Back traction, also known as non-surgical spinal decompression, is one of the most commonly used therapies by Chiropractors and Physical Therapists to treat chronic back pain. The medical science community has not widely supported spinal decompression yet (due to lack of scientific studies) but it has been successfully used by thousands to relieve back and neck pain for years.
For those of us with back pain and that can’t afford to go to a chiropractor several times per week, there are several ways to perform spinal decompression from home using a variety of devices.These devices are generally safe, but you should still consult your doctor beforehand since things can go wrong and cause more damage to your back if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Don’t have time to read the whole article? Here are the top 5 best back stretchers:
- Teeter EP-560 Inversion Table with Back Pain Relief Kit
- Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy Inversion Table
- Innova ITX9600 Heavy Duty Deluxe Inversion Therapy Table
- The Posture Wizard Back Stretcher
- Magic Back Stretcher Lumbar Support Device
A few general rules of thumb when doing back traction:
- Stop immediately if you feel pain or discomfort (in addition to your existing back pain)
- Back traction should not be performed if you have the following conditions: fracture, spinal implants, abdominal aortic aneurysm, advanced osteoarthritis, or have recently undergone surgery
- When performing back traction, it is important to keep your spine evenly aligned. Never twist the spine while doing traction.
But don’t let this scare you. Back traction can be extremely useful for treating herniated and bulging discs, sciatica, injured spinal nerves, muscle spasms, and degenerative disc disease.
How To Choose A Device For Your Pain
This really depends on what type of back pain you have, your budget, and your physical ability. A simple lumbar back stretcher device is typically the entry level product since they are generally under $50, are light and compact, and very easy to use. Just lie it on the ground and lie on top of it with your back in proper position.
Inversion tables tend to be more expensive (in the $100-$400 range depending on features) and they are much larger and bulkier. They generally can do a better job at decompressing your spine than a regular lumbar back stretcher, but they also require a lot more investment both in terms of money and space in your home.
Stretching machines are generally the highest cost option, but they can do a great job at stretching out the back, among many other muscles. These machines can be $400-$500+ and are generally suited for people with a high budget and/or a strong need to stretch not just their back but their whole body.
Back Stretching Machine Reviews
Below you’ll find our highest rated back stretching machines, ranging from inversion tables to back traction devices.
Finally, ultimate back care is ensured thanks to the patented pressure-reducing ankle system that allows for superior comfort while inverting. Engineered precision balancing for controlled rotation and secure lock-out in full inversion are still further assets. Pre-set rotation angles ensure controlled and safe rotation and inversion at all times.
Overall Superior QualityPatented security features include auto-locking hinges, clam locks, specialized pivot bearings and heat-treated steel parts ensure reliability and durability. Additional standard features include a heavy-duty steel base, corner feet to protect floors and scratch-resistant finish.
Few inversion tables feature quality certifications. However, all Teeter Inversion Tables are UL certified and outperform the competition in comparison testing for endurance, rotation control and ease of assembly. Lastly, because of the company name’s prestige, users can be sure that they are getting superior quality at all times. With over 2 million users and 30-year experience, Teeter is able to provide customers with a 5-year guarantee.
- 5-Step Assembly
- Folds for Storage
- UL Certified
- 5-year Full Warranty
- Full-Color Guide & DVD
- User Capacity: 4'8" - 6'6", 300 Lb.
- Precision Balanced
- Pre-set Rotation
- Secure Lock-Out in Full Inversion
- Price: high end
What’s the Word?Hundreds of users nationwide have shared their satisfaction on the product and its convenient features. Most reviewers agree on the device’s superior quality and its ability to fully adapt to each user’s needs. Apart from quality, comfort is listed as one of the main reasons why so many people are choosing this product. Either because of its ergonomic design or fully-gripped ankle holds, the Teeter allows users to feel safe and comfortable at the same time. Very few customers have raised their concerns over the product’s price. However, when it comes to health and safety, paying more should be a minor issue.
Rounding up, the Teeter EP-560 is potentially one of the best quality inversion tables available on the market today.
Since the ankle holders have been ergonomically molded, further comfort and security can be provided. Inverting handle grips help users invert and exercise more comfortably. Finally, the table can be folded for practical storage when not in use.
F.I.R TechnologyFew non-professional inversion tables feature this type of technology that allows users to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of infrared heat therapy. Research suggests that this type of therapy is thoroughly beneficial because it allows for deeper penetration into the human body. F.I.R offers major advantages over other types of heating therapies, mainly because it presents no unhealthy, electromagnetic concerns. Additionally, body circulation is greatly improved and injuries relieved. The energy surrounding infrared technology aids in decreasing stress levels, relaxing the muscles and expediting the healing of sprains and strains.
