3 best ways to Do spinal traction at home SAFELY!
Spinal traction is one of the best exercises for relieving neck and back pain that you can do at home and it's highly recommended by physiotherapists and chiropractors. It's very safe and has no side effects whatsoever and it's the most affordable (and effective) neck and back treatment that you are ever going to do.
The concept behind spinal traction is very simple and straight forward. Doing it for 20 mins a day, you will decompress your spine and stretch it out which will result in increasing the gap between each and every vertebrae in your back and neck and that will help to relieve the pressure off of the muscles and nerves surrounding each vertebrae which leads to less discomfort and pain.
Most people who have done spinal traction at home on daily basis for at least 4-6 months have seen amazing results in relieving their neck and back pain and I'm one of those people who wasn't sure about it at first but I gave it a try and became one of their biggest advocates simply because it got rid of my pain.
There are so many different ways to decompress your spine and there are tons of products on the market that claim to relieve your back and neck in short period of time. The truth us that most of these products are not recommended or used by physiotherapists and chiropractors.
For someone who was suffering from back,neck, chest and knee pain for over 3 years and during that time I (like everyone else) tried almost everything under the sun to get rid of my pain but with no luck. Then, I realized that the best way to relieve my pain is to seek a professional help.
After going to the chiropractor for 5 years where I was introduced to spinal and neck traction. I realized that neck and spinal traction was one of the safest and best ways to keep your neck and back healthy without the need for professional help and you can do it at home, and best of all it's very affordable.
Most people who suffer from back and neck don't really know that much about spinal and neck traction and that's understandable since not everyone is able to seek a physio or a chiro help when suffering from chronic pain because it's very expensive.
In this spinal traction at home article, I will show you how you can relieve your pain using neck wedge for only 20mins a day and I will be reviewing the best neck traction wedges and devices, so you will be well informed to make the right choice.
Here is a quick overview:
neck and spine decompression
Doing Spinal traction at home will benefit ALL your body
Despite the fact that all spinal traction devices are referred to as NECK traction devices but in reality they are not only effective at relieving pain in the neck but also in your upper/lower back, hip, knees and beyond. Unfortunately, most people underestimate and neglect the importance of the neck in protecting and keeping our back and joints aligned properly and PAIN-FREE.
Neck is ARC OF LIFE
The neck plays one of the most important roles at preventing the spine/back from misalignment (which leads to a host of ailments) and keeps our nervous system functioning properly. The curve in the neck (cervical curve), which referred to as the ARC OF LIFE is really important at keeping the body functioning properly and any changes that occur to the neck curve can cause havoc in the nervous system, spine and other parts of the body.
The cervical curve (properly aligned neck) plays a vital role at maintaining optimum functionality of your arms, legs and torso because all of the nerves that control these body parts pass through the neck area. Any physiological changes that occur in the neck shape will lead to pinched nerve in the neck and back which results in neck and back pain ( and other parts of the body). Loss of cervical curve stretches the spinal cord up to 7cm and that will lead to so many ailments like:
- Pain in various parts of the body
- Lung disease
- Heart disease
Loss of cervical curve puts unbearable tension and stress on joints and they start to degenerate and wear out faster than normal which leads to degenerative joint disease and other diseases.
As you can see from the image that neck degeneration goes through a few stages till it becomes severe and almost impossible to correct. Stage 1, that's when you have perfect cervical curve. Stage 2, your neck starts to lose the cervical curve and becoming more of a straight line. Stage 3, the neck starts to lean forward slightly. Stage 4, the cervical curve is completely gone and the neck starting to lean forward even more. Stage 5, you will have a reversed C shape and that's the last thing we want to happen.
According to my chiropractor, if you are between the age of 18-45, your neck can be corrected back to normal by doing chiropractic adjustments and neck tractions (neck wedge or device). If you are over the age of 45, then there is a possibility that your neck won't go back to normal but by using chiropractic medicine and neck traction, you can lessen the pain and prevent the neck curve from getting worse.
What to do next?
That's why treating your neck and trying to get that healthy C shaped curve back will be the foundation to less pain and better posture and better health. The best way to approach this is by consulting a physiotherapist or chiropractor, so you know for sure that you are suffering from loss of cervical curve. After that, you know that your neck is not aligned properly, you will be able to use the neck wedge at home to correct the misalignment in the neck (depending on the severity).
There are so many different types of neck wedges and devices which makes it almost impossible to figure out what type of neck traction wedge or device will work best for you. That's why I decided to review only the highly rated and physio/chiro recommended ones and that will give you a better idea of what type of device/wedge you should get.
What to look for when buying spinal/neck traction wedge or device?
It's important to remember that not all wedges and devices work the same way in terms of realigning the cervical curve. Some of them are designed to only stretch the neck to relieve some of the pain and that's it. Others will stretch and realign the cervical curve when used on daily basis for at least 6 months and followed the instructions to the tee.
I'm not going to lie to you and say "within a few days your pain will disappear". Unfortunately, it just doesn't work like that in real life. let's face it, your neck or back didn't miraculously get misaligned overnight, did they? It took years of bad habits and what not before they started to wear out and lose their proper posture. That's why, you need to be very patient and stick to the program for a few months and you will see a positive outcome just like I did.
Spinal/ neck traction wedges and devices reviews
As I said before that there are so many different types of wedges and devices but generally speaking, there are mainly two different types that have been very effective at relieving pain, which are:
1- Neck and back foam wedges
2- Inflatable neck devices
Despite the fact that they are both designed to relieve beck and back pain but at the same time, they are almost completely different in functionality and the way that you supposed use them. Both have advantages and disadvantages and that's why it's important to figure out which one you feel more comfortable using for a few months. Like I said, this is a long term commitment and you need to be 100% sure that will stick to the program to see positive results.
