The 10 Best Spine Decompression Devices

best home back traction devices

Feeling like you’re in a never-ending battle with back pain?

We know from experience that it can impact your daily life, making it hard to do simple tasks or enjoy the things you love.

However, we’ve got your back (pun intended), and your pocket too, because you’ll be saving a lot of money on chiropractor treatments.

We’ve researched and tested the 10 best spine decompression machines to decompress your spine at home, and we’re here to share our findings with you.

With the right back stretching device, you’ll be on your way to a pain-free life, investing only 5-15 minutes of your time daily.

In a hurry?

See our comparison table first, below, and keep reading to see our spinal decompression devices reviews:

Back Traction DeviceTypeTreatment TimePrice
Teeter Inversion Table
Upside down back stretcher
Best for chronic back pain
5-20 minutes up to twice a day$329 at Teeter
Chirp Wheel
chirp yoga wheel
Lay down back stretcher
Best for flexibility, muscle stiffness
5 minutes$85 for the 3-pack at Chirp
Stamina Inline Traction Control System
Standing back and hip traction
Full back stretch
5 minutes$224 on Amazon
👉 See Full Review
Stamina Inline Back Stretching Bench
Stretching Bench
Back & Neck
Best for herniated/bulging discs
5 minutes per position once a day$175 on Amazon
Sit and Decompress
Back Harness
Best for low back pain, sciatica
3 minutes daily$38 on Amazon
Cozy Life Back Stretcher
arched spine decompression device
Orthopedic arched Back Stretcher
Best for midback, workout recovery
5-20 minutes daily$26 on Amazon
Posture Pump Dual Delux
Lay Down Lumbar Stretcher
Best for disc injuries
3 minutes in 10 second intervals$249 at Posture Pump

This post may contain affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.

How Does a Back Traction Device Work?

A back traction device works by gently stretching the back, 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 spine decompression 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.

The improved circulation has an added, indirect benefit of decreasing chemicals in damaged tissues brought about by inflammation.

Who Can Benefit from a Back Stretching Device? 

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.

In 2023, you can do spinal decompression at home – safely and effectively – for a one-time investment and whenever you need it – to quickly relieve muscle back pain, Sciatica, bulging disc pain, back muscle spasms, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, and degenerative disc disease.

See the amazing success rate of spinal decompression (according to studies).

What Is the Best Type of Spine Decompression?

With so many spinal decompression machines on the market, how can you choose the right one for you without getting a headache?

Well:

The first thing to consider is the type of home 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.

If your pain is severe, you may benefit more from a more powerful device, such as an inversion table.

Lumbar stretchers are better for more localized lower back pain.

Let’s start your journey towards a pain-free, more comfortable, and productive life.

1. Inversion Tables – Best for Chronic Back Pain

spinal decompression inversion table

  • Treatment time – 5-20 minutes, up to twice a day
  • Traction type – inversion
  • Best for – low, mid, and upper back pain

Cost – $120-$490

Inversion tables can be a game changer for chronic back pain sufferers.

When you do spinal decompression by hanging upside down, the weight of your upper body, plus gravity, is used to extend your spine.

When you do that, the space between your vertebrae increases, bulging/herniated discs can heal, and the pain relief you feel is almost immediate.

You strap yourself in and start gradually inverting at a low angle (As low as 30 degrees).

Gradually, you can increase the inverting angle, but many people don’t find it necessary. Even a low angle works.

The result is reduced back pain, improved circulation, increased mobility, muscle tension relief, and posture correction.

We highly recommend not compromising on the quality and safety of the table, because a cheap low-quality one can cause serious injuries.

Top Recommendation – Teeter Inversion Tables

spinal decompressing by hanging

Easily folds for storage – Our Teeter FitSpine Inversion Table

Since inversion tables are not cheap, you’ll want to make sure you are getting your money’s worth.

This means you need a high-quality and durable inversion table that is easy to assemble, with comfortable and safe ankle locks, supports your height and weight, and folds to storage so it won’t take up much space.

Through our research and experience, the Teeter Inversion tables are the most effective and comfortable on the market.

See why in our Teeter Inversion Tables Reviews.

We’ve also researched and found the best cheap inversion tables.

For a lower budget, we recommend all Innova Inversion Tables.

And now:

How do you decompress your spine without an inversion table? keep reading below!

