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Intersegmental Traction “Roller Table” in Scottsdale


Intersegmental traction is achieved by using a specialized table. The patient lays on the table on their back while a rotating three wheeled cam moves up and down the spine.

The roller table works by passively mobilizing the spinal column and mildly stretching the spinal joints and postural muscles.

The spinal joints allow for motion in the spine while protecting it at the same time and the postural muscles provides stability for the body as it moves.

The goal of the roller table is to increase blood flow, bring oxygen to the discs, and relax postural muscles in order to improve balance, strength and mobility.

The intersegmental traction table has an advantage that it can treat patients of all shapes and sizes in the same manner.

The first roller table was developed in 1937 [1] by Dr. Ollie N. Donnahoe and was named the “spinalator”.    Dr. Donnahoe came up with the idea for the table after noticing patients were getting improved results after spinal adjustments when the tension of the spine was reduced and mobilized. [2] The roller tables today continue to do the exact same thing since 1937.

What does the roller table do?

The intervertebral discs in our spine have poor circulation of blood [3] ; so, the only way to get the nutritional fluids the discs need is by moving these discs through their ranges of motion.

Joint misalignments in the spine can prevent the spine from moving through its full range of motion which can cause degeneration and thinning of the discs. [3]

When the postural muscles, especially around the spine, are under constant strain due to injury or poor posture, the muscles go into spasm.

The intersegmental table works by using the patient’s own weight to create traction without any additional hardware.

Other benefits of the roller table include:

  • Increased Joint motion: when the rollers underneath the table move up and down the spine, it passively mobilizes the facet joints of the spine [4] .
  • Improved circulation: by gently stretching the muscles and soft tissues around the spine, it increases blood flow which brings additional oxygen to the area.
  • Muscle relaxation: Cyriax Testing and EMG shows that there is muscle relaxation and that the roller table breaks up spasms in deep spinal muscles. [4]

The roller table is great for conditions like:

  • Lumbar facet (posterior joint) syndrome [4]
  • Scoliosis, Hyperkyphosis and/or anterior posture syndromes [4]
  • Stress and tension [4] [5]
  • General joint stiffness or hypomobility [4]
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis [4]
  • Retrolisthesis [4]
  • Osteoarthritis or degenerative spondylosis [4]
  • Muscular spasm [4] [5]
  • General spinal maintenance [4]


The roller table does not typically carry any risks unless you have:

  • Infection or malignancies that affect the spine or surrounding tissue [4]
  • Spondylolisthesis or other severe spinal instability [4]
  • An acute herniated disc with or without “sciatica” [4]
  • Rib or spine fracture [4] [5]
  • Severe osteoporosis [4] [5]
  • Surgical spinal hardware [5]

The Intersegmental traction table is usually painless. In fact, most patients find the roller table to be relaxing and somewhat like a massage.

What to expect with Intersegmental traction

Patients are positioned on their back while a three wheeled cam just under the surface of the table rotates on an axis while it moves its way up and down the length the spine.

The height of the rollers apply a consistent pressure that can be increased or decreased based on patient preference for comfort or strength.

There is a vibrating feature to give a massage-like experience.

Treatment can be as long as the patient wishes. Typical sessions are 10-15 minutes.

Roller table success rates

Many patients enjoy the roller table because it feels like a gentle massage to your spine.


1. Index of Trademarks Issued from the United States Patent Office. (1956). United States: U.S. Government Printing Office.
2. Dr. O. N. Donnahoe, Asheville Surgeon, Dies. (1971, October 20). Asheville Citizen-Times.
3. Back Talk Systems, Inc. (2007). Q&A Intersegmental Traction.
4. Back be Nimble. (n.d.). Quantum 400 Intersegmental Chiropractic Roller Massage. Retrieved August 24, 2021, from
5. Armedica Manufacturing Corporation. (2007). QUANTUM 400/400H/400P Intersegmental Traction Table Service & Instruction Manual. Greenwood, AR Armedica Manufacturing Corporation.

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