Who should use neck wedges and devices?
The only time that you should use these medical products if you know for sure that you are suffering from misalignment in the spine area. It's intended to be used by people who suffer from pinched nerve, herniated discs and neck cervical spasm.
You must not use them if you have a swollen neck or a serious neck injury that needs immediate medical attention.
How does a neck wedge work?
The way a neck wedge works is by placing your back of your neck on the edge of the wedge while lying down on the floor (flat back) for around 20mins a day. This will help to stretch the vertebrates in the neck and back which will encourage them to realign and relieve the tension around every vertebrae, muscle and nerve.
Realigning the spine will help the nervous system to function properly again and increase the blood and fluid flow to all parts of the body and especially the organs and joints.
It's recommended that you gradually increase the time lying on the wedge by 3-5mins each time you do it till you are able to do it for 20 mins a day.
How does an inflatable device work?
It works by placing the inflatable device around your neck for 30mins for 2-3 times per day and that will help in stretching and relieving the pain in neck and shoulders. You can adjust the level of inflation to the point where you are comfortable with.
Inflatable devices have been proven to :
- Relieve pain in neck, shoulder and spine
- Help realign the neck curve
- Increase blood flow and oxygen to the muscles nerves in neck area
They are a very popular at home remedy and their use is mainly for people who suffer from:
- Herniated discs
- Pinched nerves
- Cervical neck spasm
Best top rated neck and spinal wedges & devices
Pivotal therapy neck wedge has been around for 20 years and it's highly recommended by physiotherapists and chiropractors. The outer layer is made from hard rubber that covers a durable hard foam in the inside. It's reasonably comfortable and expect this unit not to wear out or sag anytime soon (surprisingly very durable).
Using it on a daily basis will help with neck and shoulder pain and tension by realigning the cervical curve. What I like about these guys is that they don't promise any miracles and they clearly state that realigning the neck and back will take considerable amount of time but it will happen if you are committed to using the wedge as directed for a few months.
Pivotal therapy wedge works by placing the base of your skull (upper neck) on the wedge while lying down on the floor. It's recommended that you do it for 20 mins a day. They suggest that you may start off with few minutes a day and build up to 20 mins.
The other important thing that I would like to add is that you should use it on a firm surface (floor or therapy table) instead of using a bed. Lying down on a hard surface has been proven to be more effective at helping your neck and back to slowly regain proper posture by stretching and releasing the tension and stress around each vertebrate, muscle and nerve in neck and back.
Some people might feel numbness at the back of the head when doing neck traction for 20mins. If that's the case, then you can decrease the time down to 15 or 10mins, so you are comfortable enough doing it without feeling any stress on your neck or head.
The best time to use neck wedge is at night before going to bed. Not only helps in relieving discomfort and stiffness in joints, but also helps to release stress and sends the body into relaxation state which will help you sleep easily at night.
I can honestly say that This neck traction device is one of the best neck traction devices if not the best. It's really comfortable and you can literally feel it stretching your neck without feeling any pain or discomfort. Unlike other neck traction devices, it's made from a very durable rubber outer layer and the inner layer is surprisingly very comfortable inflatable soft foam.
It's a strap-on neck device where you can adjust the height (6 levels) and traction power using a hand pump. It takes almost no time to strap on and off and can be adjusted fairly easy and it's suitable for all ages.
Unlike neck wedges, you can wear it without the need to lie down on the floor, which means you can do your regular stuff around the house while wearing it on. It's recommended that you use it for 15-20 mins up to 3 times per day. Apart from constricting your neck from moving, it doesn't cause any discomfort or numbness when used for a long periods of time during the day.
This is another inflatable neck device that is very easy to use and it's made from very comfortable material, lightweight and best of all, it's small enough to fit in your backpack or purse.
You can easily adjust it using the strap-on and air pump for maximum pain relief as well as comfort. They recommend that you use it for 2-3 times per day for 20-30mins for best results. The neck is a very sensitive area and it's highly recommended that you should gradually increase time by 5mins each time till you are able to have it on for the full 20-30 mins.
And always remember that this is a slow process and you have to be very patient, which means that you don't over-inflate the device or over-stretch the neck to speed up the process. It is only going to make it worse and that's the very last thing we want.
The other thing to remember is that these neck devices are not intended for sleeping or lying down as it can lead to serious neck injuries.
Pros of neck wedges/devices
1- Very safe. No surgery or medication is needed.
2- Recommended by chiropractors and physiotherapists. Neck traction exercises are a vital part of the chiropractic treatment regime.
3- Easy to use.
4- Can be used anywhere. You can use it at home and when traveling and can be stored anywhere as it doesn't take that much space.
5- Suitable for all ages. Regardless of your age, gender and size.
6- Proven to work. Thousands of people have seen pain relief when used neck traction.
7- Inexpensive. Fraction of the cost of surgery and medications/supplements.
Cons of neck wedges
1- You won't see positive results in a day or two. Despite that everyone is different, in general, it will take between 2-4 months before you notice a difference.
2- Can feel discomfort and dumbness. Some people will numbness and discomfort at the back of the head when used for the first few times.
3- Takes time to get used to. You really have to be very patient when using neck traction exercises.
If you have tried almost everything out there to get rid if your joint pain and nothing has worked, then I highly recommend that you give neck traction a try, as neck wedges and devices have been designed to restore the natural shape of the neck and spine and they are used in rehab clinics and highly recommended by physical therapists, physiotherapists and chiropractors.