Manual Spinal Traction | Physical Therapy | PT Effect

Focused, One-on-One Physical Therapy Treatment

Manual Spinal Traction

No Medications. No Painful Injections.

Return to living your life to its fullest without discomfort or pain. Our Doctors of Physical Therapy are experts at using manual spinal traction and other physical therapy techniques to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life.

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What we can treat

What Is Manual Spinal Traction?

Manual spinal traction is a physical therapy technique that involves a physical therapist using their hands to manually create a state of traction in a patient’s spine. Traction is the separation of the bones, joints, and discs in the spine through the use of pressure or force. This helps to relieve pressure on the spine and can work anywhere from the lower back up to the neck.

How Does Manual Spinal Traction Work?

Spinal traction is a type of decompression physical therapy that relieves pressure on the spine that can cause pain. In spinal traction therapy, the spine is stretched so that pressure is taken off of any parts of the spine that are compressed. This process also helps to straighten the spine and encourages it to heal itself.

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What Are Manual Spinal Traction Benefits?

The benefits of manual spinal traction include:

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Pain relief

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Joint decompression

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Properly aligned spine

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Our Treatment Method

Who Benefits from Manual Spinal Traction?

Manual spinal traction is a physical therapy technique best used to treat the following conditions:

  • Bone spurs
  • Slipped discs
  • Herniated discs
  • Pinched nerves
  • Facet disease
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Foramina stenosis
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • And more

Manual spinal traction isn’t for everyone, however, and if your bones are either fractured or at risk of fracture, then other physical therapy techniques may be better suited to your needs.

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What Are the Side Effects of Manual Spinal Traction?

Manual spinal traction can have the side effect of muscle spasms. If this happens, your physical therapist will be prepared for it. This potential side effect of spinal traction treatment is another reason to make sure you work with your physical therapist before attempting spinal traction at home.

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Customized techniques

What Is the Difference Between Manual Spinal Traction and Mechanical Spinal Traction?

Manual and mechanical spinal traction are both decompression physical therapy techniques that stretch out and relieve pressure on the spine. Manual spinal traction involves the use of the physical therapist’s hands while mechanical spinal traction uses a table with special tools to stretch out your spine. Each has its advantages, but which is better for you depends on your condition and needs. Your first physical therapy appointment typically involves an examination and a discussion of your medical history, which will help your physical therapist determine what is best for your needs.

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Manual Therapy

How We Achieve A Better Diagnosis with Less Discomfort

What is manual therapy? Manual therapy is a method physical therapy that involves the therapist feeling exactly how your body reacts to specific movement and exercises. A lot of pain and discomfort comes from lack of mobility or a small range of motion. Through simple movements and exercises, we're able to get your body used to these motions again, reducing or completely removing your pain.

Manual therapy includes a detailed biomechanical assessment. This means that your therapist will watch and feel how you move in order to make the most accurate diagnosis possible. This leads to faster recovery times and improved outcomes.

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Benefits of Manual Therapy

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More accurate diagnoses and understanding of pain

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Less discomfort and pain during treatment

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Therapist can feel where there is tension and mobility issues

The best of the best

Meet Our Specialist

Dr. Mark Shulman

Dr. Mark Shulman

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), FAAOMPT, COMT, CSCS

Dr. Mark Shulman, DPT, FAAOMPT, COMT, CSCS has worked in Physical Therapy since 2005 when he started as a Physical Therapy Aide in an Outpatient clinic. Since then he has continued to progress his practice and gain experiences in multiple treatment settings. Dr. Shulman started “The Physical Therapy Effect” to continue his goal of providing quality one on one care to the patients he works with.

Mark studied Physical Therapy at Northeastern University in Boston Massachusetts where he graduated Magna Cum laude with a Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2010. While completing his degree in Physical Therapy, Dr. Shulman also earned his Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Credentials from the NSCA. He has taken multiple advanced training courses to become a Certified Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapist through North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy. Dr. Shulman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy. He is also currently a Credentialed Clinical Instructor through the America Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Mark maintains an active membership in the American Physical Therapy Association, American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists and National Strength and Conditioning Association.

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Convenient Downtown Location

State-of-the-Art Office

We’ve been a part of the Little Italy community for over 6 years. Our office features top-of-the-line equipment to get you the results you expect.

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Take The First Step

Ready to become painfree?

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Step one:

Call or message us to
book your appointment

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Step two:

We’ll work with you to
get you painfree again

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Step three:

Regain your freedom &
pain free lifestyle

Mark Shulman

Dr. Mark Shulman

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), FAAOMPT, COMT, CSCS


Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists.

Mark Shulman

Dr. Allison McKay

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), PRPC


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Contact Information

(619) 544-1055

Fax: (619) 544-1056

The Physical Therapy Effect

1601 Kettner Blvd Suite 11
San Diego, CA 92101