How to Use a Neck Traction Wedge
Recently, a patient who’s suffered with migraines for most of his life tried the neck traction wedge. We received a very excited email:
“I can’t believe it! I can tell when I’m going to wake up with a migraine but after using that block once I didn’t wake up with a headache. I can’t explain it but my neck felt different somehow. I didn’t have to take any pills! “ RT
What’s a neck traction wedge?
A neck traction wedge is a piece of specialized foam shaped wedge you lie on in order to realign the bones of your neck. It re-establishes the normal lordotic (banana shaped) curve to take the strain off the joints, and allow the muscles and nerves to function normally.
How do I know if I need one?
If you work at a computer, spend time on your phone or do anything else in a forward position for long periods, chances are this is for you.
Notice the position your neck is in as you read this. (We’ll bet it’s hanging somewhat forward.)
The joints of your neck were designed to stay healthy as long as you spend much of your time with your head balanced on top of your body. It’s OK to flex and extend it and even have it in a forward position for short periods, but not for hours (and days) on end.
When you hang your head forwards it puts enormous strain on the muscles, ligaments and joints. This causes degenerating vertebrae, arthritis, serious disc issues, spinal stenosis and pinched nerves.
Never before have so many people suffered from their necks wearing out. We’re seeing issues in teenagers that we used to only see in 60 year olds! There’s no question getting adjusted, strengthening and the proper stretches can help…but we need something more to support the adjustments and negate the daily wear and tear we’re causing.
What symptoms is forward head posture causing?
The 3 most common issues we see becoming very constant are:
- Chronic headaches and migraines (between 1-5/week!)
- Stiff and frozen shoulders
- Dizziness/Brain Fog
Other common issues include:
- Tingling fingers
- Tense trapezius muscles (top of shoulders)
- Carpal tunnel
- Elbow issues
- Sinus congestion
- Rib issues
The above is a small sample of what we see caused by this issue. Read more about the effects of poor posture here.
Unfortunately far too many people are still turning to medications to try to solve their issues.
Medications won’t stop the wear and tear on your spine and nerve system, and cause issues of their own. Besides, if you take them the underlying issue can get worse because you can no longer hear the messages your body is giving you. It’s like pulling the batteries out of the smoke detector and assuming the fire’s gone out.
There’s no doubt that there’s a time and a place for taking medications, and that some are miraculous. We also understand that at times you need some relief so you can sleep or get through an important day. But please don’t feel that you’re fixing issues just because you can’t feel them.
How will a neck traction wedge affect my adjustments?
It helps! You’ll likely need us less.
Ask Dr. Laina or Dr. Jamie if you can benefit from a neck traction wedge. Very often providing support for the natural cervical curves between adjustments helps the adjustments last longer. The traction block helps to significantly minimize the daily stress that builds in your neck.
We’re happy to provide you with guidance as to the best position of the wedge according to your Xrays and clinical findings. This way you can get the maximum results (and relief!) as quickly as possible. (see below for more info)
Which is your favourite brand?
This is our favourite block for a few reasons.
- It’s very soft and comfortable
- You can use it at many different levels from beginner to advanced
- It’s affordable
- We have had conversations with the creators and their design and research sources are excellent.
What’s more…this neck traction wedge can be used in 2 positions, making it perfect for beginners and more advanced positioning.
Start Here (Position A)
- Lie on your back on a comfortable surface that isn’t too soft, (not your bed, but the ground or a yoga mat works well)
- Bend your knees
- Position the wedge with the flattened edge pointing towards the top of your head. Ensure the vertical side is placed firmly against your shoulders.
- Rest your head on the slope of the wedge.
- Your arms can be at your sides or out in a “T” shape, palms up.
How long and often:
- Start with 1-2 minutes (set a timer). This can be done morning and night
- If there’s no strain or pain, add a minute each day.
- Work your way up to 10 minutes.
- When getting off the cushion, roll to the side and push yourself up.
- Once you feel little stretch on Position A you’re ready for Position B.
If 10 minutes at Position A feels easy you’re ready to turn the wedge around for Position B.
(We know that it says not to use it in this position on the packaging but we’ve been in contact with the creators. He agreed that people shouldn’t use Position B straight out of the box, but that it can have great value as they progress, especially with the guidance of a health care provider. Be sure to check with us when you’re in if this is right for you. )
Advanced- Position B (3 levels)
The cut off edge will now be facing your feet. This is a more advanced position because your head is no longer supported by the foam wedge.
The stretch will feel deeper in this position. Please ensure you’re not feeling any strain or pain, just a gentle easy stretch in the front of your neck/throat and possibly upper chest.
If you’re unsure about the placement on your neck please stop and contact us.
There are 3 different positions you can place the wedge in when it’s in this position.
Level 1 is the easiest, level 3 is the most advanced.
- Level 1- Position the angle of the wedge where your neck meets your skull. (top of the neck)
- Level 2- Mid neck
- Level 3 – Where your neck meets your shoulders, (most advanced).
Once you’ve mastered 10 Minutes on Position A please start with 1-2 minutes at Position B, level 1.
Add a minute every day until you’ve worked your way up to 10 minutes at this level. Now you’re ready for level 2, move the wedge to the middle of your neck and start back at 2 min.
Add a minute each session you’re able to until you’re at 10 minutes for Level 2.
Now you’re ready to start level 3 for 2 minutes and slowly increase.
How many times a day should I do this?
Twice a day (morning and night) would be ideal but even once a day has great benefits.
Are there any precautions or “don’ts”?
Don’t over do it, even though we’re putting your neck back to where its supposed to be your body isn’t used to it. Pushing yourself too far can cause too much strain in the joints and lead to subluxations and tension.
When you get up please roll to the side and push your self up, don’t sit straight up.
Never look at your phone or crank your neck to watch a screen while you are on the cushion. Just relax as deeply as possible.
How long will I have to do this for? Weeks? Months?
That depends. If you take steps to correct your posture while at work you will eventually be able to use the cushion sporadically.If you’re like most people continuing to use it for 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week will be a game changer.
Still have questions?
Contact us and we’ll be happy to answer them.