If you sit at a computer all day, your day-to-day posture could be wearing on your neck. In that slumped position over the keyboard, the vertebra in your neck, also known as your cervical spine, falls out of alignment and starts causing pain, pinched nerves, and other more serious problems.
Cervical traction will help elongate your neck and get it back into the right curve, relieving the pain, pressure, and headaches that occur from misalignment.
But how do you know the best cervical traction device for you? You can start with this list of four features to better understand your options, but first let’s go through what to expect from cervical traction.
What does a cervical traction device do?
A cervical traction device gently stretches your neck in a more thorough and targeted way than you can achieve by performing stretches yourself. Cervical traction pinpoints the misalignments in your spine to help relieve tight muscles from holding your head in the wrong position. It can also help relieve pinched nerves that got impinged by the vertebra or tight muscles. You’ll decompress the space between each vertebra and reset your spine to its proper alignment.
You may recognize cervical traction from treatments by a physical therapist, chiropractor, osteopath, or other medical practitioner. They may have performed this exercise manually by gently pulling on your head or using a machine with weights to pull your head up and away from your shoulders.
The best cervical traction device for home use works on your neck like you would in a medical office with a single investment in one device.
What types of cervical traction devices exist?
You will find cervical traction devices that use pumps, braces that hang down from doors, and digital monitors to build traction and gently pull your neck. Any of these devices could be the best cervical traction device for you depending on your budget, needs, and preferences.
What are the four features I should look for in a cervical traction device?
- The best cervical traction device is comfortable and customizable.
The best cervical traction device will fit comfortably on your neck, whether you have a long neck, shorter neck, or problems with the curvature of your spine. You can read reviews to ensure a good fit, or you could buy a device with many ways to adjust the fit.
Some devices will allow you to change the angle, height, and other measures beyond just fitting the collar around your head and neck. These extra ways to make the machine more comfortable might also make it more effective.
- The best device is effective.
Whatever device you purchase, once you adjust the fit, you should be able to adjust the traction slowly and carefully to the level you need. Avoid cheaper devices that do not build enough tension and or do not move gradually enough from the lowest to highest settings. You want to be able to control and optimize how much force you use.
The ability to adjust the force matters for both the effectiveness of the treatment and safety.
- The best device is easy to use.
Devices that you use when you lie on your back will often change the settings through something handheld, like a pump or remote. You will find that the easiest-to-use cervical traction devices use one of these methods.
You can find cheaper models, especially devices that hang over the door, but they will adjust by playing with straps or adding weight. In many cases, you’ll have to stop your traction completely to focus on adjusting the contraption and starting over.
Look for something with enough features to create an excellent experience without overcomplicating the process. During traction, you might want to gradually increase or decrease the level of traction throughout your treatment and only the best cervical traction devices will allow you to do that easily.
- The best device may contain other wellness tools.
Finally, the best cervical traction device might contain other tools. If you suffer from perpetually sore muscles or pain from injury, you may find that a cervical device that also provides heat, electrotherapy, or light massage helps keep your muscles from spasming.
While these added features can be an amazing bonus, be sure that you’re purchasing a cervical traction device that works well for your needs first, and then considering whether these other tools could help.
What are the benefits of the best cervical traction devices?
After using a quality cervical traction device routinely, you should find that you have increased flexibility and mobility in your neck. You might also find that you no longer have bulging or herniated disks and that your blood circulation has improved.
Of course, all of these benefits sound great and seem especially needed if an injury or medical issue prevents you from using your neck. You should always consult with a medical professional that specializes in spinal issues before you start using a cervical traction device. Although the device will provide benefits for most people, there are some situations and injuries in which using such a device could make the condition worse.
Shopping for the Best Cervical Traction Device for You
The best cervical traction device is the one that you’ll use consistently. Make sure you know what you need.
If you need something lightweight to do your exercises in the office, be sure to find something portable. If you tend not to enjoy exercise but love the spa, added features like heat or vibration might keep you coming back to work on your neck. If you’re easily frustrated by complex instructions, find a simple design. And if you love all of those extra buttons, find a device with a remote.
Get Your Cervical Traction Device Today
Now that you know what to look for in the best cervical traction devices, it’s time to find the best one for you. After talking to your doctor about the goals of your treatment, you can find a traction device online. Look for a medical supply company that sells many devices so that you can compare costs and features and find the best fit.