As many of us know, a common area that people experience pain is in the neck, or cervical spine. Problems that begin in the cervical spine not only can cause pain in the neck, but can also lead to headaches in many forms. A common type of headache stems from tightness in our upper shoulder and cervical muscles – the muscle tension headache. Tight neck muscles tug on the tough fibers of our scalp which leads to pain. In some people this can trigger migraine headaches. Migraine headaches are an especially painful type of headache that can be disabling and last for several days.
There are many ways headaches can be treated. We are all familiar with advertisements for headache medicines. Unfortunately, there are no medications that are completely safe or completely effective for everyone. All headache medicines can cause side effects, and some of these can be quite serious. In addition, some headache medicines can actually cause more headaches if used on a regular basis.
For those headaches that are related to tight muscles, I feel that it is most effective to attack the problem at its source – tight neck muscles. That's why I utilize CycleTrac home intermittent cervical traction as an integral part of my treatment regimen for patients suffering from neck pain and headaches, including some types of migraines.
As simple as it sounds, one of the most effective treatments for tight muscles is to stretch those muscles. However, when we are dealing with neck muscles it's not as straightforward as it may seem. In the cervical spine, certain types of stretches can lead to more pain, and can be harmful. In many patients, stretching backwards or from side to side can produce more pain and even cause nerve damage. When neck muscles are stretched axially, that is upwards, the possible complications associated with other stretches can be avoided. Axial stretching is called traction. For the neck, we call it cervical traction. Also, if muscles are stretched for prolonged periods they may go into spasm – certainly something we want to avoid. The most effective stretch is on and off, or intermittent. This type of stretch minimizes the likelihood of spasms developing and in many cases eliminates the headache within an hour of treatment.
CycleTrac delivers axial traction that is also intermittent. This is the same type of traction that my own patients receive when they attend physical therapy. However, physical therapy in a clinic or outpatient setting is expensive, time consuming and cannot be done on a daily basis. For my patients who I feel would benefit from at-home cervical traction therapy, I prescribe CycleTrac intermittent home cervical traction. I recommend they use it every night before going to sleep, which prolongs the positive effects of traction. This provides long lasting muscle relaxation, symptom relief and in many cases cures the patient’s headaches.
CycleTrac is unique in that it is a home cervical traction device that allows for intermittent stretches. My patients use it on a daily basis. Patients find that it is easy to set up, fully adjustable and comfortable. Plus it’s compact and inexpensive! The patient is in complete control while administering their own therapy. Most of all, because of these positive features, patients use it on a regular basis and they do get better. I have many success stories related to the use of CycleTrac. In my professional opinion, there is no better home cervical traction unit available that’s as effective as CycleTrac!
Gary Chodoroff, M.D.
Medical consultant to CycleTrac