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Home Traction Unit for neck pain

Neck Traction Devices: The Best Traction Devices to Ease Neck Pain

The Best Neck Traction Devices

Neck pain affects 30%-50% of adults in the United States, which if thought about in depth, is quite a large number! (1). Potentially HALF(?!?!?) of the people that you know may be suffering from some kind of neck pain. Not only is the prevalence of neck pain quite high, but somewhere between 50%-85% of people with neck pain do not achieve full recovery of symptoms (2). These people may go on to experience chronic neck pain that may limit working, sleeping, and daily activities such as lifting. Try to drive, lift, reach, or work at a computer with neck pain, it’s difficult. One of the best ways to help with neck pain at home in the short term is Cervical Traction. Our editors choice model is the ComfortTrac Deluxe Kit.

Cervical Traction Award Winners

The Absolute Best Neck Traction

Everyway4all EverTrac CT800

The Best Overall Traction

ComforTrac Deluxe Cervical Traction Kit

The Least Expensive Cervical Traction

Gideon Cervical Neck Traction Device

The Best Neck Traction in Sitting

What is Cervical Traction

Cervical traction is a light stretching of the neck performed either mechanically or manually by a person. Within the cervical spine there are seven vertebrae that have soft shock absorbing discs separating the bony vertebrae. On the backside of the vertebrae are also small joints called Facet Joints that help load bear and maintain stability of the head and neck. The spinal vertebrae are then surrounded by many layers of muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The primary role of the cervical spine is to protect the spinal cord at all costs.


Cervical traction, whether it be manual or mechanical, may also be warranted to help with Cervical Radiculopathy. Cervical radiculopathy is described as pain and neurological symptoms that extend from the neck into the upper extremities. When a nerve that exits the cervical spine becomes impacted, encroached on, or simply even irritated it may cause pain and symptoms in it’s area of innervation. This means that an injury in the neck may cause pain or symptoms down the arm. When the nerve is irritated, one of the simplest ways to provide relief is to give the nerve more space and reduce the pressure on it. This is achieved from traction.

Anatomy of the Cervical Spine

How Does Cervical Traction Help

Not only does neck traction decrease pain, but cervical traction increases the space between vertebrae, lightly stretches muscles and ligaments, increases movement of cervical joints (3) widens intervertebral foramina or area where the nerve exits (4), may decrease pressure on injured tissue, relaxes muscle guarding and spasm, changes intervertebral disc pressures, and tenses the posterior longitudinal ligament which is the primary posterior support in the spinal canal (5).

Different types of neck pain and potential causes of cervical radiculopathy

* Cervical traction is only part of the treatment! You will likely also need to exercise, stretch, strengthen, and perform a home program in addition to any pain relief achieved through traction.

What are the Side Effects of Cervical Traction

Cervical traction can be dangerous if not used properly. Before using a traction device please contact a health-care professional or physical therapist to properly be screened. Use the device only as intended and specified in the manual. Never modify the units and alert the manufacturers if there are any malfunctions.

When using cervical traction it is always best to start with less weight and pull. Then gradually increase the pressure as tolerated. It is not uncommon for users to use too much pressure initially and induce a negative effect.

Potential Side Effects of Spinal Traction:

  • Muscle soreness immediately or hours after
  • Potential difficulty rotating head
  • Potential increase in symptoms
  • Potential increase in muscle spasms
  • May cause a headache
  • Contact a health-care provider if any symptoms last longer than 72 hours after use or continue to worsen

The Best Cervical Traction Devices

There actually quite a few different options for neck traction. There are handheld devices that you pump up manually, kits that you hang over the door, head hammocks, and the classic lying on your back models.  We reviewed all the different types and listed our favorites in each category.

Best Classic Cervical Traction:

ComforTrac Deluxe Cervical Traction Kit 

Comfort track delux cervical traction device

The ComforTrac Cervical Traction Unit is one of the best overall value traction units. Easy to use, comfortable, and durable in construction. Comes with a push-of-a-button quick release pump, a maximum of 50 pounds of force, and contouring memory foam headrest that cradles the head while independently adjustable neck wedge.The ComforTrac Cervical Traction Unit has an adjustable incline of 10, 15 and 20 degrees to target different areas of the neck. Also comes with a lightweight durable carry-case. The ComforTrac has been rigorously tested  for 15,000 cycles which equals using 3 times daily for 15 years.


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Comfor Trac Traction

The Overall Best Traction:

Everyway4all EverTrac CT800 

Evertrac Cervical Traction for neck painThe EverTrac Cervial Traction Device is the Cadillac unit. If you have neck pain, have determined that traction gives you the best relief to date, then this is your best bet. This device provides you with effective traction with force centered on the back of the head to reduce pressure on the jaw. The EverTrac can give force up to 50 lbs with an easy turn knob. NO PUMPING which is really nice and easy. The only disadvantage is it is a little bulkier than the other options, but is also the highest quality.


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Everyway4all EverTrac CT800

Least Expensive Cervical Traction Options:

Gideon Cervical Neck Traction Device 

The Gideon Cervical traction is one of the best options for Gideon Cervical Spine traction inexpensive pain relief. This type of traction is 3 air filled chambers that you can hand pump to a desired pressure to achieve pain relief. We like it because it’s inexpensive, you can use it anywhere, and is extremely easy to use. If you get good results may indicate you would benefit from other higher end models.



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Best Over the Door Traction:

OTC Over Door Cervical Traction Kit 

The OTC brand over the door cervical traction kit is easy OTC over the door cervical tractionto use and can be the most comfortable traction for people that have difficulty lying down. Used to relieve pressure on muscle, nerve tissue and pain in the cervical spine. The water reservoir can be filled from 2 lbs. to 20 lbs. To note is that this is not the best option for anyone that TMJ dysfunction or jaw problems.



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The Best Head Hammock Traction:

Rush Panda Neck hammock 

The Neck Hammock is a relatively “newerish” type of traction. Really easy to set up and provides light easy traction. The line of pull is adjustable with your body position but it is harder to get more pressure on these. Overall a less expensive option if you are tight on cash.

Works Cited

  1. Carroll LJ, Cassidy JD, Peloso PM, et al. Methods for the best evidence synthesis on neck pain and its associated disorders: the Bone and Joint Decade 2000–2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Spine. 2008;33:S33–S38. [PubMed]
  2. Carroll LJ, Hogg-Johnson S, van der Velde G, et al. Course and prognostic factors for neck pain in the general population: results of the Bone and Joint Decade 2000–2010 Task Force on Neck Pain and Its Associated Disorders. Spine. 2008;33:S75–S82.  [PubMed]
  3. Graham N, Gross A, Goldsmith CH, et al. Mechanical traction for neck pain with or without radiculopathy. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008;3: doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006408.pub2. PubMed –
  4. Borman P, Keskin D, Ekiei B, Bodur H. The efficacy of intermittent cervical traction in patients with chronic neck pain. Clin Rheumatol. 2008;27:1249–1253 doi:10.1007/s10067-008-0895-z. PubMed 
  5. Knight Kl, Draper DO. Spinal traction. Therapeutic Modalities: The Art and Science. 2nd ed. Baltimore, MD: Lippencott Williams & Wilkins; 2013:382–399

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.