- 350 lbs weight capacity
- Height Adjustment up to 6’6”
- 2.5 inch Infrared heat therapy backrest
- 180 degree inversion
- Mesh pocket for remote control
- Price: high end
What People Are SayingReviewers are discussing the benefits of this product all throughout the web. The most frequently-mentioned benefits are the table’s durability and its efficiency. Most reviewers agree that their back pains have been greatly diminished with the use of this product. On the other hand, a small number of users have referred to the product’s lack of instructions. Even if this were so, customers are given the chance to get customer online support at all times.
In all, the Ironman IFT 4000 Inversion Table is a good choice to improve life quality and reduce physical pain.
Besides, the padded backrest is larger than most standard models available on the market, thus making it optimal for larger than average body sizes. Moreover, the table accommodates users from 4ft10in to 6ft6in high with a 300 lbs weight capacity.
Adaptability and FlexibilityEquipped with a unique 5-position side inversion pin that replaces the old style strap and adjusts easily, the Innova inversion table allows for simple degrees of inversion. The simple process is done just by positioning the pin in desired decline position.
The thick foam rollers and soft touch foam handlebars make for comfortable inverting and easy return to an upright position. Finally, the frame design allows for quick folding for easy storage.
- Product Dimensions: 46 x 28 x 63 inches
- Product Weight: 52 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 56.8 pounds
- Price: $97.50
- Special Features: 5 position inversion angles, adjustable headrest pad
Customer ReviewsMany customers have already shared their opinions about the table and the benefits of using it. The most frequently mentioned asset refers to the product’s engineering. It is well-built and possesses good-quality material combination, which in turn results in extra balance and further stability. This by far, appears to be a major must among users who have been on inversion therapies for a long time, mostly because they claim that similar tables appear to be sturdy, but are actually all flimsy or imbalanced.
It is true however, that a small percentage of users claim not to have been benefitted by the use of this product. Users should be made aware of the fact that not all conditions are equally fit to be treated the same way. Moreover, some patients could find inversion therapy counterproductive for their conditions. Consequently, medical consultation is always necessary before deciding whether the Innova is right for your case.
Finally, shoppers are schooled on the use of this device thanks to the availability of free online videos that contribute to the equipment’s proper use.
Proven SatisfactionExperience has shown that those who have turned to the Back Stretcher - Posture Corrector - Perfect for Spine Alignment and Flexibility - Lifetime Guarantee - Bonus Elastic Band and Muscle Relief Ball - Doctor Recommended Posture Wizard System have found effective back pain relief.
Additionally, experts suggest that the inclusion of the trigger point ball is essential to deal with muscle knots that are the cause of improper spine stretching. Finally, postural defects can be progressively corrected just by using the device regularly.
- Item Weight: 2 pounds
- Three-in-one Posture Wizard System
- Three levels of Adjustment
- Price: mid-range
What People Are SayingAny potential shoppers should know that there are many positive reviews online, most of which refer to the device’s ability to deal with back pain effectively. Another common comment refers to the back stretcher’s top quality.
A few have said that using the device has actually increased their discomfort. People should be made aware of the fact that patients with certain conditions should not use home devices at all. Professional consultation is always the best choice in such cases.
Finally, a first-class product for those looking for more than an average stretch is available online.
In addition, relaxation is made possible for those who find it hard to take some time off their busy everyday routines.
Healthful FeaturesThe device includes a back stretcher with a massage top, chair strap and a DVD. Unlike similar products offered on the market, the Magic Back Stretcher brings instructions in English. This way, English-speaking users can be sure that they are using the device the best possible way.
The stretcher is delivered in a convenient gift box that allows for simple and easy storage.
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 10.2 x 2.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Price: mid-range
- Packaged in gift box
- 3 adjustable settings
- Money back Guarantee
What People Are SayingCustomers all over the country are sharing their satisfaction with this practical back stretcher. For one thing, they value the product’s flexibility and the fact that it can be adjusted for different heights and body sizes. In addition, many customers share their personal experiences by saying just how much the Magic Back Stretcher has helped them improve their lives. Most customers agree that the device is not only efficient, but also convenient and completely hassle-free.
A small percentage of shoppers felt that this back stretcher was not helping them. Even when this may have been the case, users should be made aware of the fact that not all back pain is caused for the same reasons. Therefore, medical consultation is vital before purchasing any type of device.
In all, the Magic Back Stretcher Lumbar Support Device for Upper and Lower Back Pain Relief is a good choice for those looking to alleviate their back pain.
Besides relieving back pain, this ChiSoft device is also helpful for posture correction, thus becoming a useful preventive tool. Secondly, there are no age constraints involved with its use. This means that people of all ages can enjoy the benefits of this back stretcher’s use. Physical therapists are recommending it all over the country to young people who have postural issues that may eventually lead to chronic back conditions.
