Neck pain is no fun. Actually, it’s downright awful.
I was in a car accident about a year ago. Luckily, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. But I did suffer a few injuries, and my neck has never been the same.
I've been to several doctors over the years, trying to find a solution for my discomfort, but the general consensus is that there’s nothing I can do without major (and dangerous) surgery.
I couldn’t accept that. I’m too young to feel so awful every day. Just when I thought I was out of options, my friend told me about something called a neck traction device.
I had never heard of such a thing before, but I wondered if it could be the solution I was waiting for.
So I set out to learn all about neck traction. I was impressed with what I found. Keep reading to discover how a neck stretcher can change your life by helping you manage pain without surgery or drugs.
By the end of this review, you should know which cervical traction device is right for your specific situation.
1. Instapark Cervical Neck Traction Device Inflatable Pillow
I experienced almost immediate neck tension relief with this product.
There was no assembly required, and it included a guide to show me exactly how to use it.
It alleviated pressure on my nerves and provided the support I needed to feel better.
2. OTC Over Door Cervical Traction Kit
Here is an over the door model that's really easy to use. It includes everything that you need and sets up in just a minute.
I'll admit I looked pretty funny while using it, but it definitely worked.
3. NeckPro II Cervical Traction Device
I recommended this neck stretcher to a friend who hurt his back several years ago. He routinely visits the chiropractor and takes over-the-counter medication on a regular basis.
But he said that just a week using this device made such a difference that he thinks he can stop his chiropractor visits within the next couple of months.
4. Easyneck Cervical Neck Traction Device
Here is another neck traction pillow model that you can use up to three times a day.
It can finally bring relief from stress and pressure associated with neck pain and shoulder pain.
I sometimes get migraines, and whenever I feel one coming on I reach for this pillow. After about 20 minutes, my migraine disappears.
5. Gideon Cervical Neck Traction Device
This neck stretcher is incredibly comfortable and helps to increase blood circulation to your spine.
This in turn helps to oxygenate muscles, nerves, and tendons to alleviate pain while promoting relaxation.
The hand pump is easy to use, and it doesn't take long to start feeling relief.
6. EverRelief Inflatable Cervical Neck Traction Device
This was one of my favorite neck devices to use. It's made from soft velvet and inflated in less than a couple of minutes.
The company offers a 100% guarantee, but I'm sure that you won't need to use it because of how effective this device is.
7. Drive Medical Over Door Traction Set
This over the door model is affordable and easy to operate. The heavy-duty head halter comes with a metal support system and self-attaching closures.
It's machine washable and one size fits all. The included instructions do not include assembly directions, but if you've used one of these before you shouldn't have a problem putting it together. If you haven't, a quick internet search will have you up and running in no time.
8. Comfortrac Cervical Traction Unit
This model is a little bit unique but incredibly effective and comfortable. It features a contouring memory foam headrest and independently adjustable neck wedges.
The angled incline is also adjustable. You'll see models like this at a physical therapy office. I've used one before at my physical therapist’s, and this home model is just as comfortable and effective.
9. Duro-Med Cervical Traction Device
Here's another over the door design that's ideal for physical therapy exercises, neck pain, arthritis, disc bulges, herniations, and more.
It's easy to install and requires no tools. The vinyl weight bag will hold up to 20 pounds, and the head halter is foam padded for comfort.
10. Ohuhu Neck Cervical Traction Collar Device
This stylish neck pillow model is made from soft flannel. It takes little strength to pump it up and adjust as needed.
Simply place it around your neck and adjust the circle to the appropriate size. Just like with most pillow devices, I felt almost immediate relief when trying this one. I was also having some numbness in my arm, and I could feel it dissipate as I added pressure to the pillow.
11. CHISOFT Cervical Air Neck Traction Device 4-Layers
This pillow features an extra layer which can really make a difference. I bought the Chisoft neck traction pillow for my dad, who visits the chiropractor almost weekly
He's been using this pillow with extraordinary results when he struggles to make it through the pain until his next appointment.
What Are Orthopedic Braces and Supports?
It’s no secret that the spine is a delicate part of the human body.
Orthopedic braces and supports are meant to work just as their name suggests. They support the spine and take some of the pressure off the vertebrae, ligaments, and muscles.
The problem with these products is that if an injury of any type is present, they will do nothing to heal it. Instead, they’ll help to mask the issues.
This is why a neck traction device can be so beneficial. It can help to alleviate pressure around injuries and help the body heal in a natural and effective manner.
How Does a Neck Traction Device Relieve Neck Pain?
Neck traction allows your neck muscles and any pinched nerves to be released and relax on their own. When tension is placed on your head in order to pull it safely up and away from your neck, the muscles and ligaments surrounding your spine are stretched.
This expands the space between your vertebrae and can provide fast neck pain relief, all without medication.
Does Cervical Traction Work to Recreate Neck Curve?
Manipulating the curve of the spine and neck takes time and a carefully planned treatment plan. Cervical traction will help to loosen pressure in the neck caused by compressed discs. This allows better signaling of the nerves.
But the relief is very rarely permanent. Once the traction device is removed, certain symptoms can reappear quickly, including hand numbness, pins and needles, and other nerve issues. Although cervical traction alone won’t change your posture overnight, it can be a critical tool for the process.
What Exercises/Workouts Are Good for Neck Pain?
There are a few exercise you can build into your workout routine to help with neck pain. You might feel that working out is a bad idea because of your chronic pain, but even the slightest effort put towards strengthening your neck can have huge results.
Consider any of the following generic exercises to help alleviate your neck pain.
Neck stretches can be done while watching television or sitting at your desk. Here’s one of my favorites:
Start by lengthening your muscles by raising an elbow above the shoulder on the same side. Then rest your elbow against a door jamb.
