The Complete Guide to Neck Traction at Home (For Fast Neck Pain Relief)

neck traction at home

Neck traction, also known as cervical traction, is an amazing drug-free method to relieve neck pain for anyone suffering from neck arthritis, herniated/bulging disc in the neck, neck strains and cervical muscle spasms.

These days you don’t have to go to a physical therapist for neck traction.

You can do home neck traction just as effectively and safely – as long as you learn how to do it and which device is best for you.

This guide will show exactly how to do home cervical stretching safely, without spending a fortune.

What is Cervical Traction and How Does it Relieve Neck Pain?

In traction, the goal is to provide the opportunity for your neck muscles and pinched nerves to be released.

Tension is placed on the head to pull it up and away from the neck, stretching the muscles and ligaments around the vertebrae of the spine and expanding the space between the vertebrae.

For many people, neck traction equipment provides fast neck pain relief – without medication – and a faster recovery from neck injuries.

Home neck traction units (and pillows for neck pain at night) gently stretch the spinal vertebrae and muscles. This immediately relieves the pressure on the discs and the nerves.

Now everything is in place and the awful pain and stiffness can be dramatically reduced. And all of this is done without medication and unnecessary surgeries.

How to Do Neck Traction at Home (Or Anywhere Else)

You can basically choose from 3 types of neck traction home units. They can get you about the same results but they are very different.

Since it can be a little complicated, I’ll try to simplify this for you as much as I can:

1. Air Neck Traction Devices

Air Neck Traction

Air neck traction devices are basically inflated neck braces. You secure them around your neck and use the pump to inflate them.

As the pillow gets filled with air, it straightens takes the weight off your neck and pushes down your shoulders.

You use the pump to gradually raise the level of air to a comfortable stretch. Your muscles relax and your discs are aligned and ready to re-hydrate. You are also taking the pressure off your nerves and blood vessels of course.

The Upsides

Air neck traction devices are easy to use, require no assembly and are completely portable. You can easily take them anywhere and use them at the office or while traveling. You can use them while sitting or lying down, however you’d like.

The Downsides

Not all air neck traction devices are made of high quality materials. One unit I had started leaking after I’ve used it for only 6 times, so you really have to know which ones are the best (see below).

Another disadvantage is that they can apply a bit too much pressure on your TMJ, since the pillow inflates around the jaw as well.

The Best Air Neck Traction Device

Since I want to prevent you from wasting your money, here is the highest quality air neck traction device (through my research):

ChiSoft Traction Device

ChiaSoft Neck Traction

Watch this short video reviewing the ChiSoft device:

Check it now

2. Over the Door Neck Traction

Over the Door TractionOver the door neck traction devices require, as hinted in the name, a door.  They require some assembly because you have to place them over the back of a door.

The over the door traction device requires for you to place straps around the back of your head and your chin (see the picture above).

You tighten the strap to stretch your neck by using either a water bag (not recommended) or by pulling down a cord (like in the Neckpro device).

The  Upsides

An over the door device if fairly easy to use once you’ve placed correctly and made sure the door is solid. You can than sit comfortably on a chair and read something while the traction works.

The Downsides

Over the door devices are less portable than air neck devices. You’ll need a solid door and a chair to use it and you can’t lie down and relax.

It can take some time to find the right stretch and your chin may take the brunt of the traction force.

But, it still gives you the same benefits and if you use it correctly it can bring you great neck pain relief.

I would not recommend using the water bag units, because they are harder to control.

The Best Over the Door Traction Device

My highest recommendation goes to:

  NeckPro Over the Door Traction Device

neckpro over the door

Check it now

3. Posture Pumps

Posture Pump

Posture pumps are usually a bit pricier than the above two, but they are worth every cent in my humble opinion.

Posture pump units are well-built and are heavy-duty pieces of quality durable medical equipment.

They simulate cervical traction performed in a clinic, and are nearly identical as far as quality of treatment goes, in my experience.

Posture pumps are larger, provide stronger traction and are made with durable material. They are light and portable and come in a handy carrying case.

They require no assembly and have softer, more comfortable head pad and straps.

You simply lie down, adjust the little knob/posts that secure the base of your skull and place the strap on your forehead. Then you just pump up the pressure and tighten.

The Upsides

Posture pumps are usually sturdier, made with more durable materials and work with no problems for years. They don’t use pillows that can leak air and they don’t need a door to support them.

They all have a handy carrying bag that protects them if you want to take them with you anywhere.

They don’t put pressure on your jaw or anywhere other than where it should be.

The Downsides

These units are less portable than the air neck traction devices, and they take up a bit more room. You can only use them lying down.

