Spinal Decompression Home Devices [A “lengthy” Review]

Spinal-Decompression-Home-Devices

The spine or the vertebral column is an essential part of the human body. It helps in maintaining the appropriate posture, protects the spinal cord, helps in respiration, production of red blood cells, and bears the upper body weight. It is a vital part of our health that we need to maintain to remain healthy and active. Unfortunately, many suffer from pain associated with the spine such as back and cervical pain. Back pain being the most widely experienced ailment!

Back pain sends more patients to physicians than any ailment except the common cold and it accounts for over one fourth of all workman’s comp claims. It is the leading cause of job disability in adults younger than 45 years and according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), back pain is the fifth most common reason for hospitalization and the third most common reason for surgery.

The healthcare system spends over $100 billion annually on back pain treatments—much of that for CT SCANS, MRI’S, injections, and surgeries, which studies show are frequently premature or unnecessary.

There are in fact numerous studies over the past two decades that come to the conclusion that patients should be treated conservatively (chiropractic, therapy, exercises, etc) before any invasive treatment is performed (i.e corticosteroid injections, spinal surgeries etc).

That is where spinal decompression therapy and spinal decompression home devices can come in to help!

In this article I will review what spinal decompression therapy is, it’s benefits and risks and an overview of various spinal decompression home devices!

 

WHAT IS SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

Spinal Decompression Therapy involves stretching the spine, using a traction table or similar device, with the goal of relieving back pain, cervical pain and/or leg pain. Spinal decompression is an alternative therapy designed with the goal of alleviating pain and promoting healing of the inter-vertebral disc. This therapy is called nonsurgical decompression therapy (as opposed to surgical spinal decompression, such as laminectomy and microdiscectomy).

Spinal decompression home devices for therapy use the same basic principle of spinal traction that has been offered by chiropractors, osteopaths, and other appropriately trained health professionals for many years.

 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

 

Spinal decompression therapy provides the following benefits:

⦁ Creates a negative intra-discal pressure to promote retraction or re-positioning of the herniated or bulging disc material.
⦁ Creates a lower pressure in the disc that will cause an influx of healing nutrients and other substances into the disc.
⦁ Promotes muscle relaxation by gently stretching the muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounding and attached to the spine.
⦁ Reduces the need for fusion surgery and injections! By using alternative solutions such as spinal decompression therapy, you can reduce the need to pursue more invasive and risky procedures.
⦁ Improves blood flow to the spinal cord which promotes healing.

Spinal Decompression therapy is used for the following:

⦁ Nerve compression
⦁ Alignment issues
⦁ Spinal Stenosis
⦁ Facet Joint Syndrome
⦁ Scoliosis
⦁ Fibromyalgia
⦁ Sciatica
⦁ Herniated or bulging discs

 

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF SPINAL DECOMPRESSION THERAPY?

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

DO NOT perform spinal decompression on your own if you have any of the following:

⦁ Osteoporosis
⦁ Spinal Fracture
⦁ Spinal fusion surgery
⦁ Artificial disc placement in the low back (surgical procedure)
⦁ Pregnant
⦁ Increase in pain with any of these techniques

Spinal decompression places stress on the bones of the spine and if you have any of the above conditions, it can cause serious complications.

In addition, when it comes to inversion tables, do not use them if you have any of the following:

⦁ Blood pressure control issues (uncontrolled high blood pressure, orthostatic hypertension)
⦁ Hernia
⦁ Glaucoma
⦁ Dizziness
⦁ Osteoporosis, bone fractures
⦁ Arterial insufficiency in legs
⦁ Cardiovascular problems
⦁ Extreme Obesity
⦁ Middle Ear Infection
⦁ Retinal detachment or conjunctivitis
⦁ Use of anticoagulants including aspirin in high doses
⦁ Cerebral sclerosis
⦁ Acutely swollen joints

Consult a medical professional before you begin any spinal decompression therapy to ensure it is right for you.

