Did you know that 15% of adults in the US experience neck pain that lasts at least one full day? This is indeed true, according to Spine-health.
Neck pain can range from mild to excruciating; your neck might feel stiff or sore, or you may feel a sharp pain in a specific area.
Other symptoms include tingling or numbness, or radiating pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms.
Neck pain should be treated with urgency, and a cervical neck traction device might be a viable solution.
They have become a popular alternative for treating neck pain, and can be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
In this article, we’ll share important details about cervical neck traction devices.
We’ll also review 10 of the best neck traction devices available for purchase, then highlight our Top Pick from the list.
What is a Cervical Traction Device?
These devices differ in appearance, shape, size and weight, but their main goal is to alleviate neck pain, and the associated symptoms.
Cervical traction devices gently stretch the neck and open up the joint to ease the pressure on your muscles.
They ultimately re-establish motion and restores the natural curve of your neck.
Types of Cervical Neck Traction Devices
You’ll find a range of neck traction devices made from cloth, foam, plastic etc. Some common types are:
This is a tiny hammock for your head, with straps attached to each end.
The straps are hooked onto a door or pole, then you’ll lay flat on your back with your head cradled in the hammock.
These come attached with a small pump used to fill the device with air.
You wrap the pillow around your neck then squeeze the pump until it has the desired level of air.
Over the door
These are attached over your door, then you attach straps under your chin and around your head while you sit or stand. These are not portable.
Features of a Good Neck Traction Device
If you’ve never bought one of these before, the options can be overwhelming; where do you even start?
Here are some of the features to look out for when choosing the best device for your needs.
Ease of Use
Some neck traction devices can be used right out of the package while others require the use of tools for setup.
Some items are large and bulky, others small and light.
If it’s only for home use, then a heavy contraption is fine, but if you want something you can travel with, you’ll need a small, portable option.
A warranty is a sign that the company believes in its products.
However, products can malfunction or get damaged during shipping, so find a company that offers buyer protection.
These can range from about $20 to over $400.
Read the product description, checking the size, material and features to see if it’s worth the price.
The 10 Best Neck Traction Devices
Now that we’ve explained the types of neck traction devices and the best features to look for, let’s take a look at 10 of the best options on the market today.
1. The Neck Hammock Portable Cervical Traction Device
This was created by licensed physical therapist, Dr. Steve Sudell Jr. to increase shoulder and neck mobility, oxygenate the surrounding neck muscles and increase blood flow – by stretching and decompressing the spinal cord.
It can also alleviate muscle pain, tension headaches and tension in your shoulders and neck, while improving posture, sleep and aiding with relaxation.
This light, portable hammock has patented straps which can wrap around any pole, railing or door, plus setup is quick and easy.
Buyers have complained that the clasps broke during use, while others found the setup directions unclear.
However, if you want some easy to use, portable and lightweight this is a good option.
Pros: Light and portable, created by a licensed physical therapist, easy setup
Cons: Clasps might break, directions aren’t clear
2. ComfortTrac Deluxe Cervical Home Traction 2.0
This device is larger and heavier than the hammock — weighing 7 pounds.
It is fully adjustable and can be set to a 10, 15 or 20-degree angle.
It was built to relieve herniated discs, cervicalgia and degenerative disc disease.
Furthermore, the company promises immediate relief from spine compression – since it provides cervical decompression.
This device is also comfortable thanks to the contouring memory foam headrest which cradles your head while the adjustable neck wedges custom fits to your neck.
The products are free from defects in materials and workmanship, and there’s a 3- year warranty with purchase.
Some users are unsatisfied with the traction, price and comfort level.
Nonetheless, it comes with a 3- year warranty, and is good for home use; so if you can afford it, go ahead and give this one a try.
Pros: Adjustable, 3-year warranty, promises immediate results
Cons: Expensive, cushion can be uncomfortable, poor traction
3. Cervical Neck Traction Device & Collar Brace
This device relieves neck pain, and stabilize traumatic neck and head injuries.
It also works for neck strains and sprains, spinal cord misalignment, and whiplash and works as a therapy method for back and spinal decompression.
