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Neck Traction at Home: The 6 Best Neck Stretchers (2020)

Neck traction, also known as cervical traction, is a popular neck stretching method to relieve neck pain for anyone suffering from neck arthritis, herniated/bulging disc in the neck, neck strains, and cervical muscle spasms.

How can you stretch your neck at home and what are the best neck traction devices (neck stretchers) – in 2020?

The answers are right here.

neck traction devices neck stretchers reviews

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You can stretch and decompress your cervical spine effectively and safely at home – as long as you learn how to do it and which neck stretcher is best for you.

In this post, you’ll find how to stretch and decompress your neck and the top neck stretchers (cervical tractors) – in 2020.

The Best Ways to Do Neck Traction at Home & Top Neck Stretchers

You can basically choose from 4 types of neck traction home units. They can get you about the same results but they are somewhat different.

If you’re in a hurry, here are our top recommended neck stretcher devices for 2020:

 Device TypeOur RatingPrice
ComforTrac
cervical traction

Posture Pump
(Lay Down)
🥇4.8 stars
Jump to pros & cons
Check today's price
Saunders
Posture Pump
(Lay Down)
4.8 stars
(See our
Saunders
Review
)
Check today's price
Carex
Over Door
(Standing)
4.6 stars
Jump to pros & cons
Check today's price
Forent Inflatable
Neck Brace

Inflatable
Neck Brace
(Sit/Stand)
4.7 stars
Jump to pros & cons
Check today's price
The Neck Hammock
Neck Sling
(Lay Down)
4.7 stars
Jump to pros & cons
Check today's price
The Cervical
Posture Pump

Posture Pump
(Lay Down)
4.7 stars
(See our
Posture Pump
Review
)
Check today's price

And here’s a detailed explanation about each device:

1. Inflatable Neck Traction (Air Traction) Devices

forent inflatable neck traction brace

Forent Inflatable Neck Traction Collar – best value – see on Amazon

Air neck traction devices (inflatable cervical collars) are basically inflated neck braces. You secure them around your neck (great for neck posture as well) and use the pump to inflate them.

As the pillow gets filled with air, it straightens takes the weight off your neck and pushes down your shoulders.

You use the pump to gradually raise the level of air to a comfortable stretch.

Your muscles relax and your discs are aligned and ready for re-hydration. You are also taking the pressure off your nerves and blood vessels of course.

Here’s how to use an inflatable neck traction collar:

how to use an inflatable neck traction brace

Air Neck Traction Pros

  • Air neck traction devices are easy to use, require no assembly, and are completely portable. You can easily take them anywhere and use them at the office or while traveling. You can use them while sitting or lying down, any way you’d like.
  • They are portable units.

Cons

  • Not all air neck traction devices are made of high-quality materials. One unit I had started leaking after I’ve used it for only 6 times, so you really have to know which one is the best (see below).
  • They can apply a bit too much pressure on your TMJ since the pillow inflates around the jaw as well.

Since I want to prevent you from wasting your money, here is the highest quality air neck traction device (through my research).

The Forent inflatable neck traction device helps align your cervical spine, correct your posture and stretch your spine and neck muscles, which alleviates neck muscle pain and helps heal bulging discs, pinched nerves, neck arthritis, and degenerative discs.

We also like the unique safety feature which allows you to quickly deflate the device if you accidentally inflate it too much.

The Best Exercises for Neck & Shoulder Pain
Take this short course and learn how easy it is for you to fix your neck pain with simple daily stretches and exercises.

Learn how to transform your pain to free movement with this top selling course on Udemy.

2. Over the Door Neck Traction Kits

carex over door neck traction device

Carex Over Door Cervical Traction – check today’s price

Over-the-door neck traction devices require, as hinted in the name, a door.  They require some assembly because you have to place them over the back of a door.

The neck puller device requires you to place straps around the back of your head and your chin (see the picture above).

You tighten the strap to stretch your neck by using either a water bag or by pulling down a cord.

Over the Door Neck Traction Pros

  • An over-the-door device if fairly easy to use once you’ve placed correctly and made sure the door is solid. You can then sit comfortably on a chair and read something while traction works its magic.

Cons

  • Over-the-door devices are less portable than air neck devices. You’ll need a solid door and a chair to use it and you can’t lie down and relax.
  • It can take some time to find the right stretch and your chin may take the brunt of the traction force.
  • But, it still gives you the same benefits and if you use it correctly it can bring you much neck pain relief.

✅ The BEST Over the Door Traction Device 

Our highest recommendation goes to:

Carex  Over the Door Neck Traction Kit

Made with a sturdy metal bracket, the Carex neck overdoor neck traction kit is easy to use and the calibrated weight bag allows you to vary the pressure on your neck (2-20 pounds) for quick and effective neck pain relief, and the adjustable head fits most people.

The Carex is a cost-effective cervical traction unit and comes with everything you need, though the company recommends you check with your physician for the amount of counterweight and usage time for your specific needs.

3. The Neck Hammock (Neck Traction Sling)

the original neck hammock

The original neck hammock – see on Amazon

Neck Hammocks are gaining popularity in recent years, probably because it’s really simple to use, it works, and is relatively low cost.

The neck hammock creates neck traction by pulling your head away from your shoulders. This makes your neck muscles relax and relieves the pressure off them effectively.

It also slightly expands the space around your neck vertebrae, which allows for more blood flow (and oxygen!) to the area – bringing pain-relieving and healing components – faster and better.

Through our research, this simple neck traction device works well for cervical pinched nerves.

DIY Neck Hammock

A lot of people have asked us whether it’s possible to make your own neck hammock.

