What’s the first thing you do when your lower back hurts?
You try to stretch it in some way. it’s an intuitive action.
You try to bend down and touch your feet. You try to sit and bend over to touch your feet.
You have a feeling that it will ease the pain,
and you are right.
This post may contain affiliate links, at no extra cost to you.
What you’re actually trying to do is low back traction, which is pulling the top half of your body and the bottom half away from each other.
While this is definitely the right way to go, that little stretch is not likely to bring you the dramatic relief that you want NOW.
You’ll need to take it up a notch, and use the best lumbar traction home devices, which is what this post is about.
👉 In a Hurry?
See the top lumbar traction home devices compared below:
|Lumbar Traction |
|Traction Type||Effort Level|
|🥇Innova ITX 9600||Inversion table||Low effort|
|The CoreStretch||Spine stretch||Medium effort|
|Lo Bak |
|Lay down |
|True Back||Lay down|
- The 3 Best Ways to Do Lumbar Traction (at Home)
- How Does Spinal Traction Relieve Lower Back Pain?
- How Much Force of Pull is Needed?
- Who Should Not Do Lumbar Back Traction at Home?
- Is Lumbar Traction Painful?
The 3 Best Ways to Do Lumbar Traction (at Home)
As long as you won’t attempt to hang upside down on a tree branch or use the Hippocrates ladder and ropes method, you can, safely, relieve your low back pain with a home back traction device.
The 3 Ways to do low back traction at home are:
1. Mild Traction – Spinal Decompression Exercises
Spinal decompression exercises are a mild version of low back traction.
If you do the right ones, they will slightly pull your vertebrae apart and relieve pressure on your discs, nerves, and muscles.
Watch this great example of a good exercise:
You can do this great stretch much easier and without worrying about posture mistakes if you have this lumbar stretcher (The CoreStretch):
2. Moderate Traction – Back Stretchers
Back stretchers take spine decompression exercises up a notch and basically help you keep your back in proper posture when you decompress your lower back.
Through my research, The 5 best back stretchers in 2023 are:
Lo Bak Trax
The Lo Bak Trax lumbar traction home device looks like a pair of bicycle handlebars with a deep “V” in the middle. Two curved, padded extensions are underneath each padded grip.
You lie down on your back, and pull your feet up towards your body (while your soles stay flat on the floor) – which flattens the curve in your lower back.
Then you put the Lo-Bak Trax between your legs with the pads resting on your upper quad muscle – and gently push.
This simple exercise decompresses your spine, taking the pressure off your spinal joints, discs, and nerves, and brings immediate and effective relief.
True Back Stretcher
The True Back stretcher is a portable and compact lower back lumbar traction device, and easy to use. No assembly is needed and no parts can break down – ever.
You simply lie on the device, and the 30 suspension points molded into the center rails support your body weight and create pressure on the muscles on each side of the spine.
This pressure allows the muscles to completely relax, which increases blood flow. It decompresses your spine and you are passively stretching in opposite directions while being supported in the correct position.
The Spinal Stretch
The Spinal Stretch lumbar traction home kit comes fully assembled but requires a fixed point (like a door) and a ratchet system for user-controlled tension.
It includes a metal ratchet, waist belt, traction belt, instructional DVD, and nylon tote bag.
After you strap yourself into the harness and secure the anchor point, you slowly ratchet the device that essentially pulls you towards the anchor point. Simple and effective.
Saunders Lumbar Home Traction Device
The Saunders Lumbar Traction Device is manufactured in the USA and widely used in Chiropractors’ clinics.
It has a non-slip surface to effectively grab onto the torso to provide an effective pull, and foam wedges for the head and legs are included to make application of traction more comfortable for the lumbar region.
It effectively applies up to 200 pounds of traction controlled by a patented pump/gauge that allows immediate pressure relief, if necessary, during treatment.
The Saunders HomeTrac comes with an instructional video and user’s guide, but I recommend getting specific usage instructions from your doctor, to be on the safe side.
