What to Know About the Y Strap Chiropractic Device


Chiropractic Adjustments using a Y-strap is a type of therapy that involves manual manipulation of the spine, and sometimes other areas of the body, to relieve a variety of symptoms. 

Most chiropractic adjustment techniques are performed using hands-on manipulation. Some manipulation can also be done using specialized tools. The Y strap is a chiropractic tool that can be used to decompress the vertebrae of the spine.

In this article, we’ll explore what the Y strap is used for, what the research says about its safety, and any potential risks you should know about this technique.

What is a Y strap?

The Y-strap, also known as the y-axis traction strap, is a chiropractic decompression tool. Like hands-on spinal decompression, the Y strap works to decompress the vertebrae by gently stretching the spine. Here’s how the device works:

  1. The bottom of the Y strap is secured around the back of the person’s head, securely at the base of the skull.
  2. The strap is cinched in the middle, which creates a Y-shape at the top portion of the strap that leads into the handgrip.
  3. The chiropractor grabs the handgrip with both hands and positions the strap up and away from the person’s body.
  4. The strap is gently, but firmly, pulled away from the person’s body to decompress the spine.

The chiropractor may sometimes perform this adjustment using small side-to-side motions to increase mobility of the spine. In most cases, a gentle tug is also used to further “crack” and decompress the vertebrae.

What is the Y strap used for?

The Y strap is one of many tools that chiropractors can use to adjust the spine. Chris Youakim, owner of Chiroflexion Terrigal on the Central Coast, helped clarify why the Y strap might be used.

“It provides a decompressive style adjustment,” he explained. Spinal decompression, which can be performed using various methods such as spinal traction can help relieve pressure on the spine and reduce symptoms from underlying conditions.

While many full body chiropractic adjustments take place along the Y axis which is a longitudinal form of gentle traction on the spine. 

So, what are the advantages of using the Y strap over simply using the hands to adjust and decompress the spine?

“The advantage is the adjustment is done in the Y-axis, so there’s more of a dis-traction of the joint versus the manual rotational adjustment,” he explained. “Some people don’t like the rotational adjustment done, so the straight traction decompression nature of the Y strap is more preferable to some people.”

Although many videos of Y-strap adjustments show a potentially aggressive nature to the technique, Dr. Bertollini clarified that while there are a lot of chiropractors who may do it aggressively, this is not always necessary.

“There’s usually an extra tug done, based on the doctor’s judgment, to provide that little extra release of the joints,” he says. “The aggressive style that people see on YouTube is not really needed or always done. A lot of times, it’s done to varying degrees.”

For more information and to book your next chiropractic appointment please call 0411 963 965.