This one is designed for comfort; made from suede it is non-itchy and the Velcro strap is extra-large to fit necks of all sizes.
Additionally, the adjustable collar brace lets you control the air pressure level needed for a comfortable spinal stretch.
This helps with shoulder and back support, while improving your posture.
Despite the ‘one size fits all’ promise, users with large necks found the product too tight.
It also loses air, while others simply found it uncomfortable.
Even so, if you want something cheap and portable, this is the one!
Pros: Cheap, portable, non-itchy
Cons: Not for large necks, does not hold air well, not comfortable
4. OTC Over Door Cervical Traction Kit
This OTC kit helps with muscle spasm, arthritis, disc bulges, herniation, vertebral joint pain, neck pain, nerve tissue and minor fractures of the cervical spine.
The kit comes with a metal spreader bar, metal door bracket, a head halter, door hanger with two pulleys, rope, and a water weight bag.
It has an adjustable option to modify the halter to your head size, and it’s latex-free to avoid skin reactions.
Users have complained about the tightness of the chins straps and the complex setup instructions.
However, it is reasonably priced and is latex-free, so if you have sensitive skin this is a good selection.
Pros: Latex-free, reasonably priced
Cons: Complicated instructions, chin straps are too tight
5. DaviSMART Cervical Neck Traction
Made from 60% polyester and 40% Bamboo this neck traction device is portable, and no assembly is required.
It also doubles as an inflatable travel pillow and comes with a bonus face mask, and access to exercises that target neck pain.
The Davismart Cervical Neck Traction provides 360-degree traction, helping to relieve neck and shoulder pain and correct your posture.
It also helps with spine alignment, arthritis, cervical muscle spasms, and bulging disc.
Furthermore, it encourages relaxation by helping to oxygenate your nerves, tendons and muscles.
For some users the Velcro became loose, and others found that the item fits tight on large necks.
Despite these issues, this one comes at a good price, doesn’t require any assembly and even doubles as a travel pillow.
Plus, there’s the bonus face mask and exercise video.
So if these appeal to you, then give this one a try.
Pros: No assembly required, comes with bonus eye mask and exercise video for neck pain relief, doubles as an inflatable travel pillow
Cons: Not ideal for those with large necks, velcro loosens after a while
6. MakeMate Cervical Neck Traction Device
This Cervical Neck Traction Device is a little pricier than some of the other devices but provides more specialised traction by maintaining a 20-degree upward arc thrust.
Most of the other cheaper traction devices only apply straight traction, while this model focuses on opening up the intervertebral space which helps relieve compression more effectively.
It is also a lot more adjustable than the other devices on this list.
It can treat neck stiffness and shoulder pain, help improve posture and spine alignment and also aid in alleviating the symptoms of cervical spondylosis, and cervical disease.
Additionally, it can reshape spinal curvature, and improve your posture, while it’s V-shaped design makes it more comfortable to wear.
Quite a few users have complained that some of the air leaks after you’ve pumped it up so you have to keep pumping every now again to keep the pressure constant.
Overall, this device is more effective than the soft inflatable traction devices but comes at a higher price.
Pros: Effective, more specialised neck traction arch over cheaper brands
Cons: Some users report that it does not maintain adequate pressure, more costly, not as portable as the soft models
7. Pettibon System Portable Cervical Neck Traction Over Door Device
This over-the-door system is lightweight, portable and easy to setup and use.
It promotes relaxation by oxygenating your nerves, muscles, and tendons and increasing blood circulation.
It relieves nerve pain and takes pressure off your neck by gently stretching your neck – at your own pace.
As your neck stretches, it takes pressure off the spine, allowing the spinal discs to expand.
This is effective in helping pinched nerve pain, and soothes the joints and the muscles in your neck, and upper back.
It’s a ‘one-size-fits-all’ item with a height adjustable option.
Complaints are that the product is uncomfortable, and not as sturdy as advertised.
However this lightweight, portable device is one-size-fits-all so it can be used by other members of your family as well.