As always, be safe and make sure you don’t have a health condition that doesn’t allow the use of traction devices. The best way to make sure is to check with your doctor first.
Always start slowly and work your way up, let your body adjust to the treatment by starting gently and gradually.
The Nubax Trio
The Australian-made Nubax Trio is one of the most popular spinal decompression home devices, and for good reasons.
the Nubax Trio decompresses and stretches your spine in a way that you couldn’t possibly do on your own.
This one is a high-quality device and it takes about 10 minutes to assemble it.
The low back traction with this one is more powerful and you’ll only need one or two 3-minute sessions per day to get maximum results.
👉See my detailed review for the Nubax Trio (and comparison with inversion tables).
3. Powerful Traction – Inversion Table (Hanging Upside Down)
Inversion therapy is the most powerful lumbar traction therapy. Inversion exists for more than 3000 years and even the army uses it to speed up the healing of training injuries.
You strap yourself onto the table and invert in any angle that is comfortable to you. You don’t have to fully invert (hang upside down) at all. Even a 30 degrees angle is beneficial and will “get the job done”.
The most important factor in choosing an inversion table is safety. Low-quality cheap tables can cause serious injuries.
One of the safest and most high-quality inversion tables is the Innova ITX9600.
👉 You can also see my head to head comparison between the 2 best-selling inversion tables
How Does Spinal Traction Relieve Lower Back Pain?
Did you know that Hippocrates, the “father of medicine”, used spinal decompression to relieve his patients’ ailments?
He used to hoist his patients on a ladder with a series of ropes and pulleys to harness gravity, in an effort to stretch the hell out of them.
Thankfully, it’s 2023 and you won’t need a ladder and ropes.
If your low back pain is muscle-related, low back traction can almost immediately relax your muscles and increase blood flow to the area, making it heal much faster.
If your pain is spine-related, the (yet to be proven) theory is that if the discs are pulled, they will regain hydration or “enjoy” an influx of water and healing nutrients.
This will allow speedy healing and make them more shock-absorbent.
Other great benefits of lower back traction are:
1. Realigning your spine (if used long-term)
2. Improving circulation, mobility, and flexibility.
3. Improving posture – a critical preventative of future low back pain.
Does Lumbar Traction Work?
Truthfully, the research is a little mixed. Some studies prove it works, some studies prove it doesn’t. So why would you even try to do it?
1. The “Word on The Street” – so many people are thrilled with the back pain relief they’ve achieved through spinal decompression that it would be silly to not even try it.
2. Drug-free pain relief – no medication is involved here, no risking your liver and kidneys, no danger of addiction.
3. Cost-Effective – you don’t have to pay a chiropractor to decompress your lower back. You can safely do back traction at home, and for a fraction of the cost.
4. More than hiding the symptoms – as opposed to conventional medicine (pain killers, steroid shots etc), back traction can help not only considerably relieve your back pain but speed up the healing of your injury.
How Much Force of Pull is Needed?
In lumbar traction, the amount of pull needed to begin the separation of the vertebrae is half the body weight.
For example, if you weigh 180 pounds, it will take 90 pounds of pull to begin getting separation of the spinal joints and bones.
Who Should Not Do Lumbar Back Traction at Home?
DO NOT perform spinal decompression on your own if you have any of the following:
- Spinal Fracture
- Spinal fusion surgery
- Artificial disc placement in the low back (surgical procedure)
- Increase in pain with any of these techniques
Is Lumbar Traction Painful?
Back Traction can be anything from a little painful to horribly painful, but if done correctly, it shouldn’t hurt at all. Back traction is meant to alleviate pain, not increase it.
The best way to describe how it feels is – “a feel-good hurt“. You know what I’m talking about.
Back traction for lower back pain can be done at home, by yourself, while saving money and time on Chiropractor treatments.
For some people it won’t work, for others, it works remarkably well. The fact is that you won’t know if it works for you until you try it.
And now over to you:
Have you ever done back traction to relieve lower back pain? what’s your experience? Share with us in the comments below.
To your health and happiness,