral discs properly recuperate during stretching. Resisting the stretching effect by tensing the muscles strengthens the back musculature.
The body stretcher is ideal for back pain prevention. Especially for people who spend a lot of time sitting. Aside from the intervertebral discs, the musculature benefits as well. It is strengthened and circulation is improved. The metabolism is activated and regeneration accelerates.
Some therapists also use the traction table in therapy. They can perform other therapy measures simultaneously while the patient is brought into the horizontal position in a relaxed manner and the body is slightly stretched along the spinal column. This can even boost the effect of therapeutic hand movements. Heat treatment or mobilisation by a therapist for example can achieve additional positive effects while lying in this position.
Starting slowly is recommended when using a traction table for the first time. Beginners start out with five minutes. Up to 15 minutes is reasonable after acclimatisation. Slow, careful and self-regulating stretching is important.
However, training with the traction table is not always advisable. Examples of contraindications include: