If you’ve ever experienced neck pain, then you know how debilitating it can be. Regrettably, neck issues are increasing with troubling rates nowadays, leading to doctors not being to handle every single patient with the same level of attention. That brought people to self-treatment alternatives and that is how cervical traction devices were born. They are made to relieve the tension which has built up in your neck muscles and nerves by pulling your head away from your neck slightly and slowly. That releases any pinched nerves and tendons. Having the best cervical traction device isn’t enough for the success of your treatment, and that is why we’ve prepared a guide aimed to educate newcomers on how exactly these devices are used and which kind works best for each specific situation.
Since there are literally countless models on today’s market it is important to know which ones work the best for most people. We’ve handpicked the best-reviewed models and given them a brief test drive. We created a top four list of the devices that we think edged their competition. First have a look at the comparison chart between those models:
Top Cervical Traction Devices Comparison Chart
|Product||Type||Ease of Use||Score||Price|
|Comfortrac Home||Air Neck Traction Device||*****||*****||$$$$|
|Pronex Pneumatic||Air Neck Traction Device||*****||****||$$$|
|Hometrac Comfortmax||Posture Pump||****||****||$$|
|Posture Pump 1100||Air Neck Traction Device||****||****||$|
Our Top Models
Comfortrac Home Cervical Traction Unit
This cervical traction device made by Comfortac is perhaps the best value for money model out there. If you can’t afford full scale physical therapy this will give you much needed relief from the comfort of your own home. It is lightweight and highly portable. That, combined with its overall ease of use make it the perfect unit for anyone who is just walking into the cervical traction market. If your pain is chronic we suggest seeking professional help before commencing self-treatment.
Pronex Pneumatic Cervical Traction Device
The Pronex Pneumatic is a super piece of technology which will set you free of any neck pain you have. Pronex offers you a variety of sizes to choose from adding to the overall convenience of this product. It is portable, comfortable enough for most people and super easy to use. In this price bracket, there is little to no competition for it.
Hometrac Comfortmax Cervical Traction Device
Having any of the Hometrac line of cervical traction devices is already a huge benefit for your health. There are multiple pressure settings on this unit. We recommend starting with the lowest pressure and gradually working your way up based on your comfort level. If you do not experience any tension relief, we suggest staying in a certain pressure setting for a longer period of time. This model, like its competition, is really easy to set up and use and has significant success in patients’ treatment.
Posture Pump 1100 Cervical Disc Hydrator Traction Device
As it is with the Hometrac, you need to start slowly here. Some users experience muscle tenderness and soreness after the first few sessions. This is because your body needs to acclimate to this kind of treatment which can sometimes take a few weeks. Once you feel comfortable enough you can start doing longer sessions. This posture pump is very easy to use, comes in a handy package and is reported to be really effective.
Since you are probably here because you want to purchase your first cervical traction device (CTD), it is important to first explain what this is. Basically, the goal of these devices is to provide the opportunity for your muscles and nerves in the neck to be released from the tension upon them. The apparatus places tension on your head and pulls it up and away from your neck. This stretches the muscles and ligaments around your spine, increasing the space between each vertebra.
For a lot of people today, these devices provide quick medication-free neck pain relief. It doesn’t need to be done under a doctor’s supervision, nor you need to buy anything else apart from the device itself. Even so, we recommend consulting with your physician about the therapy.
By now you’re probably wondering why it is such a craze that thousands of people buy these devices each year.
Below you will find some of the benefits of using a CTD.
The Benefits Of Having A Cervical Traction Device
It Is Drug-Free!
One of the biggest benefits of using neck traction devices is that they possess healing capabilities without you having to pop a single painkiller. Those same painkillers are the very reason drug therapies in chronic neck issues are dangerous. The pills are highly addictive and can form dangerous habits as well as being destructive to your liver. Since the CTDs are working in natural ways there are no risks to your body if they are used properly. Speaking of using them properly, make sure that you read the manual that comes with any model you buy. There are detailed step-by-step instructions in every device which shows you the exact way of using it. We suggest you follow those instructions strictly and never improvise no matter how comfortable you feel.
It Does Wonders For The Pain
Perhaps the best reason for buying a cervical traction device is that it actually amazing at getting rid of acute and chronic neck pain. Most users report a relief even within the first week of using their CTD. Not only will your neck heal but you will have increased mobility.
You Can Return To Your Previous Activities
When there is no more pain to hold you back you will be able to get your life in order and enjoy your favorite hobbies once more. If you like running, swimming or even playing tennis you will be more than happy to know that can get back on track in a matter of weeks. The best part is that once your CTD does its job the issue won’t come back if you stop using your device. You will just know to warm up your neck better and find yourself a good quality pillow to keep your back nicely aligned.
Other advantages you will enjoy when using traction regularly are reduced stress in the neck and the lack of recuperative injuries. That will also return your vertebrae nucleus to its original form by mixing and reforming its gel substance in the middle. Another aspect which CPDs have on your spinal discs is that it will rehydrate them and keep your neck active and pain-free.
Let’s talk about the types of cervical traction devices now.
3 Types of Cervical Traction Devices
There are three types of CTDs you can use at home, and each of them has its own pros and cons. These types are:
- Air Neck CTDs
- Over The Door CTDs
- Posture Pumps
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of those.
Air Neck Traction Devices
These CTDs use a form of brace which inflates once your position it around your neck. They are soft with a pillow-like consistency and take the pressure off your neck and shoulders. By being easy to use and with virtually no assembly they are easily people’s favorite type. The best part of these devices is their portability, which means that you can take them anywhere you travel.
The process of using them is simple. You put them around your neck and use the pump to gradually fill them up with air. Do that until you reach a comfortable stretch feeling in your neck. At that point your neck muscles will be relaxed and your spinal discs will be ready to rehydrate. That also takes the pressure off of your nerves and local blood vessels.
Their main disadvantage is that some of the models are not made from quality materials. Some units are reported to leak after several uses so keep that in mind. One more downside is that they can apply a bit of pressure on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) since they inflate around your jaw as well.
Over The Door CTDs
As their name suggests these traction devices must be placed on the back of a door. The whole process can be a little more complicated than with the other kinds as you will need to strap your head to the device, which has to be strapped to the door on its own. It all works by pulling the cord of the device downward. Usually, there is a counterweight for that (bags of water, etc.). You need to sit on a chair next to the door during the whole process which makes the whole thing less convenient for people who travel.
The advantage of these devices is that even though their setup is a little hard, their use is as easy as it gets. You just need a solid door and a newspaper to read while the CTD does its magic.
A downside of this type as we mentioned is that they aren’t as portable as you’d like them to be. You won’t be able to use them while lying down.
It will take some time for you to adjust the right stretch and amidst all that you will be left with a burning feeling in your chin where the strap is going to pull all the time.
This kind of CTD is the most expensive out of them all, but for a good reason. They are lightweight, while at the same time super effective. They are made of durable materials and usually last for years.
These cervical traction devices are the ones that simulate the procedure performed in a specialized clinic the best, which only adds to their already expensive price tag. Either way, if you are looking for quality, it’s here. They also require no assembly and have comfortable pads for your head.
The downside here is that they aren’t as portable as the air traction devices since they are quite large. Furthermore, you have to be lying down in order to use them. As we mentioned they can cost quite a lot if you want to get one of the better models which would still be worth it in our opinion.
Now that we’ve familiarized you with pretty much everything you need to know about these devices, it’s time to dwell a bit on neck pain itself. After all, it is what brought you here, isn’t it?
A Deeper Look Into Neck Pain
What Exactly Is Neck Pain?
Neck pain occurs due to various injuries or factors from your daily life. It ranges from mild discomfort to a severe burning pain. If the pain is sudden and acute it might be associated with muscular rheumatism, facet syndrome or wry neck. If that same pain goes on and on for more than a couple of months, it is declared as chronic.
Women tend to suffer more, but men are often affected by this condition too. It is estimated that roughly 80% of the human population will experience neck pain or issues at some point in their life. This is why cervical traction devices play a crucial role in today’s battle against this condition.
What Causes It?
One of the major reasons behind neck pain is muscle strain. If you overuse your neck muscles on a daily basis, without warming nor stretching them. Muscle strain can also mean maintaining a bad neck position throughout the day. Desk jobs are a prime example of that. This is why every now and then you should get up and stretch out, especially your neck and lower back regions. This type of pain is most often getting worse with any types of movements and more often than never leads to headaches.
Another reason is whiplash. This typically follows a car accident in which your car is hit from behind while being stationary. The head is thrown backward and then forwards which leads to a whiplash-like movement which can even fracture parts of the spine. Usually, it just strains your muscles and damages ligaments and nerves in the neck. People often undergo painkiller therapies for such issues, without knowing that those type of therapies bring no positive results, unlike cervical traction devices.
Degenerative Disc Disease
Some other issues like degenerative disc diseases or a herniated disc can also be the source of chronic neck pain. Those usually occur in older people when the gel between your vertebrae dries out. This causes the distance between the vertebrae to decrease, ultimately leading to them touching and causing pain. Herniated discs, on the other hand, occur when the disc tears and the gelatinous center bulge outwards, thus putting pressure on neighboring nerves and vessels.
Daily stress or worrying can also lead to neck issues, especially if you let it grown for months.
Still, the most common cause of neck pain is the awkward position you might be sleeping in. Very few people sleep properly, as most people sleep on their sides which bends their neck and keeps the muscles active during night time. This prevents the muscles from taking a break during those dark hours.
A rather unusual reason for neck issues is pregnancy. It occurs in most new moms which stay in bed more during their pregnancy.
What Are Its Symptoms?
Knowing your symptoms will help your physician diagnose you better. Here are some of them:
- Muscle Ache
Your neck muscles will be sore and will have hard to the touch places (trigger knots). Pain is usually felt the strongest in the middle of the neck right below the back of your head. It sometimes can be unilateral (just on one of the sides)
- Muscle Spasm
Spasms are sudden, involuntary, and powerful muscle contractions. They are quite painful and when it happens you might not be able to move your neck around.
Stiffness is characterized by your muscles being tight even when you try to relax them. If you stay longer in one position they might get even tighter.
- Nerve Pain
If the pain is associated with your neck nerves it will radiate down your arms and can even reach the legs. It often is accompanied by a sensation of needles tingling your arms. Other symptoms of nerve pain can be numbness, weakness or a burning feeling. This type of pain usually worsens during the night.
Headaches are a common symptom coming with neck pain. They are usually quite dull rather than being sharp and sudden. The place they are most often felt is at the back of the head. That kind of pain can also radiate to the sides of the head and even to your forehead.
- Reduced Range Of Motion
We are talking about a reduced motion range whenever you cannot turn your head to the side fully, or towards any of your shoulders. The same thing is when you cannot bend your head forwards or backward to the full extent. Doctors usually test this, as we cannot get an objective idea of how much we bend our head.
What Can You Do About It?
We aren’t talking about treatment here. Instead, we’re focusing on the prevention.
The number one way to prevent neck issues is to stay as active as possible. Try to keep up with your daily activities even if you are overwhelmingly busy with work.
Whenever training, stretch out your neck by doing the following:
- Look to the right until your chin reaches your shoulder. Repeat for the other side.
- Look all the way up and put a little pressure on your chin to stretch out your frontal muscles.
- Look all the way down and place your hands behind your head pushing it downwards slightly until you feel tension in the muscles behind your head.
- Look to the right and upwards. Repeat for the other side.
After you are done with the stretching make sure you do a little warm up by doing circles with your head. A few to one side and a few to the other should be sufficient. Don’t forget to repeat the same stretching drills after your workout.
Either way, if you experience neck pain don’t panic. In most of the cases it will go away within a week. If it lasts longer check with your GP or a local chiropractor.
How Will The Doctor Diagnose Your Condition?
Usually, a thorough exam by your GP is enough for him to determine whether there is any serious issue. They will test the overall movement of the neck, check if there are any trapped nerves and examine the muscles. If needed they will order an X-Ray of your neck and even blood tests to form an exact diagnosis. Those are not unusual so don’t stress out when the doctor asks for them.
How Is The Condition Treated?
Acute pain at the base of your head goes away on its own. For all those short term issues a chiropractic or basic physiotherapy should suffice. Pain relieving medication will help you pull through the pain itself but we do not recommend it due to its addictive nature.
For pain which lasts longer there are several treatments available:
- Cervical Traction Devices
- Chiropractic treatment
- Intensive muscle training
Some Final Words
Neck Issues can be frustrating especially when the pain simply doesn’t go away. In those cases having the best cervical traction device by your side might be the right choice. Not only will it heal you current neck condition but it will greatly improve other aspects of your life. Either way, we hope our reviews and buying advice have been helpful and you can now make the right choice for your first CTD!