Optimal DesignFeaturing a 100% ergonomically-sound design, this back stretcher shows a multi-level surface together with a three gear adjustment that allows for a deeper and more closely controlled stretch.
Just by following a simple assembly procedure, users are ready to make the most out of this device in no time. Also, because the back stretcher is extremely lightweight, users can easily transport it anywhere they go.
- Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.8 x 4 inches ; 1.2 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
- Multi-level design
- Easy installation
Customer Reviews and Final CommentsHundreds of reviews are sharing their experiences on this back stretcher online. The most frequently-mentioned benefit is practicality. This back stretcher is becoming well-known for its flexibility. Lightweight and easy to assemble, the device can be used twice a day completely hassle-free.
A few users have referred to the device’s size as being a bit too small for large sizes. Most back-stretching devices are pretty standard in size so the same can be said about most back stretchers.
In all, the Back Stretcher with Lumbar Support makes a fine choice to treat and prevent chronic lumbar pain.
In addition, the Spinal Labs Back Pain Stretcher is actually a three-in-one device as it can be used as a back stretcher, a posture corrector and a lumbar support pillow. Finally, those who are keen on working out will find in this piece a practical ab workout mat.
Build MaterialsThe Spinal Labs Back Pain Stretcher is made of high quality high-density foam that is still lightweight and easy to transport. The foam is relatively stiff, but makes for great back stretching with a simple, compact and lightweight design.
The top has been improved with a textured surface that contributes by adding a spa-like massage feel. Besides, users can rest assured that the chemicals used in this back stretcher are safe and fully innocuous; there is no chemical smell or allergic skin reaction to be expected from its use.
- Material: High-density foam
- Shipping Weight: 1 pound
- Lifetime Warranty
- Price: mid-range
The Final SayWith back pain being such a constant issue among so many people, this device has a lot of reviews on Amazon.com. Largely sought-after because of its low cost and ease of use, the Spinal Labs Back Pain Stretcher appeals to buyers because of simplicity. The majority of customers feel satisfied with the results and are enjoying benefits when using the stretcher regularly.
However, there are some downsides that we discovered during our own testing. First, the foam is very rigid. This isn't necessarily a bad thing since this feature is necessary for a complete therapeutic back-stretching experience. Just be aware that it isn't the most comfortable experience. Second, this product is not meant for larger people. It worked great as a woman at 5'4", but we found that if you're much taller than that, you may have a negative experience. The length of the device is pretty small and not adjustable, unfortunately.
In all, chronic back pain can be relieved without surgery by using a quality back stretching device regularly and the Spinal Labs Chronic Back Pain Stretcher is a pretty good low cost option, provided you are of a relatively small stature.
How Does Back Traction Heal Back Pain?
Spinal decompression works by gently stretching the spine, which relieves pressure on the spine due to gravity and helps expand compressed discs. Spinal discs are gel-like cushions between the vertebrate in your spine. For many people this simple decompression of the cushions brings immediate back pain relief.
The theory behind spinal decompression therapy suggests that with repeated use over time the release of pressure on the spinal discs may cause bulging or herniated disks to retract.
This can also take pressure off of pinched nerves and also promote circulation of water, oxygen, and nutrient-rich fluids into the disks so they can heal. The improved circulation can also help reduce inflammation.
Different Types Of Back Stretching Machines
1) Inversion Tables
Inversion tables are a type of table that can rotate 180 degrees to turn the user upside down while they hang from their ankles. This uses gravity expand the spine and take pressure off your spinal discs. This device works well for a variety of back problems but is especially effective for people with slipped or herniated discs.
While most of the evidence about the effectiveness of inversion tables seems to be anecdotal, many people swear by them and claim they are a real alternative to back surgery when used on a regular basis.
2) Lumbar Traction Back Stretchers
Lumbar devices can vary from a simple, arched plastic board that you can lie on to actual spine stretching machines that can leverage a door and a lever to extend the back. Typical back stretchers help the spine by repositioning it into its natural position, helping you unload the discs that might be slipped, twisted, or our of place. These devices are very simple, compact, and cost effective.
3) Full Body Stretching Machines
There are several commercial stretching machines that can help you stretch out and decompress your back, legs, and more. These are typically more expensive than the other options but many users find it to be worth the cost. A few examples are the pretor 240i Commercial Series StretchTrainer and the LifeSpan SP100 Stretch Partner Stretching Machine.
4) Pull Up Bars
Pull up bars aren’t actually intended for spinal decompression but they certainly can get the job done. The primary drawback is that it is difficult to fully relax the back while maintaining your grip on the bar for several minutes at a time. One solution to this is to buy some wrist straps to help hold your grip on the bar, or to purchase some gravity boots and use them to hang upside down from your ankles. If you choose to go this route be absolutely sure your pull up bar is properly installed and able to handle your weight or you’ll risk seriously injuring yourself.