 

WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

You may find on a lot of sites that discuss spinal decompression therapy state that there is inconclusive evidence of it’s benefits – that is flat out WRONG.

Research proving it’s benefits dates back to less than two years after WWII from the April 1947 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery —- a prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal that is still in print today.

Today there are 50+ clinical research studies proving the benefits of spinal decompression therapy. You can find the sources for these studies at the end of the article as well as a site listing honest reviews from those who have tried spinal decompression therapy.

 

SPINAL DECOMPRESSION STRETCHES

Stretching is not only a fantastic activity to promote strength, stability and healing in muscles, tendons and ligaments but spinal discs and vertebrae as well! Certain stretches can promote spinal decompression naturally. Perform the following stretches to experience the benefits of simple spinal decompression. Remember, discontinue any of these stretches if you experience any discomfort!

 

1. Overhead stretch

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

• Begin by standing upright with your feet shoulder width apart
• Interlace your fingers, flip your hands and stretch your arms overhead, making your elbows completely straight.
• Hold the stretch 20-30 seconds
• Repeat 4-5x, multiple times a day as needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Bar Hang

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

• You can use a pull-up bar, sturdy playground equipment, or whatever sturdy high bar you have on hand.
• Reach up and hold on to the bar and slowly begin to hang – letting more and more of your body weight hang. (the more your feet come off the ground, the deeper the stretch!)
• Relax, breathe slowly and deeply and hold for 20-30 seconds or whatever is comfortable.
• Repeat 2-3 times, several times a day as needed

 

 

 

 

 

3. Standing forward stretch )

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

• Begin by finding a sturdy surface you can hold onto like a kitchen sink or the back of a heavy chair.
• While holding onto the surface, slowly lean back and completely straighten your elbows.
• Stay in this position for 20-30 seconds, take deep breaths, and try to relax into the position.
• Repeat 2-3x, as much as needed throughout the day.

 

 

 

4. Child’s Pose

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

• Begin on your hands and knees and sit back so your bottom is touching your heels.
• Then reach out with both arms in front of you on the floor, gently sucking your tummy in and relax into this position.
• Hold here for 10 seconds.
• Repeat the same steps, however now reach your arms slightly to the left, then slightly to the right (holding for 10 seconds in each position).
• Repeat each direction (forward, left side, right side) 3 times.

 

 

 

5. Cat Cow

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Begin by getting on your hands and knees
• Make sure your knees are directly underneath your hips and your hands are directly underneath your shoulders
• Slowly round your back as far as you can while gently looking down towards the floor
• Return to the start position, then arch your back towards the floor while looking up toward the ceiling
• Repeat 20-30x, multiple times a day as needed

 

SPINAL DECOMPRESSION HOME DEVICES

 

Now onto the more heavy duty spinal decompression therapies – the home devices!

There are many different types of spinal decompression home devices from inversion tables, harnesses/belts, blocks, pumps, and swings/trapeze. All are generally good for back pain and some also help with cervical pain as well – however, some have more targeted relief methods than others. Choosing one is generally user preference. Personally, I use an inversion table and a cervical pump!

Below you will find a list of different spinal decompression home devices separated into two categories – Neck and Back. Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these! Or if there’s another device not mentioned you have tried and recommend.

 

NECK TRACTION DEVICES

 

1. Over-the-Door Cervical (Neck) Decompression

With over-the-door cervical traction devices, you are required to stand and will have your chin snugly strapped in to the device. This device attaches to the door that has a bag to fill with water to desired weight to help with applying traction to the cervical spine.

Product: OTC Over Door Cervical Traction Kit, Neck Disk Relief, Complete Set

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

Pros:

*Easy to use
*Great for cervical and upper back traction

Cons:

*Less portable than other options (takes more time to set up and you may not have a suitable door everywhere you go)
*Some users complain of a learning curve with the release mechanism
*Needs a sturdy door. Not for use on hollow doors.