2. Back Roller Wheel – Best for Muscle Stiffness

yoga wheel for back traction

  • Treatment time – 5 minutes
  • Traction type – yoga stretch
  • Best for – muscle stiffness along the spine, pinched nerves, reduced flexibility

Cost – $30-$100

A back roller wheel is a super-smart portable back decompression device that allows you to fully control the strength of your stretch while giving yourself a great, deep-tissue back muscle massage.

It’s like a foam roller on steroids – it will never crumble down under your weight, and it won’t put pressure on your spine because it follows the natural curve of the spine to fit perfectly between the shoulder blades and is padded.

When you roll your back over it – it stretches your back muscles, massages them, and at the same time – provides spine traction.

This takes the pressure off the discs and boosts blood circulation for faster healing.

back roller wheel for back decompression and massage

If your back muscles are tight, stiff, and sore, or you suffer from muscle knots – a back wheel will make you feel like you just had a professional massage (we felt like a weight was immediately lifted off our back, and we got a good back crack from it too).

With time you will increase your flexibility and mobility, and you may even be able to touch your toes again.

Top Recommendation – The Chirp Wheel

back roller wheel back decompression

Our Chirp back wheel

When you pick a back roller wheel, you need to make sure it’s comfortable, sturdy, well made (to support your weight) and doesn’t hurt your back with a too-rigid surface.

Our top pick, the Chirp wheel+, comes in 3 sizes to target both small and large areas and applies pressure only where it’s needed while keeping your spine safe.

The weight limit is 300 lbs., and the small size is great for neck pain relief.

3. Horizotal Lumbar Traction Devices – Best for Low Back Painback decompression bench

 

  • Treatment time – 5 minutes a day
  • Traction type – back stretching bench/horizontal lumbar stretcher
  • Best for – spinal disc injuries, sciatica, degenerative discs

Cost – $169-$250

For people who don’t like the idea of hanging upside down, or doing active stretching with a roller wheel, a horizontal lumbar stretcher bench is the closest thing they’ll find to the traction table at the chiropractor’s clinic.

Just like an inversion table, a back stretching bench is designed to stretch the spine, creating more space between the vertebrae and reducing pressure on the spinal discs and surrounding nerves.

When you lying on the bench, your ankles are secured in padded cuffs and attached to a pulley system, while your body rests on a bench with a padded headrest.

By slowly and gently pulling on the ankles, the traction bench stretches the spine and results in quick pain relief.

With long-term use, it can reduce symptoms of sciatica, spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, and herniated discs.

  Top Recommendation – Stamina Inline Back Stretch Bench

spine decompressio bench

Stamina Inline Bench – view on Amazon

The Stamina bench home traction unit is adjustable (for height 4.9″ to 6.4″), supports up to 250 lbs., is comfortable, cushioned, and easy to use at home – without any assistance.

The head support strap gently holds your head in place and can even get you a nice and gentle neck stretch as well.

The leg area of the Stamina 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.

A Lower-Cost Alternative

Have you heard about the Lo Bak Trax? check out this low-cost non-powered orthopedic spine stretcher.

lay down back stretcher device

Lo Bak Trax – view on Amazon

Get Your Free PDF
The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain Relief – at Home!

4. Spinal Decompression Harness – Best for Sciatica & Pinched Nerves

sit and decompress reviews

  • Treatment time – 3 minutes and 1 more minute every week
  • Traction type – stand-up spine stretcher
  • Best for – busy people with lower back pain

Cost – $40-$70

A spinal decompression harness is one of the easiest and most portable low-back pain relief tools you can find.

While it does require a door, you can take it with you anywhere you go (including your office) – and it won’t take up space in your home or while traveling.

The harness takes advantage of the strong pull of gravity along with your body weight to hold your upper body in place while decompressing your mid and lower back (lumbar spine) – in only 3 minutes daily.

It’s easy to assemble, and when we tried it, we felt huge pain relief right after, and the leg pain from Sciatica disappeared until a week later.

It’s not a cure-all, but being able to sleep without pain from a pinched nerve is nothing to dismiss.

Top Recommendation – Sit and Decompress

spinal decompression harness for pinched nerves

Sit and Decompress – view on Amazon

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).

The more space, the more healing can occur.

This device is very easy to assemble (takes 5 minutes) and use, and according to consumer reviews, it can take a single treatment to get immediate pain relief.

If it doesn’t work for you, the company allows for a 60-day 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 product page on Amazon.  

5. Back Decompression Belt – Best for Posture Correction

 Back Decompression Belt

  • Treatment time – as much as needed for general support or chronic pain, for severe conditions 3-4 times daily for 30 minutes.
  • Traction type – back traction belt
  • Best for – posture problems, L4/L5 disc injuries

Cost – $40-$200

Can a simple lumbar back brace/belt decompress your spine?

