As a general term, traction means pulling on part of the body.
Most often, traction uses mechanical force (sometimes generated by weights and pulleys) to put tension on a displaced bone or joint, such as a dislocated shoulder, to put it back in position and keep it still.
Traction is also used to keep a group of muscles (such as the neck muscles) stretched to reduce muscle spasms. This is called cervical traction.
As a treatment, traction will involve a certain amount of tension to pull the body part into another position, a length of time to use the tension, and a way to keep the tension.
Reviewed by:David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorousstandards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information andservices. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorialpolicy, editorialprocess, and privacypolicy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch.)
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatmentof any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 2015 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication ordistribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.