 

 

 

2. Cervical decompression posture pump

With a cervical posture pump, you lie onto the ground and snugly strap your chin and forehead into the device. This device has a balloon underneath the cervical spine under a comfortable cushion. You will use a pump to inflate this balloon that will then apply upward pressure onto the cervical spine. This pressure helps form your spine into the correct posture while gently stretching and relaxing the surrounding ligaments and muscles. It will help gently separate the discs some and allow for spinal fluid exchange. This pressure causes light traction of the cervical spine and promotes healthy posture.

Product: Posture Neck Exercising Cervical Spine Hydrator Pump

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

Pros:

*Portable and easy to use
*Good for cervical traction
*Promotes healthy posture and spinal fluid exchange

Cons:

*Sometimes with too much pressure the pump might come off and cause fast deflation. I counter this by just making sure I hold it in place while pumping.

 

3. Cervical traction air pump collar

With cervical traction collars you are free to sit, stand or lie down as desired. This device is a collar that you place around your neck and snugly under your chin. You use a pump to inflate this collar that will gently separate your cervical spine as it inflates. The more you inflate the collar, the more traction you will apply to the cervical spine.

Product: The Syrtenty Inflatable Cervical Traction Collar

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

 

Pros:

*Lightweight, portable and easy to use
*Great for cervical traction

Cons:

*Sometimes the pump can get stuck and may deflate on it’s own
*May not fit larger necks

 

 

 

BACK TRACTION DEVICES

 

1. Inversion Table

Inversion tables require adjustment for height. Follow the instructions for proper assembly and set up prior to use. This device will have you strap your ankles in and slowly lean back – causing your body to invert and allow the weight of your body to cause traction in your spine. This is felt the best in the lumbar and pelvic/hip areas but can also be felt in the upper back, cervical spine and in the ankles and knees as well.

Pros:

*Adjustable for different heights
*Great for lower back traction
*Helpful with upper back and cervical traction as well (but not as good as those specific for cervical traction)

Cons:

*Can be heavy depending on model and take up a lot of space
*The most expensive of the home decompression devices

Products: (Note: Due to the expensive nature of this particular product – I have provided a more affordable option that doesn’t sacrifice quality)

THE BEST OF THE BEST (for those who can afford it!): Teeter Inversion tables

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

 

 

Special features:

*Acupressure nodules
*Lumbar Support
*FDA certified

 

 

 

 

THE BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCK (and what i personally use!): Ironman Gravity 4000

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

 

 

 

Special features:

*Extremely rugged and sturdy holding up to 300 lbs
*Lumbar Support

 

 

 

 

2. Yoga Trapeze

Yoga Trapeze can be a fun addition to both your work out and stretching routine! It can also be used for spinal decompression by utilizing specific positions on the trapeze that allow for traction in the spine. Yoga trapeze is made of parachute material fabric typically that you can install onto an outside tree, an exposed beam or using a provided door beam. You can use a trapeze to swing on and maneuver into various positions that can promote strength, flexibility and in this case, spinal decompression.

Product: YOGABODY Yoga Trapeze [official] – Yoga Swing/Sling/Inversion Tool, Purple with Free DVD

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

Pros:

*Fun to use!
*Portable (can be used outside in a tree, on an exposed beam or using a provided door beam)
*Good for overall back traction
*Multi-use product (can be used for exercise and stretching as well!)
*Bonus DVD

Cons:

*Can be dangerous for those not strong, flexible or agile.

 

 

3. Block – decompression via pressure changes

A block is just that, soft but rigid blocks that you lie on! You place it in various spots on your back or pelvis to allow for targeted decompression via pressure changes.

Product: Sarah Key Back Block

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

Pros:

*Lightweight and portable
*Good for lower back traction

Cons:

*Doesn’t provide as sufficient of traction as other devices

 

 

 

 

4. Hanging door harness for back decompression

Hanging door harnesses attach to your door frame via a bar. You will place the main component around your midsection and snugly strap yourself in. Then you will slowly lower – taking pressure off your feet (but not lifting them off the ground! as this causes muscles to engage in the back and decreases proper traction) and allowing your body weight to cause traction in your spine. This is mainly felt in the mid to lower back.

