This new and exciting piece of equipment is designed to bridge the gap between aquatic therapy and traditional traction. The unloading system can be utilized for the upper half and lower half of the body – specifically – the lumbar spine and cervical spine. For both areas, a harness is used to support the lumbar or cervical spine; then a traction force is applied. The harness for the lumbar spine also acts as a support for the spine to aid in pain relief and function. Once unloaded, the patient can exercise in multiple ways. This system is most commonly used for lumbar and cervical spine conditions, including: spinal stenosis; herniated discs; radiculopathy; degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis; and peripheral nerve irritations like sciatica, neuropathy, numbness and tingling in the arms.
The traction force applied with the unloading system is very precise and measurable so any patient can monitor his/her progress, as he/she needs less weight to walk and move without pain. Unloading is more of a functional traction, giving both the benefits of traditional traction and the function of aquatic therapy to allow for: improved walking; endurance; blood flow that is vital to healing; and range of motion for bending, turning, driving, and sleeping.
The unloading system can be used for other lower extremity conditions like: recent surgery, recent change in weight bearing status, total joint replacements, bursitis, tendonitis, foot drop, and any ligament sprain in the lower extremity. Most of these conditions require relearning how to walk, negotiate steps, squat, side step, and more. The unloading system is the perfect tool to advance all of these limitations to get you back to your everyday activity.
This system is not only used for pain and dysfunctions, it can also be used to prepare any athlete for sport. As much as injured patients need help to walk, the Unloader can additionally be used for running. Once at the appropriate level, as determined by the Doctor of Physical Therapy, a training program can begin for the average daily runner, marathon runner, triathlete and more. If any of these conditions sound like you, give us a call and schedule a visit at our Westover Hills Clinic at (210) 647-9970 to try out the unloading system at Promotion Physical Therapy.*
*The Unloader is also available at our North Central Clinic.
Corey Verostick, PT, DPT, FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Clinical Director, Westover Hills Clinic
Promotion Physical Therapy