Updated: September 2018
If you’re dealing with neck pain as the result of an accident or some type of ongoing health issue, don’t feel alone. A 2012 Gallup Poll estimates that a third of US citizens over the age of 50 live with some type of chronic neck or back pain. The results are only a little better for those under the age of 50.
Fortunately, finding the best cervical traction device for your neck pain is not as hard as some may think. By using the right type of neck traction unit (also referred to as a neck stretcher), you can keep the pain to a minimum.
The options below include two professional-grade products, an inflatable traction pillow, and an over-the-door unit. See our Ultimate Guide to Home Cervical Neck Traction for more information on this type of neck pain relief.
The Saunders unit bills itself as the “gold standard” of cervical traction at home and has quite a loyal following. It’s the most well-known medical-grade device for treating cervical pain. Putting on the traction device is not complicated. Many people find that if they lay on the bed, it’s easy to slip it in position with the neck resting directly on the holders. That makes adjusting the head straps a breeze.
Once the device is strapped comfortably, turn the posture pump knob to adjust the amount of tension needed ease the stress on you neck. There are several different tension levels, so it won’t be hard to find the one that provides you with the most relief. Remember to start with a lower amount of tension and see how things go. If it feels good try adding a little more. You don’t want to overdo it, just find the sweet spot that allows you the most benefit.
Another perk of the Saunders Cervical Traction Device is that it doesn’t require two people to put it in place and make the adjustments. That’s not true of all types of traction equipment. The fact that you can take care of the job yourself means that it’s possible to put the device on or take it off whenever you please.
Not every neck pain device can be worn at night. With this model, all you need to do is find the right setting and you may actually have a chance (in a long time) to sleep like a baby. That chronic pain will start to ease in minutes and you’ll feel the discomfort draining out of the neck and your upper back. Combine it with a pillow that offers the ideal support and getting eight hours of uninterrupted sleep is within reach.
The smaller size is another reason to try this design. You’ve probably tried products that included uncomfortable shoulder padding or were so bulky that you looked like a linebacker on a football team. The Saunders device is smaller than many, but don’t let the size fool you. The benefit to your neck is big.
If you’re looking for decompression for your lower back, Saunders also offers an excellent back traction device you can use at home.
The price may seem off putting at first, but remember that you get what you pay for. If it provides relief and promotes healing for you, it’s worth every penny. Please note that the Saunders unit goes in and out of stock on a regular basis. If it’s currently not offered, the ComforTrac unit below is a great option. Many users actually prefer it.
When it comes to home neck pain remedies, the ComforTrac is another great option. The newly introduced version is even better than the original. The main difference is that with the old version, once you pumped it up, you had to twist to secure it. With this model, there is no need to twist.
It’s a small change but a good one. Unlike some of the other models on the market, this one doesn’t require assembly for use. You’re already in pain; why would you want to have to put something together before being able to use it?
Easing the pain does involve enjoying some comfort while getting rid of the stress carried in the neck muscles. This professional grade option for home cervical traction does just that. It’s routinely recommended by Chiropractors and Physical Therapists for severe neck pain.
The Comfortract Home Cervical Traction Unit includes memory foam pads that offer excellent support for your head and neck. No matter what angle you need to adjust to in order to feel better, the foam will adapt to the position.
One standout feature of this device is the quick release. This inflatable neck traction device comes with a hand pump. That make it easy for you to pump a few times, stop and see how it feels, then pump a little more until you find the ideal amount of pressure to ease the tension.
If you happen to go a little overboard, the quick release feature makes it easy to lower the tension level back to something that does make you feel better.
You can adjust the angle up to 20 degrees. That’s plenty to work with any type of condition, whether you have herniated discs, a condition like cervical spondlyosis or recovering from whiplash after a car accident. By using the traction to create more space between the neck vertebrae, the chance to ease inflammation is greatly improved. If you’re suffering with slipped discs that are pressing against the spinal cord, this device will help ease them back into a natural position.
While this device works well for many people, keep in mind that with any option that uses an air bladder, there is a possibility of a leak down the road. Also, both the ComforTrac and the Saunders unit above are not cheap options but typically you will get the best results from them although not everyone will get the results they hope for. Also, be aware that purchasing directly through your chiropractor, physical therapist, or pain specialist, you will often pay two or even three times the price that Amazon.com offers it for.
Since not everyone can afford one of the two devices above or simply want to try a cheaper option first, over-the-door or inflatable devices are the next best thing. While it might feel a bit odd to what looks like quasi hanging yourself from the top of a door frame, the NeckPro II actually works quite well for many people with various types of neck pain.
This simple mechanical device uses a precision-made compression spring as opposed to the more traditional overdoor traction units which utilize a bag a water and a lot of trial and error to be able to determine the optimal amount of traction weight. The ratcheting system is a far better way of increasing/decreasing tension (from 1-20 pounds of tension force).
Easy to install on almost any door up to 1.75″ thick, the NeckPro II is a good alternative if you currently can’t afford either the Saunders or ComforTrac units above. While most users feel that it’s comfortable enough to use daily, some say the device feels like it “squeezes” their head a bit too much where it’s hard to tolerate to get adequate traction therapy.
It doesn’t exactly look like the most appealing or relaxing method to ease the pain but keep in mind you will only need to use it for a few minutes at a time.
This inflatable neck traction pillow is helpful with all sorts of upper body pain, including neck pain. This device is designed for people who may have discomfort as the result of their neck lacking the natural curve, or those who have been injured in some type of accident in years past.
It can help ease the stress on the neck that results from less than ideal posture, and cradles the neck to help take the pressure off the cervical vertebrae.
In many ways, this product provides the advantages of an over door traction device but with a much easier application. By using the pump to inflate the chambers to the ideal level, it’s possible to ease any discs that are out of line back into a natural position and literally stretch (decompress) your cervical spine.
That in turn reduces the discomfort in the upper back as well as the neck. The cushioning provided by the inflated chambers will also help take pressure off any pinched nerves and minimize that numb sensation.
This device will comfortably fit adjust to fit necks between 14 and 18 inches. If your neck happens to be larger, this one likely won’t work for you.