Product: Sit and Decompress – The Ultimate Back Stretcher / Lumbar Traction

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

Pros:

*Portable and easy to use
*Great for lower back traction

Cons:

*Requires a sturdy door/frame – may cause damage to your door/frame

 

 

 

 

5. Partial inversion device

A partial inversion device is a compact machine that you typically bend over while holding onto the provided handle-bars. You then proceed to lean forward, this forward bend causing your lower spine to open up and separate – causing traction.

Product: Nubax Trio Portable Back Traction Device

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

Pros:

*Compact design and easy to use
*Great for low back traction

Cons:

*A little heavier than most of the other devices if needing to move it
*Pricey
*Only provides partial traction

 

 

 

6. Floor back traction/stretching device

This floor traction device’s concept causes light traction in your spine via a light stretch by allowing you to lay over it’s curved design. The curve in the device gently applied pressure to your spine, promotes a light stretch and healthy posture.

Product: TRUE BACK the ORIGINAL BACK PAIN RELIEF BACK STRETCHER DEVICE

Spinal Decompression Home Devices

 

Pros:

*Cheap
*Portable and extremely easy to use
*Good for lower and upper back traction

Cons:

*Doesn’t provide as sufficient traction as other devices

 

THE TAKE AWAY

 

You do not have to live with pain! There are many ways to help alleviate your symptoms – ones that don’t require invasive procedures and risky side effects. I personally use my inversion table twice daily (AM and PM) and my cervical posture pump once daily (PM). I find it gives me lasting relief from pressure and associated pain in my spine. I find it has helped to maintain the progress I reached through my Chiropractor. With healthier lifestyle habits such as diet and exercise, stretching and my spinal decompression – I have reduced the need for regular adjustments. I live an active, healthier life thanks to the alternative and holistic methods I incorporate into my every day life.

If you want more alternative tips for pain relief, check out my article here. And please feel free to leave a comment on your back/neck pain experience and spinal decompression experiences if any! If you have any questions, leave it below and I will respond as quickly as possible!

Kind regards,
Sherry S.

 

Sources:
1. http://lancasterspinalhealth.com/clinic1.pdf
2. https://cdn.vortala.com/childsites/uploads/1590/files/ResearchEyerman.pdf
3. https://www.stspineandrehab.com/decompression-reduction-and-stabilization-of-the-lumbar-spine-a-cost-effective-treatment-for-lumbosacral-pain/
4. https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/chiropractic/spinal-decompression-patients-advice-benefits-and-spinal-nerve-pressure
5. https://www.acatoday.org/Patients/Health-Wellness-Information/Back-Pain-Facts-and-Statistics

14 thoughts on “Spinal Decompression Home Devices [A “lengthy” Review]”

  1. Hello Son! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment! I am glad that my article proved helpful for you. Please let me know how the stretches benefit you and if not, if any of the products help you! My readers appreciate seeing results from others 🙂

    I too crack my own back as well as my neck, knuckles, toes, hips and ankles (my knees crack on their own lol). At 30 – I sound like I should be 80+ sometimes! Haha But the good thing, it is not a bad thing! Typically the noise is caused by carbon dioxide cavitation bubbles suddenly partially collapsing inside the joints. It is also frequently caused by the rapid stretching of ligaments. While the common claim that cracking one’s knuckles causes arthritis is not supported by evidence, it can cause some ligament laxity. In general, as long as it doesn’t hurt when you are doing it – you should be fine! If you do experience discomfort or pain, stop performing the cracking action and seek medical advice.

