Lumbar traction can relieve pressure on compressed nerves, help muscles relax and reduce muscle spasms. Traction increases the space between vertebrae – reducing pressure on intervertebral discs and nerve root. The vertebral separation is temporary, but may last long enough to allow some patients to exercise without aggravating sciatica. The therapist must decide the optimum amount of force to use and the length of time the force is sustained. Enough force must be used to cause vertebral separation. Though relatively safe, excessive force could increase pain or injury. Force is increased slowly to avoid overstretching or triggering muscle spasms. Traction should not cause pain although mild soreness is often felt the next day.There are different techniques used in lumbar traction, both mechanical and manual. Inversion therapy is a form of traction that uses a persons own body weight and gravity to stretch the spine. Inversion therapy can be performed at home but should not be done without approval from a physician. Spinal Decompression Therapy, also called Vertebral Axial Decompression (VAX-D), is a form of mechanical lumbar traction. Traction is contradicted in people with certain medical conditions including osteoporosis, spinal fractures, Spondylolisthesis, inflammatory arthritis of the spine, etc. Despite the lack of scientific evidence that lumbar traction provides any long-term benefits for chronic lower back pain, many practitioners have found traction to be clinically effective for short-term pain relief. Spinal traction is a widely used and accepted treatment for chronic lower back pain, especially sciatica.