Don’t get stuck with neck pain at work, learn what you can do to stretch out your cervical spine with the proper cervical traction machine. Traction is a form of pulling that stretches out your neck to create more space for your intervertebral discs that are being compressed from years of poor posture. Here are the various types of cervical traction methods and just how effective they just might be for you.
Over-the-Door Cervical Traction
if you suffer from neck pain you may have seen these over-the-door contraptions already and they appear to look ridiculous. The patient’s head is strapped into a harness that goes under their chin and then a pulley system that hooks onto any door and attaches to a weight (bag full of water). Depending on the amount of water in the bag there is the more or less stretch you will get from the cervical traction unit.
The goal is to stretch out the neck and take weight off the cervical spine. Here the person sits on a chair with their back to the door and when they want to relax the stretch they simply stand up. The drawback of this unit is that you might find it hard to get the right height of chair or find it puts too much pressure on your jaw. Too much pressure on your jaw can lead to problems in your jaw joints like TMJ.
Air Neck Cushion Cervical Traction
Another method of cervical traction is with a neck cushion that almost looks like those ones you use to sleep with in the plane when your traveling. It is essentially an inflatable tube that you pump with your hand to inflate and release the pressure by letting the air out.
It works to inflate in such a way that it gets taller and elongate your neck. Pressure is put on your shoulders, your chin, and the back of your head to stretch your head away form your torso. It is effective in doing so although some people might feel constricted or even choked as the cervical traction device is inflated. Leaking is often an issue after a short while so you may want to get a few at a time.
Cervical Traction with no Pressure on the Jaw
The best type of cervical traction is that which allows you to lay down flat on your back in a relaxed position with your head slightly elevated and not putting pressure on your jaw. This is offered with two brands of cervical traction, Saunders and ComforTrac.
These both pull your head away from your shoulders by grabbing the back of your head rather than your chin. It is a much more comfortable position to be in and it gives you a much better stretch. The amount of traction is easily controlled with a hand held pump with a gauge that tells you exactly how much pressure you are applying to your neck. This makes it easy for the patient to follow their physiotherapist’s recommendations and avoid injury from too much pressure at the wrong time.
Cervical Traction with an Inversion Table
You may have also come across the inversion table that gradually tilts your whole body to the point of hanging upside down.
The concept of this pull of gravity stretching out your spine seems reasonable but in fact your body naturally wants to engage your muscles when hanging upside down so you don’t get a full deep stretch out of this. On top of this you won’t feel comfortable hanging upside down with the blood rushing to your head and your ankles carrying all that weight.