  2. Hello Henry! I am happy my article proved insightful for you :). Yes, aiding in muscle relaxation is definitely a top benefit to me also! That in itself can help relieve so much pain in the back. If you know anyone who can benefit from the information in this article – please share! 🙂 

  3. Hello Coralie! Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to share your personal experiences with back pain and the relief spinal decompression has brought you! I too use it daily and I can’t tell you the immeasurable difference it makes for me every time I use it! The amount of pressure that is released – especially after increased physical activity – is like night and day! 

  4. I really loved your post. I have struggled with low back pain for 20 + years.  For me it has been a long haul of finding what really works for my back,  Being my own advocate for my back health has lead me to many different options of things to try.

    To this day, I get relief from a type of decompression like you mentioned.  I do a few of those stretches daily and they do work. I like the cat stretch and the bar hang.  If I get to chiro or physio once in awhile, my number request is for them to pull my legs.

    Your post is full of amazing options that will really help people.  So yes decompression does work.

    Good job

  5. Hi Sherry! Thank you very much for this comprehensive review. I didn’t know back pain affected so many people.

    I had read before about the benefits of spinal decompression therapy. But I had never read such a lengthy article as this one. Among the most important benefits, for me it’s that it promotes muscle relaxation.

  6. Hello, I really appreciate your time and effort on writing about these spinal decompression devices and methods. .

    There’s a lot of great information in this review. In recent years I have noticed that I am cracking my back more and more, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. But I feel that there’s always a lot of pressure built up the wrong way or something. I’ll try some of the methods you described such as hanging on a bar, this sounds pretty safe to do.

    If that doesn’t solve anything I might look into the Iron Man Gravity. Thanks for the article.

  7. Hello Buffy! Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment about your experience with low back pain. I hope one of these products provides you with much needed relief! Let me know how it goes 🙂

  8. I didn’t know that they made some of those gadgets that I saw on your site. This is good  stuff, because I have lower back pain sometimes. I have tried the yoga poses before, but didn’t know what they did lol. I’m not an excercise nut, so trying your alternative gadgets you have might help me.

  9. Hello Jayden! Thank you for visiting and commenting! I am glad this article proved useful for you and I hope it helps your family member. Yes, free is always great! Haha Please, feel free to comment an update on your family member if they decide to use any of the advice or products in this article :).

  10. Wow this article is very useful to me because I can recommend this to a family member who has back problem. I have only heard about the Teeter device out of so many devices that you recommend. And the best part is the FREE stretches knowledge! Thank you again for composing such detail article. I will be sure to forward it to people around me. Keep up the awesome work.

  11. Hello Kevin! Thank you for visiting and sharing your experiences and thoughts. Alternative therapies are definitely fantastic to help avoid or pro-long the need for surgery. I highly advocate for them. Please let me know how your experience goes with any of these products! 

  12. Thank you so much for this amazing post. As some one who injured his back in his early 20’s i’m in my late 40’s now, I have tried so many things over the years to deal with the pain and discomfort. From massage to chiropractors to yoga and of course many doctors who wanted to feed me pain pills or such like.

    I had resigned myself to facing back surgery in the near future, but after reading your honest reviews on these products I will be having to try some off them out to see if I can hold off on the surgery.

    I appreciate the pros and cons and saying which ones you use regularly

    Once again thanks

    Kevin Deaney.

  13. Hello David! Thank you for sharing your experience with spinal pain. You are definitely not a lone! I am glad you found my article insightful and helpful. I pray the stretches bring you much needed relief! 

  14. I have 12 flat disk so this article really got my attention. My back hurts most of the time and I really need relief and I will try some of the the exercises that are in your article . Because you cannot afford any of your devices that are mentioned in your article. The exercises looks like they will give me some relief. I go to a pain clinic  but they just suggested shots in and around my spine. I really don’t like the idea of that and all the people that have had that, it works for a few days and the doctors have the big bucks that it cost for them to do the shots and then a few days later, you are back in pain. I wish I could afford the hangaround, the upside down kind of therapy, I think that would help me the most. The reason for most of my pain is I have carried heavy things in the work I did for most of my life and I am almost 64. Good informative article with help for people with all types of back pain. 

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