The 10 Best Back Traction Home Devices
Back traction, also known as non-surgical spinal decompression, is one of the most popular therapies in chiropractors’ and physical therapists’ clinics.
Because it works (see the success rate of spinal decompression according to studies).
However, in 2021 you can have your own highly effective and safe spinal decompression device at home – for a fraction of the cost. This is what we are here to help you with!
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Though back decompression home devices are not widely supported in scientific studies, they’ve been used as a drug-free and relatively fast method to relieve back and neck pain – for decades.
Here you’ll find the 10 BEST ways to decompress your spine through home back traction devices.
👉 In a hurry?
See our comparison table first, below:
|Type||Treatment Time||Our Rating|
|Innova ITX96000 |
(Hang upside down)
Back & Neck Stretcher
|5-20 minutes up to twice a day||Best Price on Amazon and Walmart|
|Chirp Back Roller Wheel||Lay down back stretcher||5 minutes||Save 10% with coupon code CHIRP10 - at Chirp|
|Lay Down Stretching Bench|
Back & Neck
|5 minutes per position once a day||Best Price on Walmart|
Lumbar & Mid Back Stretcher
|3 minutes daily||Check price on Amazon|
|Arched Back Stretcher||5-20 minutes daily||Check price on Amazon|
|Posture Pump Dual Delux||Lay Down Lumbar Stretcher||3 minutes in 10 second intervals||$249 at Posture Pump|
|Saunders Lumbar Traction||Lay down Lumbar Stretcher||As instructed by health provider||$599 at HPFY|
- 1 What is the Success Rate of Spinal Decompression?
- 2 ✅ The Top 10 Back Decompression Home Devices
- 2.1 1. Hang Upside Down Back Decompression (Inversion Tables)
- 2.2 2. Back Roller Wheels
- 2.3 3. Lumbar Traction Devices (Lay Down Decompression)
- 2.4 4. Spinal Decompression Harness Best for Sciatica
- 2.5 5. Back Decompression Belt – Lumbar Traction & Posture Corrector
- 2.6 6. Orthopedic Back Stretchers
- 2.7 7. The Nubax Trio – Inversion Table Alternative
- 3 How Does Spinal Decompression Work?
- 4 How Long Should You Do Spinal Decompression?
- 5 Can Back Decompression Hurt Your Back?
What is the Success Rate of Spinal Decompression?
Most research (though limited) has shown spinal decompression to be successful in 71% to 89% of people. More than 10 studies have shown a significant decrease in pain and disability and an increase in activity and quality of life. Some studies report reduced disc herniation and increased disc height – proven in MRIs.
✅ The Top 10 Back Decompression Home Devices
With so many spinal decompression machines in the market, how can you choose the right one for you without getting a headache?
👉 The first thing to consider is the type of back traction device. Some devices stretch your spine while you are lying on your back.
Others do the job while you’re hung upside down.
Some work while you are sitting and others work while you are lying on your stomach. Here are the best options for decompressing your spine at home:
1. Hang Upside Down Back Decompression (Inversion Tables)
- Treatment time – 5-20 minutes, up to twice a day
When you do spinal traction with a spinal decompression table, the weight of your upper body, plus gravity, are used to extend your spine.
You strap yourself in and start gradually inverting at a low angle (As low as 30 degrees).
With time, you can increase your spine decompression by increasing the inverting angle, but most people report that they don’t need to reach all the way to being fully hung upside down – to get the benefits of inverting.
When it comes to the decompression table, you can’t compromise on the quality and safety of the device, because a cheap low-quality one can cause serious injuries.
RELATED: our reviews for the best inversion tables of 2021!
How do you decompress your spine without an inversion table? see all the options below!
2. Back Roller Wheels
- Treatment time – 5 minutes
A back roller wheel is a super-smart back decompression device that allows you to fully control the strength of the spine stretch while giving yourself a great back muscle massage. It follows the natural curve of the spine to fit perfectly between the shoulder blades and is padded to protect the spine.
When you roll your back over it – it stretches your back muscles, massages them, and at the same time – provides spine traction – to take the pressure off the discs and boost blood circulation for faster healing.
Our top pick, the best-selling Chirp wheel, comes in 3 sizes to target small-large areas and helps with posture correction, flexibility, mobility, muscle tension release, and of course – spine decompression.
3. Lumbar Traction Devices (Lay Down Decompression)
- Treatment time – 15-20 minutes up to twice a day
One popular example would be the Spinal Stretch. This compact and portable back traction device is one of the most comfortable ways to do back traction at home.
It comes fully assembled (yay!) and is easy to use.
The device needs a fixed point (door) and ratchet system for user-controlled tension. It includes a metal ratchet, waist belt, traction belt, instructional DVD, and nylon tote bag.
After you strap yourself into the harness and secure the anchor point, you slowly ratchet the device that essentially pulls you towards the anchor point. Very simple.
The Spinal Stretch is also perfect for travel, can be taken anywhere and you can easily use it at work.
This device is perfect for people who don’t like inverting and need its portability, but you’ll get a more effective stretch from an inversion table for sure.
👉 A Lower-Cost Alternative
Have you heard about the Lo Bak Trax? check out this low-cost non-powered orthopedic spine stretcher (click the link)
Stamina Inline Best Professional Decompression Bench
- Treatment time – 5 minutes per stretch position
The Stamina Inline lumbar back stretch bench new professional model now comes with a cervical traction hammock as well and is a simple and effective traction device you can use at home.
This versatile stretching device will stretch your entire body, including the neck, lower and upper back, hips, knees, and ankles – while decompressing your spine.
The leg area has 8 foam rollers for more stretch and massage, and all you have to do is simply crank the handily-located lever for an effective decompression.
