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Ann Phys Rehabil Med. 2009 Nov;52(9):638-52. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Oct 8.

The value of intermittent cervical traction in recent cervical radiculopathy.

[Article in English, French]

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Service de médecine physique et réadaptation, CHU F. Bourguiba, Monastir, Tunisia.



Our objective is to assess the effect of mechanical and manual intermittent cervical traction on pain, use of analgesics and disability during the recent cervical radiculopathy (CR).


We made a prospective randomized study including patients sent for rehabilitation between April 2005 and October 2006. Thirty-nine patients were divided into three groups of 13 patients each. A group (A) treated by conventional rehabilitation with manual traction, a group (B) treated with conventional rehabilitation with intermittent mechanical traction and a third group (C) treated with conventional rehabilitation alone. We evaluated cervical pain, radicular pain, disability and the use of analgesics at baseline, at the end and at 1, 3 and 6 months after treatment.


At the end of treatment improving of cervical pain, radicular pain and disability is significantly better in groups A and B compared to group C. The decrease in consumption of analgesics is comparable in the three groups. At 6 months improving of cervical and radicular pain and disability is still significant compared to baseline in both groups A and B. The gain in consumption of analgesics is significant in the three groups: A, B and C.


Manual or mechanical cervical traction appears to be a major contribution in the rehabilitation of CR particularly if it is included in a multimodal approach of rehabilitation.

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