This will help to rotate the shoulder blade, lengthening the muscles even more.
Then turn your head away from the side you’re stretching. Bring your chin down and feel the stretch in the back of your neck.
Take your fingers and place them on top of your head and gently pull forward to increase the stretch. Hold this position for about 30 seconds.
Strengthening is incredibly important. If you don't make the muscles any stronger, you’ll most likely never experience permanent relief. Here’s an exercise that you can do at any fitness level:
Begin standing, with your spine up against a door jamb. Keep your feet about three inches from the bottom. Keeping your spine straight, pull your upper back and head back until your head touches the door.
Make sure that your chin is down during this so that your head is pulled straight back. Hold it there for five seconds and repeat the movement ten times.
Once you have a good feel for the exercise, you can do it without standing. You can also do this exercise several times a day, so don’t be shy. It’s made a huge difference in my neck strength.
Did you know that basic aerobic exercises can help your neck? This type of high-intensity workout increases blood flow to the soft tissues and muscles of the upper back and neck.
This can help to loosen stiff and sore muscles and give you an increased range of motion.
Exercising also releases endorphins, which are Mother Nature’s natural painkillers.
Consider running on a treadmill or getting in some time on a stationary bike or an elliptical machine. Your neck and back will benefit from any type of aerobic exercise.
How to Use a Neck Traction Device at Home
The answer to this question will vary, based on the type of device you choose. But here’s how to use a basic inflatable device for neck traction phyiscal therapy, one of the more popular types.
Simply place the device around your neck and inflate it with air using the included hand pump. As the device fills up with air, you’ll feel your neck and muscles being stretched, which should take the strain and pressure off.
With the weight of your head being supported, tight and stiff muscles can begin to relax.
If you continue to inflate the device, pressure should be alleviated from discs, joints, nerves, and blood vessels. This increases blood flow and decreases swelling and irritation.
Keep your initial sessions short, or under five minutes. As you progress with your device, you can go for longer stretches.
Let your body guide you. You can overstretch your muscles, so don't make the mistake of thinking that longer use will result in less pain.
How Can I Tell if Neck Traction Is Working?
Your pain will disappear! Maybe not right away, but for most people, they begin to feel better within 24 hours. I felt better almost immediately after my first traction session.
But even if you don’t feel results right away, don't give up just yet. Continue using your traction device for a few weeks. Stop if the pain gets worse, but give your muscles enough time to benefit from the device before giving up.
How Effective Is Using a Neck Traction Device?
Everyone reacts to a cervical traction device differently. Your device is ultimately what will determine your success. Make sure that you’re using a quality device and that you are following the directions correctly.
If you have a well-built machine and feel that you’re following protocol but still aren’t experiencing your desired results, schedule a consultation with a doctor to re-evaluate your injuries.
Choosing the Right Neck Traction Device for You
There are several types of neck traction devices on the market. You might be a little confused as to which works best. Here are the basics of the type three types to help you narrow down your options.
Inflatable Neck Traction Device
This type of device is one of the most popular. You place the device around your neck like a collar. It is then inflated, which stretches the device and your neck.
These are easy enough for just about anyone to use. They’re also affordable.
Some complain that the pressure isn’t high enough with this type of neck traction device. That’s why it’s critical to research these devices to make sure you’re getting a quality brand.
If you like this type of device, you can also try a neck traction towel.
Over the Door Neck Traction Device
These types of devices look a little barbaric at first, but they’re very effective. To use one, you’ll need to hang it from the back of a door and then position yourself so you can place your head and chin into the bottom of the device.
You can then sit and read or watch television while the stretching takes place.
The biggest problem with these devices is that they aren't very portable. If you’re on the move a lot, this could be a disadvantage.
Posture Pump Neck Traction Device
This option is usually the most expensive, but you’ll find these devices very well built and powerful. They mimic cervical traction done in clinics.
In other words, it’s the closest thing to a doctor’s treatment you’ll get at home.
All you need to do is lie down, adjust the knobs, and place the straps on your forehead. Air is then slowly pumped into the unit to create the necessary tension. It’s relaxing and beneficial.
What Are the Health Benefits of Using a Neck Traction Device?
Besides pain relief, there are plenty of health benefits associated with using a cervical traction device. Take a look at how such a device can have a positive impact on several areas of your life.
- Reduce stress and tension
- Promote pain relief and relaxation
- Fight gravity’s effects on the spine
- Avoid costly pain medication
- Enjoy regular sleep again with less pain
- Enjoy higher range of motion and neck mobility
- Prevent or postpone surgical interventions for neck problems
Can You Use a Neck Traction Device While Lifting Weights?
If you’re just beginning to use a neck traction device, don’t overdo other physical activities. Instead, read a book or watch some television. Take the pressure off your neck and muscles (literally) and allow healing to take place.
Focus on lifting weights and strengthening your muscles when you aren’t using your traction device. You can lift weights while using a posture corrector, though. This might be a better option.
Are There Any Possible Side Effects of Using a Neck Traction Device?
Just like any medically based treatment, there are risks of cervical traction side effects. If you notice that your pain is getting worse instead of better, or if you begin to develop new symptoms of numbness or tingling, stop using your neck traction device and schedule an appointment to be evaluated as soon as possible.
But as long as you follow the instructions included with your neck traction device, your risk for serious injury or side effects is very low.
If you’ve been suffering neck pain for far too long (let’s be honest, even one day is too long!), then it’s time to consider a neck traction device. You’ll be relieving pain without the dangerous side effects of pain medication, and life will slowly get back to normal.
It’s not an overnight cure, but it is a positive step to take for your health and comfort. Don’t waste your time waiting for a miracle. Start neck traction as soon as possible. You really can be pain free again!