The 10 Best Back Traction Home Devices
Back traction, also known as 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, you can save a lot of money on a Chiropractor by having your own highly effective and safe spinal decompression device at home.
Here you’ll find the 10 BEST ways to decompress your spine through home back traction devices.
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 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.
👉 In a hurry?
See our comparison table first, below, and keep reading to see our spinal decompression devices reviews:
|Back Traction Device||Type||Treatment Time||Our Rating|
|Teeter Inversion Table||Upside down back stretcher|
Back & Neck Stretcher
|5-20 minutes up to twice a day||✅ $319 at Teeter |
|Chirp Wheel||Lay down back stretcher||5 minutes||✅ $99 for the 3-pack at Chirp|
|Stamina Inline Traction Control System||Standing back and hip traction||5 minutes||✅ Check Price on Amazon |
👉 See Full Review
|Stamina Inline Back Stretching Bench||Stretching Bench|
Back & Neck
|5 minutes per position once a day||✅ $199 at Appliances Connection |
|Sit and Decompress||Back Harness|
Lumbar & Mid Back Stretcher
|3 minutes daily||✅ Check price on Amazon|
|Neoathlet Spine Deck||Orthopedic 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||✅ $187 with code HOLIDAY25 at Posture Pump |
This post contains affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.
- How Does Spinal Decompression Work?
- The 10 Best Back Traction Home Devices
- 1. Inversion Tables – Best for Chronic Back Pain
- 2. Back Roller Wheels – Best for Muscle Stiffness
- 3. Lumbar Traction Devices – Lay Down Decompression
- 4. Spinal Decompression Harness – Best for Sciatica
- 5. Back Decompression Belt – Best for Posture Correction
- 6. Orthopedic Back Stretchers – Best for Mid Back
- 7. The Nubax Trio – Inversion Table Alternative
- What is the Success Rate of Spinal Decompression?
- How Long Should You Do Spinal Decompression?
- Can Back Traction Hurt Your Back?
- How Often Should I use a Back Traction Device?
- Are Back Decompression Devices Safe to Use?
How Does Spinal Decompression Work?
Spine stretchers work by 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 Back Traction at Home?
That being said, back traction can be 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 10 Best Back Traction Home Devices
With so many spinal decompression machines on 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.
If your pain is severe, you may benefit more from a more powerful device, such as an inversion table. Lumbar stretchers are better for a more localized lower back pain.
Here are the best options for decompressing your spine at home:
1. Inversion Tables – Best for Chronic Back Pain
- Treatment time – 5-20 minutes, up to twice a day
- Traction type – inversion
👉 RELATED: See our reviews for the best inversion tables of 2023!
When you do spinal traction with a spinal decompression table, the weight of your upper body, plus gravity, is 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.
We recommend the Teeter Inversion Tables – you can see them on the official site – but don’t miss out on our detailed Teeter Reviews.
👉 For a lower budget, we highly recommend all Innova inversion tables.
How do you decompress your spine without an inversion table? see all the options below!
2. Back Roller Wheels – Best for Muscle Stiffness
- Treatment time – 5 minutes
- Traction type – yoga stretch
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 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
Stamina Inline – Best Back Decompression Bench
Stamina Back Stretch bench with cervical traction – view on Amazon
- Treatment time – 5 minutes per stretch position
- Traction type – back stretching bench
The Stamina Inline lumbar back stretch bench’s 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.
👉 A Lower-Cost Alternative
Have you heard about the Lo Bak Trax? check out this low-cost non-powered orthopedic spine stretcher.
Get Your Free PDF 🎁The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain Relief – at Home!
4. Spinal Decompression Harness – Best for Sciatica
- Treatment time – 3 minutes and 1 more minute every week
- Traction type – stand-up spine stretcher
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 according to customer reviews, many times immediate pain relief is felt after only one treatment.
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 Sit and Decompress Amazon page HERE.
5. Back Decompression Belt – Best for Posture Correction
- 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
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 body weight 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.
6. Orthopedic Back Stretchers – Best for Mid Back
- Treatment time – 5-30 minutes up to twice daily
- Traction type – arched back stretcher
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.
7. The Nubax Trio – Inversion Table Alternative
- Treatment time – 5 minutes up to twice daily
- Traction type – stand-up back stretcher
Through our research, the Nubax Trio portable back traction device is known to be one of the best alternatives 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. 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:
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.
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.
👉 This post is about spinal decompression devices. See the best spine decompression exercises as well!
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. (WebMD)
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
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
Swezey RL, Swezey AM, Warner K. Efficacy of home cervical traction therapy. Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1999 Jan-Feb;78(1):30-2. doi: 10.1097/00002060-199901000-00008. PMID: 9923426.