The Top 5 Back Traction Home Devices
Back traction (spinal decompression), also known as non-surgical spinal decompression, is one of the most popular therapies in chiropractors’ and physical therapists’ clinics.
Because it works.
Though back traction 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 5 BEST ways to decompress your spine through home back traction devices.
- 1 What Does Traction (Decompression) Do to Your Back?
- 2 ✅ The Top 5 Back Traction Home Devices (2020)
- 3 Can Back Traction Hurt Your Back?
What Does Traction (Decompression) Do to Your Back?
Spine stretchers work through gently stretching the spine, which immediately changes the force and position of the spine.
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.
✅ The Top 5 Back Traction Home Devices (2020)
Here’s a quick comparison table. Below you’ll find each devices’ pros and cons, and more details to help you decide.
|Innova ITX9600A Inversion Table||Inversion table||4.8|
|The Spinal Stretch||Lay down|
|Nubax Trio||Powerful lumbar |
|Sit and Decompress||Harness||4.6|
|ChiSoft ArchedBack Stretcher||Arched back |
|Lo Bak Trax||Non powered|
With so many back traction devices 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 the 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 ones:
1. Hanging Upside Down Back Traction (Inversion Tables)
When you do back traction with an inversion 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 boost the spinal 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.
👉 Make sure to see the Top 4 inversion tables in 2020 – reviewed and compared.
We recommend the Teeter Hang Ups inversion tables (check out today’s price on Amazon). They are the most popular ones – and for good reasons.
For a lower budget, we highly recommend all Innova inversion tables.
2. The Spinal Stretch – Best Lumbar Traction Machine
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
3. The Nubax Trio (Best Alternative for Inversion Tables)
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.
👉 Here’s our detailed Nubax Trio review for the Nubax Trio and comparison with inversion therapy.
4. Spinal Decompression Harness – Best for Sciatica
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 what we found here, many users have reported immediate relief after only 1 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. Non-Powered Orthopedic Back Stretchers
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.
When compression is reduced, healing nutrients and pain-relieving components can flow much better to the area and speed up healing and rehabilitation.
👉We’ve researched and found the 5 BEST orthopedic back stretchers
All you have to do now is choose one of the 3 options here, according to your special requirements, needs, and budget.
Can Back Traction Hurt Your Back?
Does back traction have any side effects?
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. (source)
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