✅ Price – best price on Walmart
Saunders Lumbar Traction
The Saunders lumbar traction device is designed to deliver up to 200 lbs. of traction force – safely and comfortably, making it a clinical strength back traction device.
The Saunders requires no assembly and is ensured with a patented pneumatic pump, no-slip belts, and an easy-to-read force gauge.
The potential for significant sciatica and spinal stenosis relief is very high, and it can be very effective for slipped discs and degenerative discs.
We recommend consulting with your physical therapist for instructions tailored to your condition.
4. Spinal Decompression Harness Best for Sciatica
- Treatment time – 3 minutes and 1 more minute every week
Sit and Decompress is the top-selling spinal decompression harness on the market, and claims to increase the space between your spinal discs by 20% instantly (while using).
This device is very easy to assemble (takes 5 minutes) and use, and from customer reviews, many times immediate pain relief is felt after only one treatment.
If it doesn’t work for you, the company allows for 60-days money-back guarantee.
👉 The harness comes in 4 sizes, make sure you measure your chest before you pick a size – there’s a good chart on the Sit and Decompress Amazon page HERE.
5. Back Decompression Belt – Lumbar Traction & Posture Corrector
- Treatment time – as much as needed for general support or chronic pain, for severe conditions 3-4 times daily for 30 minutes.
Can a simple lumbar back brace/belt really decompress your spine?
As odd as it sounds, the answer is yes.
For example, Dr. Ho’s decompression belt comes with a hand pump that you use to inflate the belt, which then expands vertically.
When inflated, the back belt lifts your upper bodyweight off your lower back, which stabilizes and decompresses your lower spine – at the same time.
When deflated, you can use it as a lumbar support belt and posture corrector – anywhere you are – since it comes with a bag you can use to take it with you.
The unique benefit is the fact you can take it with you and use it while working, driving, sitting at your desk, and walking.
If you use it daily, you’ll realize that you are standing straight and not slouching as you used to, and the lumbar decompression can quickly relieve back pain from bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, sciatica, scoliosis, and radiating leg pain.
✅ Price – best price is found on Amazon
6. Orthopedic Back Stretchers
Treatment time – 5-30 minutes up to twice daily
For more gentle back traction, we recommend orthopedic back stretchers.
These simple devices, which require no assembly, are used effortlessly while lying down.
👉Related: the 7 best orthopedic back stretchers
When compression is reduced, healing nutrients and pain-relieving components can flow much better to the area and speed up healing and rehabilitation.
All you have to do now is choose one of the 3 options here, according to your special requirements, needs, and budget.
7. The Nubax Trio – Inversion Table Alternative
Treatment time – 5 minutes up to twice daily
Through our research, the Nubax Trio portable back traction device is known to be the #1 alternative for inversion tables.
If you are stressed out about hanging upside down (like some people), the Nubax can stretch your spine just as powerfully as a gravity table, without inverting at all.
Here’s how you are positioned when you’re doing back traction with the Nubax Trio:
You simply get on your knees, put your underarms under those pads, and lean forward. Amazingly, this small device can give a greater spinal decompression than an inversion table, so you must start very slowly.
The Nubax Trio is another excellent alternative for inverting, for those who are afraid of using one, getting on and off it, etc.
How Does Spinal Decompression Work?
Spine stretchers work through gently stretching the spine, which immediately changes the force and position of the spine. This results in the pressure being relieved off the spinal disks, which are gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine. For many people, this brings immediate back pain relief.
The theory behind this therapy suggests that over time, negative pressure from this therapy may cause bulging or herniated disks to retract.
This can take the pressure off the nerves and other structures in your spine. This, in turn, helps promote the movement of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal. (Source)
The improved circulation has an added, indirect benefit of decreasing chemicals in damaged tissues brought about by inflammation.
Who Can Benefit from Home Back Traction?
That being said, back traction can be extremely helpful for:
- Herniated and bulging discs
- Muscle spasms
- Spinal Stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
- Worn spinal joints and Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots.
How Long Should You Do Spinal Decompression?
The treatment period of spinal decompression at home depends on the type of device and its decompression power, with the severity of your condition. Chronic back pain sufferers may need a few months of regular back traction treatments, while people who suffer from acute muscle or disc injuries may feel relief and recovering in just a month or so.
Most studies with positive results (pain relief/reduced disability) had patients use spine decompression 3 times a week for at least four weeks.
Can Back Decompression Hurt Your Back?
Though back traction is simply a gentle stretch of the spine, it can go wrong and cause more damage if you don’t know how to do it, which device to use, or your condition falls into the contraindicated list (which you’ll see below).
1. Consult with your physician before attempting any kind of back traction at home.
2. Back traction should be stopped immediately if you feel extra pain and discomfort.
3. Back traction at home should not be performed if you have the following conditions: Unstable spine, tumor, fracture, abdominal aortic aneurysm, advanced osteoarthritis, severe spondylolisthesis, fresh disc surgery, and metal implants on the spine. (WebMD)
4. While using a back stretcher machine, it is important to align the spine first. Do not twist the spine while doing traction.
Back Traction FAQ
And now over to you:
What’s your experience with back traction? Share with our community in the comments below.
👉 Check out our new guide – the best gift ideas for people with back/neck pain
To your health and happiness,
The Back Pain Relief Products Team
Apfel et al., Restoration of disk height through non-surgical spinal decompression is associated with
decreased discogenic low back pain: a retrospective cohort study. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2010,
Choi, Jioun et al. “Influences of spinal decompression therapy and general traction therapy on the pain, disability, and straight leg raising of patients with intervertebral disc herniation.” Journal of physical therapy science vol. 27,2 (2015): 481-3. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.481