Does the Neck Hammock work?
As a doctor of chiropractic this is a question I often get asked. The short answer is kind of. I know this sounds a little ambiguous and non committal but that’s the truth of it.
Cervical traction is not a new form of treatment for neck pain. Traction has been used for years to reduce the symptoms of a herniated disc and alleviate tightness and tension in the neck. I have been prescribing traction for neck pain, radiating pain into the arms, headaches and stress reduction for 20 years.
Most of the devices I have seen over the years for treating neck pain involve some form of traction and this is what the neck hammock claims to do.
What is cervical traction and how does it work?
Cervical traction works by stretching the muscles and tendons in the neck. This is usually done by pulling the head away from the shoulders. It sounds painful but generally feels pretty good and can offer some pretty immediate relief.
How does the neck hammock work?
The neck hammock uses bungee cord attached to a door and then attached to your head with a padded harness to create tractioning. The reason I say it kind of works is that it doesn’t create much pull. The only traction is from the weight of your head and it is pulling in the wrong direction. It pulls the head forward into flexion instead of straight out. The average weight used in cervical traction is 25-45 pounds and I am sure the neck hammock doesn’t come close to this.
The average weight used for cervical traction is 20 -45 pounds.
The neck hammock is not easy to set up and doesn’t come with very good directions. It is inexpensive but I might say you get what you pay for.
In conclusion I would say I am not a huge fan of the neck hammock. That being said I can say I am a big fan of cervical traction. The over the door device pictured above is a better alternative. There are also several wedges and pillows that I think do a better job.