This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More.
Your cervical spine area is a complex construct that endures much stress and trauma from performing daily tasks.
Pain in the neck is commonplace due to what this area goes through every day in the modern world.
This guide will discuss neck pain, neck traction, stretching of the cervical area, and what cervical traction devices are best for treatments at home.
Home Cervical Traction Devices
How can you do neck traction at home?
First, you choose the traction device you need and follow the guidelines for each one.
You can choose from four different types of neck traction devices to use at home. Each one offers similar results, but they are different types of devices:
- Air Traction Devices
- Over-the-Door Traction Devices
- Posture Pumps
- Neck Hammocks
Best Cervical Traction Devices
I’ve tried a bunch of these devices myself. These are the ones I evaluated as the best, based on stringent criteria such as comfort, safety, & effectiveness.
1) Air Cervical Traction Devices
Air neck traction devices are essentially neck braces. They are made up of three separate pillow units connected. You place the device around your neck and then use the hand pump to inflate it.
As the pillows fill with air they straighten and relieve the weight of your head on your neck while also pushing down on your shoulders.
To get a comfortable stretch for your cervical spine, you use the pump to gradually increase the air until you feel comfortable.
During this stretch, your neck muscles will relax, and your cervical spine discs will realign and re-hydrate. Cervical traction also takes the pressure off pinched nerves and blood vessels.
The Best Air Neck Traction Devices
First, I’m going to recommend the top-rated air neck traction devices, then I’ll go on to other types.
We have found the FDA Patented Medical Neck Cervical Traction Device by Wissmiss to be the most effective.
It’s made from extremely high-quality materials and is used in medical rehabilitation centres. on the downside, it’s pricier than a lot of products out there (because it’s better).
If the cost is prohibitive, then the ChiSoft Neck Traction Device comes in at a respectable second place.
Although it does have some mixed reviews, it’s your best bet if you can’t afford the one above.
2) Over-the-Door Neck Traction
Just as the name suggests, over-the-door traction devices require a sturdy door to hang on and safely use. These devices require some assembly as you must put them over the top of a door.
Once the device is placed over a door, you put the halter around your chin and the back of your head. Instructions for placing the straps will be with your unit.
Tighten the strap to get a comfortable stretch by pulling down on the cord or by using a heavy weighted object like water bag units.
Once you figure it out, this is an excellent method of relieving neck pain & tension through traction at home.
The Best Over-the-Door Traction System
The main thing here is to go for a high-quality product.
The last thing you want is a cheap one that breaks whilst you’re in this position (it’s happened to me twice!).
Our recommendation for the highest quality over-the-door product is the NeckPro II Over the Door Neck Traction Device.
3) Posture Pumps
The fourth type of neck traction device for use at home is the posture pump.
Posture pumps are a little more expensive than the air type and the over-the-door type of traction systems, but they are well worth it, and here’s why.
Posture pumps are well-built, high-quality, heavy-duty durable medical-grade equipment style units. They are almost identical to those used in clinics.
These devices are larger, provide better traction, and are made from high-quality materials. Even though they are larger, they often come with a carry case and are light enough to be portable. The straps and head pads are soft, comfortable, and require no assembly.
You get to lie down and be comfortable with posture pump neck traction devices. You simply adjust the knobs on the base, place the strap over your forehead, and pump it up to get the desired tightness and pressure.
The Best Posture Pump
Posture pumps are great if you’ve got the extra money to spend.
Here are my top picks.
In my opinion, the best posture pump is The ComforTrac Cervical Traction Kit.
The ComforTrac traction kit has been around for a long time now, has great customer reviews and is made from high-quality materials that will last.
This costs more than other options in this guide, but the extra money is worth it.
I would love to recommend The Saunders Cervical Traction Device.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get ahold of this product unless you’re a medical professional or a business.
The Saunders Cervical Traction Device is truly a high-quality piece of kit, but the cost is also prohibitive for some.
You might be lucky and find it on eBay.
If the posture pump is something you are interested in, this Posture Neck Exercising Cervical Disc Hydrator Pump is substantially less expensive, but it is a high-quality device that relieves neck stiffness and pain.
It’s affordable, easy to use, and it aids in restoring your neck curve to its proper position. It is designed to correct forward head posture, neck and upper spine posture by hydrating compressed discs and decreasing bulging discs.
If you’re not comfortable with posture pumps, you may also consider buying an inversion table as an alternative.
4) Neck Hammocks
Neck Hammocks are a much newer type of product.
Simply put, this device helps to relieve pressure and pain in this area by pulling the head away from the shoulders. When you do this, your muscles can begin to relax and slowly stretch, as well as any ligaments surrounding the spine.
The space around your invertebrate expands which encourages circulation and blood flow. It also helps to oxygenate the tendons, muscles, nerves, and ligaments which helps to increase your levels of mobility and decrease any discomfort.
If you’re suffering from pinched nerves, these will also be released.
The Best Neck Hammock
There’s only one neck hammock product I recommend.
The Neck Hammock is a relatively new product with excellent reviews.