The price is higher, but in my opinion – Well worth it. Especially if you consider the money you are saving on dozens of chiropractor treatments.

The Best Posture Pumps

This is our #2 most recommended posture pump in 2017:

ComfortTrac Cervical Traction

 

comfortrac home cervical traction unit review

Update: I’ve just finished my detailed review for the Comfortrac Cervical Traction Unit – check it out HERE.

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Our #1 Recommendation:

Saunders Cervical Traction Home Unit

saunders home cervical traction

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We also recommend…The Cervical Posture Pump

cervical posture pump


Warnings

Neck traction at home should only be done after making sure, with your doctor, that it’s safe for you.

If you’ve already had a neck surgery, it’s not recommended to do neck traction at home.

Do not overdo traction, because it can cause more harm than good and over stretch your neck.

Follow instructions carefully and ask your doctor and treatment time and frequency per day.

Neck Traction at Night

If your neck pain is mostly caused by your sleeping position and comes usually at night or in the morning, a neck traction pillow can be your life saver.

Don’t forget to see the critical factors in choosing a neck traction pillow.

What do you think about neck traction? Do you have any concerns? positive or negative experience?

To your health and happiness,

The Back Pain Relief Products Team

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog..

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17 Comments

  • Natalie Sudborough says:
    5 stars

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. I am in Korea and was intimidated when my local clinic physician said the word “traction”. Now that you have shown me what she meant, I am more confident that a good solution is at hand.

    • meital says:

      Natalie,

      I’m glad this put your mind at ease. Traction is one of the best alternative methods to treat neck pain and is highly effective in my experience…

      Good luck!

  • Janet says:

    I am very interested in reading your detailed reviews of both the Comfortrac Cervical Traction and the Cervical Posture Pump; however, when I click on the link, it takes me to reviews of cervical pillows. Please correct this hyperlink issue and/or email me the reviews. Thank you!

    • meital says:

      Janet,

      That’s strange…I’ve checked the links and they’re fine…

      But I’m emailing you right now with the links anyway.

      I hope this helps!:)

  • The Frugal Exerciser says:

    Are there any exercises one can do for neck pain depending upon one’s ailment? #wowlinkup

    • meital says:

      The best exercises for neck pain are, in my experience, neck traction exercises.

      You can find them on YouTube easily.

  • Kitty says:
    5 stars

    I appreciate your concise explanation of neck traction devices. I have been leaning toward a posture pump, although I did not know what it was called. My lower back always responded well to traction, so I have hopes for relief from neck traction. I have TMJ, and think the over-the-door and pillow devices might aggravate it. You have given me enough information to approach my chiropractor for additional advice.

  • sarah says:

    I had 3 herniated discs in my neck, c5 c6 and c7 thay I had surgery on. I now have a metal plate and 6 screws in my neck. I recently found out I have a bulging disc between my c3 and c4. My surgeon recommended a traction device. My neurologist on the other hand told me that there’s a nerve that runs quite deep under the collar bone and any type
    Of therapy (traction or not) would probably put me in a whole new world of hurt. What do you think?

    • meital says:

      Sarah,

      Why don’t you go back to your surgeon and tell him about what the Neurologist told you? Confront both og them with what they’ve said and than think about it, and do what your gut feeling tells you.

      Obviously my opinion about this won’t be more important than two doctors…

  • Rebecca says:
    4 stars

    Hi, do you have any recommendations for how often and how long to do neck traction?

    • meital says:

      Rebecca,

      To my knowledge, you can do neck traction every day (if you’ll need it), and all you need is a few minutes (3-7) to feel relief. Once you feel relief, you stop.

      Listen to your body, it will tell you the point of the most comnfortable stretch and when to stop.

      Good luck!

  • Susan Stewart says:

    ok…first time …I got a headache which stopped when I removed it…did I have it on too tight

  • Steve sudell says:
    5 stars

    Another consideration that you may want to try is The Neck Hammock. Designed by a Physical Therapist, provides the same cervical traction force as the pump units(yet 1/4 the price), eliminates TMJ aggravation, is portable, and very comfortable. It will launch at the beginning of the year. This in no way is intended to to spam, I truly believe its the next breakthrough technology for at home cervical traction. The Website is: TheNeckHammock.com

  • Elaine says:
    4 stars

    Just wanted to share that there are several stretching exercises one can do to help relieve several different types of neck issues. Good posture is a must. I did the water bag door contraption for several years which helped avoid surgery. I was under an orthopedic doctors care. Age has caught up and I’m hoping for traction instead of surgery Thanks for the great information. It gives me something to discuss with my Neurosurgeon

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