The answer is yes. All you’ll need is a good towel and a rope.

But we want to warn you: You have to do this the right way, since any “malfunction” may cause you to bang your head on the floor. We recommend buying a professional neck hammock and to not take a chance.

Instructions:

  1. Fold your towel three times to narrow the length and width and to create a base for your head.
  2. Create two holes on each side of the towel to create a loop, and slide the rope between the two holes.
  3. Your neck hammock is ready. Now you need to find a sturdy base to tie the rope to, like a doorknob.
  4. Once you’re done, just rest your head on the hammock.

Here’s a video with a good demonstration:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqaW_Nf8-TU

4. Neck Posture Pumps (Disc Hydrators)

comfotrac cervical traction

🥇ComforTrac Cervical Traction Unitcheck today’s price

Posture pumps are usually a bit pricier than the above two, but they can be worth every cent when it comes to neck pain healing.

Posture pump units are well-built and are heavy-duty pieces of quality durable medical equipment.

Through my research I’ve found that they simulate cervical traction performed in a clinic, and are nearly identical as far as the quality of treatment goes.
  • Posture pumps are larger, provide stronger traction, and are made with durable material. They are light and portable and come in a handy carrying case.
  • They require no assembly and have a softer, more comfortable head pad and straps.

You simply lie down, adjust the little knob/posts that secure the base of your skull, and place the strap on your forehead. Then you just pump up the pressure and tighten.

Posture Pump Pros

  • Posture pumps are usually sturdier, made with more durable materials, and work with no problems for years.
  • They don’t use pillows that can leak air and they don’t need a door to support them.
  • They all have a handy carrying bag that protects them if you want to take them with you anywhere.
  • They don’t put pressure on your jaw or anywhere other than where it should be.
  • Portable and fit for travel

Cons

  • These units are less portable than the air neck traction devices, and they take up a bit more room. You can only use them lying down.
  • The price is higher, but in my opinion – well worth it. Especially if you consider the money you are saving on dozens of chiropractor treatments.

✅ The BEST Posture Pump 

Here are our two most recommended posture pumps for 2020:

1. ComfortTrac Cervical Traction

comfortrac home cervical traction unit review

The ComforTrac posture pump is a durable and sturdy neck traction device, easy to use and comfortable, and many users report immediate results after using it.

👉 See our detailed Comfortrac Cervical Traction Review

Posture Pump Alternative

If you’re not sure about posture pumps, consider using an inversion table. See our full comparison between the posture pump and the inversion table, to decide what’s best for your needs.

2. Saunders Cervical Traction Home Unit

saunders home cervical traction

👉 See our full review for the Saunders Cervical Traction.

We also recommend…The Cervical Posture Pump

cervical posture pump

👉See the detailed review for the Cervical Posture Pump

What is Cervical Traction and How Does it Work?

In traction, the goal is to provide the opportunity for your neck muscles and pinched nerves to be released.

Tension is placed on the head to pull it up and away from the neck, stretching the muscles and ligaments around the vertebrae of the spine and expanding the space between the vertebrae.

For many people, neck traction equipment provides fast neck pain relief – without medication – and faster recovery from neck injuries, including:

  • Cervical herniated and bulging disc
  • Pinched nerve
  • Neck stiffness
  • Neck muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Cervical spine arthritis
Home neck traction units (and cervical pillows) gently stretch the spinal vertebrae and muscles. This immediately relieves the pressure on the discs and the nerves.

Now everything is in place and the awful pain and stiffness can be dramatically reduced. And all of this is done without medication and unnecessary surgeries.

📢 Are these claims backed by science?

This 2017 meta-analysis of studies found that mechanical cervical traction significantly reduced neck pain – immediately after treatment and in the follow-up period.

Cervical Traction Risks

Generally, it’s safe to perform cervical traction, but remember that results are different for everyone. The treatment should be totally pain-free.

But:

If you’ve already had neck surgery, it’s not recommended to do neck traction at home.

Do not overdo traction, because it can cause more harm than good and overstretch your neck.

We recommend to follow instructions carefully and ask your doctor for treatment time and frequency per day.

Possible side effects of neck traction are:

A headache, dizziness, and nausea.

If you feel any of these, stop treatment immediately.

Consult with your doctor before you start treatment if you have:

  • Recent injury in the neck area
  • A bone infection
  • A known cervical tumor
  • Osteoporosis/rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cervical instability
  • Spinal hypermobility

How to Do Neck Traction at NIGHT

If your neck pain is mostly caused by your sleeping position and comes usually at night or in the morning, a neck traction pillow can be your lifesaver.

👉 See our post about how to choose the best pillow for neck pain.

Neck Traction FAQ

What is neck traction?
Cervical traction devices lightly stretch the neck to reduce pressure on the spine by pulling or separating the vertebrae.
Who can benefit from neck traction?
Anyone suffering from the following neck issues: neck muscle pain, neck-related headaches, cervical muscle spasms, neck arthritis, herniated/bulging disc, and neck strains. 
Can you do neck traction at home?
Yes. There are several neck stretching devices you can use at home, including inflatable cervical collars, over the door traction, neck traction slings, and other cervical traction home units. Consult with your doctor before starting.

What do you think about neck traction? have you ever tried it to relieve neck pain? Share your experience (or ask any question) – in the comments below.

To your health and happiness,

The Back Pain Relief Products Team

References

Intermittent Cervical Traction for Treating Neck Pain: A Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials, SPINE. 42(13):959–965, JULY 1ST, 2017, doi: 10.1097/BRS.0000000000001948

International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training, v. 22, issue 5, p. 4-11

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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