Historically, patients could only receive traction therapy at the office of a physical therapist. However, these visits often take a lot of time, costly and can cause inconvenience.
Today, there are many cervical traction devices that can be used in the home. In saying that, a lot of these products are bulky, cumbersome, complicated and can be expensive.
What is needed to replace products like these is a convenient, comfortable, compact and affordable traction device that can help to reduce discomfort and help you avoid potentially stress-induced injuries. At the same time, you can experience the ultimate in relaxation.
It is for these reasons that The Neck Hammock was created!
You Can Take The Neck Hammock With You Anywhere
Not only is the neck hammock affordable and compact, but it’s convenient too – because you can take it with you wherever you go.
This means that if you have a difficult workout at the gym, you can take it out of your bag afterward to bring immediate relief to your sore muscles. You can also take it to the office and use it on your neck after you’ve spent a few hours straining over your computer.
When you’re flying long-haul, you’re going to be sitting in the upright position for a long time. The neck hammock is ideal post-flight to help minimize any stiffness you may be experiencing as a result.
Three Ways You Can Use the Neck Hammock
- Door Jamb
Simply place the door jamb pillow into the door jamb. It’s vital that you pull your neck hammock tight at this point, to prevent it from sliding. Once you’ve got it in place and you’re confident it won’t move, just lie down and relax.
- Door Knob
Wrap your neck hammock around the handle or knob of the door. Make sure the door is closed completely and pull your neck hammock tight. Once you’ve got it in a nice tight grip, just lie down, relax and enjoy the stretch.
Using the long strap of your neck hammock, pull it through the ring of the railing. Attack the hook to the strap, so it’s firmly tucked around the railing and has no chance of slipping loose.
You’d be surprised to know that there are many knock-off brands of the neck hammock. While they may be slightly cheaper, they aren’t made with the same quality, which means there’s a good chance they will break on you.
The original sewn-in strap version of the neck hammock has been tested and designed in the U.S., so you can trust an authentic neck hammock to do the job without breaking on you!
It even comes with a six-month warranty. This is a company that believes in its products, and can confidently say that you’ll experience effective relief from pain and discomfort when using the neck hammock.
Cervical Traction Therapy Safety Warnings & Side Effects
- It’s advisable to consult with your physician, chiropractor, or physical therapist before considering a home unit for cervical traction. You should be careful and know if it’s safe for you.
- Neck traction devices for home use are not recommended for anyone who has had neck surgery.
- Avoid overusing home cervical traction therapy regardless of the type of device you choose. You could do more harm than good to your neck by overstretching.
- Always follow the provided instructions with these devices and ask your chiropractor or doctor which type is best for you, how long to use it, and how many times per day to use it.
Other than safety precautions, at-home cervical traction devices provide an effective and safe way to stretch your neck and relieve tension and pain, so you can relax, sleep, or go about your daily routine without discomfort.
What Causes Neck Pain?
Neck pain has several causes and it can occur due to several types of disorders, diseases, and it can relate to any of the tissues in the cervical region of the spine.
The common causes of neck pain where traction can be effective include:
- Tension from prolonged sitting
- Muscle spasms in the neck
- Neck strain
- Poor posture
- Pinched nerve
- Neck injury
- Herniated cervical disc
- Cervical osteoarthritis or arthritis
- Degenerative disc disease
Note: Always check with a medical professional before using neck traction, regardless of the cause of your pain in the neck.
Self Cervical Traction Video
If you don’t have the budget for a device, then self-traction with a towel could be an option. Here’s an excellent video guide.
Cervical Traction Therapy
The cervical spine is the medical term for the discs in the neck. Your neck starts at the base of your skull and connects via seven vertebrae to the thoracic spine, which is the upper back.
Physical therapists use cervical traction for a range of neck conditions, but you don’t need a physical therapist to safely and effectively use neck traction in the comfort of your home (you should still consult with one before using any of these products through – inappropriate use can make your neck pain worse!).
The trick to doing this safely and effectively is to follow this guide to find the traction device that will most suit your neck.
This guide will help you simply and easily choose your traction device and teach how to perform neck stretches via traction safely and without spending a lot of money.
What is Cervical Traction?
Cervical traction is also referred to as neck traction and is a drug-free, natural treatment that relieves neck pain.
The goal of this therapy is to release the tension of your neck muscles, spread your vertebrae, and relieve pressure on pinched nerves.
During cervical traction, tension is exerted by pulling your head away from your body to stretch the cervical spine and its supporting tissues, expanding the spaces between the vertebrae.
Neck traction often works quickly and efficiently to relieve neck pain without medications. Faster recovery from cervical spine injuries is another benefit of traction.
After traction, your cervical spine area moves back into place, which reduces the stiffness and pain you were experiencing before the therapy.
Other benefits of neck traction include:
- Improved posture
- Headache relief
- Lessened fatigue
- Reduced joint pain
- Improved flexibility
Overall, cervical traction, when used properly and safely, is an effective treatment for neck soreness, stiffness, and pain. It can help improve your quality of life.