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The 8 Best Back Traction Home Devices (2020)

Back traction (spinal decompression), also known as non-surgical spinal decompression, is one of the most popular therapies in chiropractors’ and physical therapists’ clinics.

Why?

Because it works.

back traction home devices back decompression machines

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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.

In 2020, you can do back traction at home – safely and effectively – for a fraction of the cost and whenever you need it – to quickly relieve muscle back pain, Sciatica, bulging disc pain, pinched nerves, and degenerative disc disease.

Here you’ll find the 8 BEST ways to decompress your spine through home back traction devices.

👉 In a hurry?

See our comparison table first, below:

 TypeOur Rating
🥇Innova ITX96000
Inversion Table

Inversion table
(Hang upside down)
4.8
(Amazon
Best Seller)
The Spinal Stretch
Lay down
(Lumbar Stretcher)
4.7
Stamina Inline
Back Stretching
Bench

Lay Down
(Back & Neck
Stretcher)
4.7
Dr. Ho's
Decompression
Belt

Inflatable
Decompression
Belt
4.8
Nubax Trio
Powerful lumbar
stretcher
(Kneeling)
4.7
Sit
and Decompress

Harness4.6
ChiSoft Arched
Back Stretcher

Arched back
stretcher
4.7
Lo Bak Trax
Non powered
Orthopedic
back traction
4.7

The Top 8 Back Traction Home Devices (2020)

With so many back traction devices in 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 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 Decompression (Inversion Tables)

innova itx9600 inversion table

Innova ITX9600 inversion table – best seller on Amazon – check today’s price

When you do spinal traction with an anti-gravity 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 (reviews) in 2020!

We recommend the Teeter HangUps – see them on Amazon or see our detailed Teeter reviews. For a lower budget, we highly recommend all Innova inversion tables.

2.  Lumbar Traction Devices (Lay Down Decompression)

Teeter Spinal Stretch

Spinal Stretch lumbar traction device check today’s price

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)
Lo Bak Trax reviews 2019

Lo Bak Trax – check it out here!

Stamina Inline Back Stretch Bench

stamina inline back stretching bench

Stamina Back & Neck Decompression Bench – check today’s price on Amazon

The Stamina Inline lumbar back stretch bench new 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.

Check today’s price on Amazon

3. The Nubax Trio –  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:

Nubax Trio

Nubax Triocheck today’s price

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.

4. Spinal Decompression Harness – Best for Sciatica

spinal decompression harness

Sit and Decompress –  helpful for Sciatica – see 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 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.

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

chisoft back stretcher

Chisoft orthopedic back traction devicesee on Amazon

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

Pro Tip

Try using a back brace after spinal traction. You may find it helps to prolong the elongation of the spine and pain relief.

All you have to do now is choose one of the 3 options here, according to your special requirements, needs, and budget.

For a more powerful stretch and massage – see how to use a yoga wheel and the best yoga back wheel for back pain relief👌

6. Back Decompression Belt – Lumbar Traction & Posture Corrector

dr. ho's decompression belt

Dr. Ho’s decompression belt – lumbar traction & posture correcting in 1 device – check price on the official site

Can a simple 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 both stabilizes and decompresses your lower spine – at the same time.

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 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.

inflatable back brace

Check today’s price on the official site (where you’ll get a 1-year warranty for all parts)

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 result:

The pressure is 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
  • Sciatica
  • Muscle spasms
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD)
  • Worn spinal joints and Injured or diseased spinal nerve roots.

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

What is back traction?
Spinal back traction is a form of decompression therapy that relieves pressure off the spinal discs and surrounding muscles. It can be performed manually or mechanically.
What does spine decompression do to your back?
Spine decompression creates space between the vertebrae by gently stretching the spine and takes the pressure off the spinal discs, muscles, and nerves. 
Is back traction good for back pain?
Once the spine is decompressed, back muscles fully relax, and pressure is off the spinal discs, which often leads to immediate pain relief. 

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

References

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. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.481

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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