Pros: One size fits all, lightweight and portable
Cons: Can be uncomfortable, not as sturdy as advertised
8. REARAND Neck and Shoulder Relaxer Traction Pillow
Touted as fast and convenient this device, doesn’t just relieve pain from pinched nerves, bulging discs and arthritis, but also provides deep relaxation for your sore muscles.
This sturdy yet portable traction device is made from premium quality soft foam which gently wraps around your neck – you’ll feel as if you’re floating on air.
It cradles your head in such a unique way it allows for a soothing and relaxing sensation.
This Rearand pillow can be used while driving, laying in bed or even while watching tv, plus it’s the cheapest option on our list.
Some users found the item too small and not be sturdy enough.
However, if you’re on a tight budget, and need something convenient and portable this is your best bet.
Pros: BPA free, Light, sturdy and portable
Cons: Not very sturdy, too small
9. POSTURE PUMP Neck Pain Relief Cervical DISC HYDRATOR
This Posture Pump item decompresses and hydrates compressed discs, while shaping and restoring proper neck curve.
It will also relieve fatigue, headache and stiffness in your neck and employs Expanding Ellipsoidal Decompression (EED).
This breakthrough technology is only used in official posture pump disc hydrator products because it was invented and patented by Posture Pump.
This high-quality product is handcrafted from durable materials and built to last.
It has an easy-to-use hand pump which allows you control over the amount of air pressure you need.
Previous users found the plastic neck rest uncomfortable, while others weren’t satisfied with the level of traction it provides. It’s also pricey!
That being said, it is a high-quality product that is made from durable materials and employs breakthrough technology, EDD.
So if you need something that’s built to last, this is a good option to consider.
Pros: Durable, handcrafted, contains Expanding Ellipsoidal Decompression (EED)
Cons: Neck rest is uncomfortable, doesn’t provide enough traction, pricey
10. NeckFix Cervical Neck Traction Device
This 3-layer cervical collar allows you to adjust the device ensuring the right traction for your neck.
It is uniquely designed to act as a spine alignment tool, guaranteeing improved posture while healing and preventing neck injury and neck pain.
It comes with a zip-bag, a free trigger point massage ball, e-book, and access to 10 video exercises.
It is also recommended by Chiropractors for headache, stiffness, dizziness and shoulder pain.
If you suffer from back and spinal decompression, this device can act as a form of home therapy.
The item seems to fit very small according to users, plus others complained that the air slowly leaks from the device during use.
However, it is moderately priced, recommended by chiropractors and offers a money back guarantee, so you don’t have much to lose by opting for this one.
Pros: Recommended by chiropractors, free e-book, and massage ball, money-back guarantee
Cons: Air slowly leaks out, fits very small
The Best Cervical Neck Traction Device Recommendation
Doubling as a travel pillow and a neck traction device, this one is our top pick for many reasons.
The Davismart Cervical Neck Traction helps with spine alignment, arthritis, cervical muscle spasms, and bulging disc.
It provides 360° traction to relieve neck and shoulder pain, while correcting your posture.
Furthermore, it encourages relaxation by helping to oxygenate your nerves, tendons and muscles.
It does not require assembly, and is light and portable so you can take it with you anywhere.
The item also comes with a bonus eye mask and you also get access to exercises geared at neck pain relief.
This inflatable, adjustable device is easy-to-use and comfortable– made from 60% polyester and 40% Bamboo.
Plus you get all these great features at a very affordable cost!
Tips, Warnings and Best Practices
When trying out this device for the first time, it’s important to read and follow the instructions carefully.
Misuse of a cervical traction device can cause nausea, headache dizziness and fainting.
Healthline warns that you should stay away from any cervical traction device if you suffer from osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal hyper-mobility or cervical instability.
If you have a bone infection, tumour in your neck or have problems with vertebral or carotid arteries you should not use these devices.
Each item comes with its own instructions regarding period of use, but if you are unsure you should seek guidance from your doctor or physical therapist.
Before we go, we must remind you that while cervical traction devices may have other uses, we are only focusing on its use in helping with neck pain and associated symptoms.
Finally, these things don’t work overnight, but with consistent use, you should start to see results and ultimately be well on your way to a pain-free life.