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Buying guide for best neck traction devices

Neck pain can make even your day-to-day activities uncomfortable, and it isn’t always easy to resolve. There are many possible causes of neck pain, including arthritis, herniated discs, or injuries to the neck. The exact treatment will depend on the cause of your neck pain, but in many cases, your doctor or physical therapist may recommend a neck traction device.

These devices gently stretch your muscles and decompress your spine to help reduce neck pain over time. Some may produce results right away, while others take more time. It all depends on the product you choose and the nature of your neck pain.

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Think about whether you prefer to use your neck traction device while lying down or sitting up, and choose one that suits your preferences.

Key considerations

The two most important factors when choosing a neck traction device are the type of device and how comfortable it is.

Types of neck traction devices

There are three types of neck traction devices: air neck traction devices, over-the-door neck traction devices, and posture pumps.

Air neck traction devices are the most versatile. They resemble three neck pillows stacked on top of each other. You pump air into the pillows with the attached pump, which gently stretches out your neck. When you’re finished using the device, you deflate it. Their portability and ease of use makes air neck traction devices quite popular, and you can use them lying down or sitting up. But some air neck traction devices aren’t made of durable materials, and they may be prone to punctures.

Over-the-door neck traction devices require some assembly before you can use them. You attach the unit to the top of a door, and place your head in the chinstrap harness that hangs down. This harness is connected to a pulley system. You either pull on a cord or fill a bag with water to provide the necessary force required to stretch your neck. These devices are typically more durable than air neck traction devices, but they’re not as portable. While there are a few over-the-door models that allow you to lie down while using them, most require you to stand or sit.

Posture pumps are the way to go if you suffer from severe, chronic neck pain. These devices are similar to what you’ll find in a doctor’s or physical therapist’s office. You lie down and place your head and neck into the unit. There’s a strap that goes over your forehead to help hold your head in place. You use a switch to control the device’s pressure. Posture pumps provide the strongest traction, but they’re also expensive, and you cannot use them while standing or sitting.


If the neck traction device that you choose is not comfortable, you’re not going to use it. Comfort is more of an issue with air and over-the-door neck traction devices because some of these can put extra pressure on your chin. This may be uncomfortable, especially if you suffer from TMJ. If you’re unsure which type of neck traction device is best for you, consult with your doctor or physical therapist before purchasing one.

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Did you know?
Posture pumps typically deliver results more quickly because they are able to provide more pressure than air or over-the-door neck traction devices.


There are several features to consider when shopping for a neck traction device.


Some neck traction devices can only accommodate necks up to a certain circumference. This is primarily a concern with air neck traction devices. If you have a particularly large neck, you may need to be more careful when selecting a neck traction device to be sure that it can accommodate you.

Ease of use

Most neck traction devices are fairly simple to use once you’ve set them up. The device should come with instructions on how to use and store it properly. You may want to read through customer reviews online before purchasing a neck traction device to see what others have to say about how easy it is to use and how well it works.


Assembly is only a concern for over-the-door neck traction devices. These devices should include an instruction manual to walk you through the assembly process, and in most cases it shouldn’t be too complicated. But if you’re concerned, you should check with the manufacturer or read through customer reviews to determine how simple the device is to assemble.


You want your neck traction device to last for a long time, especially if you’re paying top dollar for a posture pump. Be sure that the neck traction device you choose is made from sturdy materials that won’t break or tear easily. Be careful when handling air neck traction devices to prevent punctures or deflation.

Neck traction device prices

Air neck traction devices are pretty affordable, with most costing between $20 and $30. This is the way to go if your budget is tight. But choose an air neck traction device carefully so that you don’t end up with a poor-quality product that will break after a few uses.

Over-the-door neck traction devices cost a bit more, usually ranging from $30 to $60.

Posture pumps are the most expensive, with some costing as much as $300. These are worth considering if you suffer from severe or chronic neck pain or your doctor recommends one. However, if you only plan to use a neck traction device occasionally, you can get by with a more affordable solution.

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Do not use a neck traction device if you have a fracture, spinal instability, or rheumatoid arthritis. Consult your doctor if you’re unsure whether a neck traction device will help your condition.


  • There are many causes of neck pain, not all of which can be helped by a neck traction device. Consult your doctor or physical therapist to find out if a neck traction device is right for you before you buy one.

  • Always read the neck traction device’s instructions before using it.

  • If the neck traction device is causing you pain, stop using it and consult with your doctor or physical therapist.

  • Ask your doctor or physical therapist how many pounds of pressure you should be using.

  • Store your neck traction device somewhere out of the way when you are not using it to keep it from being damaged.

  • If you plan to purchase a posture pump, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance provider before you buy one. Some insurance companies may cover the cost of a neck traction device, especially if your doctor has prescribed one for you.

  • If you’ve recently had neck surgery, you shouldn’t use a neck traction device until you are fully recovered.

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Overstretching your neck could do more harm than good, so always follow your doctor’s instructions when using a neck traction device.


Q. How long should I use a neck traction device at a time?

A. You don’t need to use a neck traction device for long periods of time. Usually a few minutes once or twice a day will do. But it’s smart to check with your doctor or physical therapist to see what they recommend before you begin using the neck traction device.

Q. Do I still need to do neck exercises if I’m using a neck traction device?

A. If your doctor or physical therapist recommends that you do exercises, you should do them in addition to using your neck traction device.

Q. Are neck traction devices safe to use?

A. Yes, as long as you follow the manufacturer’s and your doctor’s instructions. A neck traction device is a perfectly safe way to relieve your neck pain over time when used correctly.

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