What a pain in the neck, literally—any otc devices that work?
May 28, 2021 6:16 AM   Subscribe

I’m looking for recommendations for an over-the-counter/amazon neck traction device. I’ve seen inflatable collars, over-the-door pulley devices, hard rubber neck rests—what’s best?

(YANMD or PT, and I have a doctor and went to a PT session. I am 50, male, and have mild degenerative changes in spine.)

Ok, I have some bulging at c3-c4 and c6-c7 and it seems the c6-c7 is the pain culprit. Sharp pain on right side between spine and top of shoulder blade when rotating head to the right. It is likely injury-related from when I whiplashed myself as part of a recoil reflex when a springy branch that I was hunched over with a chain saw sprang back toward my face. I reacted by yanking my head/neck/upper torso backward like I had touched a hot stove.

On the left side, I have armpit pain and numbness in my middle three fingers and inside of the webbing of my thumb. The left side may be some sort of entrapment/stenosis unrelated to the cervical pain on my right side.

At the PT session, I did neck traction that felt like it was providing relief. I’d like to get a home device/contraption to provide some neck traction at home but cannot decide what type of device is most effective and also cost-effective; I cannot afford something that is $350. I was hoping for $50 or less. So, what have you tried that you like? Thanks!
posted by DB Cooper to Health & Fitness (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My wife had a device that she would lay on the floor and place her neck in, then pump by hand to pull on her head. It had a dial so you could adjust the pressure based on Dr's recommendations. The doctor prescribed it so I believe insurance covered the cost. Suggest you talk to Dr and PT about a device that insurance might cover.
posted by tman99 at 6:37 AM on May 28, 2021

Best answer: I have c6-c7 herniated disc which occasionally (though not lately, thankfully) results in agonizing pain down my left arm for months at a time with absolutely no relief.

The only thing that ever helped is one of these traction devices, which I was able to get my insurance company to pay for through my physical therapy place. Unfortunately, without insurance it's out of your price range. Perhaps it's possible to find one second-hand.

I also received one of these neck massagers as a gift, which gave me some temporary relief.

Good luck. I feel your pain, literally.
posted by bondcliff at 6:58 AM on May 28, 2021 [1 favorite]

My (excellent) PT showed me how to do a DIY traction setup. You take a scarf and tie it to a table leg so that it forms a loop and sort of cradle your head in it and gently scoot yourself away from it. It works for me.
posted by HotToddy at 7:11 AM on May 28, 2021

Perhaps this may help you-it helped my wife who suffers from military neck.
Going to be over $50 though.

posted by LOOKING at 8:39 AM on May 28, 2021

You should really get a recommendation from your PT on what will be safe and effective.
posted by radioamy at 9:01 AM on May 28, 2021 [5 favorites]

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