As odd as it sounds, the answer is yes.

Some back braces act as decompression belts by adding a hand pump that you use to inflate the belt, which then expands vertically.

When inflated, the back belt lifts your upper body weight off your lower back, which stabilizes and decompresses your lower spine – at the same time.

This reduces the pressure on your lower spine, relieves pain and stiffness, and allows you to move and walk freely.

back decompression belt how does it work

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 even 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.

Top Recommendation – DR-HO’S 2-in-1 Decompression Belt

back decompression belt

Dr. Ho’s Decompression Belt – view on Amazon

We chose the Dr. Ho Decompression belt because it comes in 2 sizes for a perfect fit, the air chambers are supportive and work well, it doesn’t deflate like cheaper brands, and it lays well under the clothing.

The material is comfortable.

However, to get the most out of it, you’ll need to read the instructions carefully and use it correctly.

Don’t overdo it to prevent more harm than good.

6. Orthopedic Back Stretchers – Best for Mid Back

arched back decompression device

  • Treatment time – 5-30 minutes up to twice daily
  • Traction type – arched back stretcher
  • Best for – workout recovery, mid back pain

Cost – $8-$50

For more gentle back traction, we recommend orthopedic back stretchers.

These simple devices, which require no assembly, are used effortlessly while lying down.

They are anatomically shaped to conform to your spine and realign your vertebrae – to help improve your posture and relieve compression in your nerves and discs.

orthopedic back stretcher review

Getting ready for my 10-minute orthopedic back stretcher session treatment

When compression is reduced, healing nutrients and pain-relieving components can flow much better to the area and speed up healing and rehabilitation.

However, you should know that if you have existing pain, using this device will not feel very comfortable.

It looks harmless and small. but even the lowest degree stretches your spine enough to make it feel more painful.

But, if you manage to stay 3-5 minutes on it, you’ll be amazed by the relief it can give you.

Top Recommendation – Cozy Life Back Stretcher

arched back stretcher for back crack

Cozy Life Back Stretcher – view on Amazon

We chose the Cozy Life because it was the only arched back stretcher that allows you to set it to any height, instead of just giving you 3 heights to choose from like most brands.

The acupressure points around the spine area are a great bonus and increase blood circulation as well, and the padding is high quality and comfortable.

See the best spine decompression exercises

7. Nubax Trio – Inversion Table Alternative

  • Treatment time – 5 minutes up to twice daily
  • Traction type – stand-up back stretcher
  • Best for – full back stretch

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. So can the popular Stamina Inline Traction Control System.

Here’s how you are positioned when you’re doing back traction with the Nubax Trio:

stand up back traction device

Nubax Trioview on Amazon

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.

If you have knee aches, the Stamina Inline Traction System gets the same results while standing flat-footed on the ground.

standing back traction

Stamina Inline Traction Control System – no need to kneel – view on Amazon

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.

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 recover 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 Traction 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.

4. While using a back stretcher machine, it is important to align the spine first. Do not twist the spine while doing traction.

How Often Should I Use a Back Traction Device?

According to studies, it is recommended that back traction devices be used from a few minutes to 20 to 30 minutes, once or twice weekly to several times per day.

Overuse or prolonged use of a back traction device can cause discomfort or further injury.

Also, it’s important to allow adequate rest and recovery time between traction sessions to allow the back muscles and joints to recover.

Are Back Decompression Devices Safe to Use?

When used properly, home back traction devices can be safe and effective for relieving back pain. However, as with any medical device, there are potential risks and safety considerations that you should take into account.

For example, inversion tables are not safe for people with certain conditions – see all of them here.

It’s important to follow the instructions provided with the device carefully and not exceed recommended usage times or weight limits.

Using a back traction device too aggressively or for too long may cause discomfort or further injury.

Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the back traction device is appropriate for your specific condition and that you have consulted with a healthcare professional to ensure that using the device is safe for you.

Spinal decompression devices make some of the best gift ideas for people with back/neck pain

To your health and happiness,

The Back Pain Relief Products Team

Studies

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,
11:155

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.

Swezey RL, Swezey AM, Warner K. Efficacy of home cervical traction therapy. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Jan-Feb;78(1):30-2.

Meital James
 

Meital James, Founder and CEO of 4 healthy living blogs, has a background in Naturopathic medicine, research, journalism, and nutrition. Her blogs are the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and experience and all the posts are verified by scientific findings.

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