The first method of neck traction is something that gives a stretch to the neck, but also helps to restore the alignment- that’s the “C” curvature in the cervical spine. There are a few ways to do this, the first being a traction unit, like the pronex or posture pump. These devices do a great job and are so easy to use- lay back on it, Velcro a strap and pump it up. The pronex is the Cadillac of traction units and is a little more expensive, but the posture pump is a great traction device also. You can also buy a roll cushion to lay on with a weight strapped to the head. This option is not as easy to use, but it is a lot cheaper and does work. There are also other varieties of neck traction products. This type, that works with curvature in the neck while stretching the neck, is what I call true neck traction.
The next method of neck traction is one that just stretches the neck upward. This is more for immediate pain relief. By stretching the neck, you open up the holes between each vertebrae where the nerves come out. Taking pressure off of these nerves is what gives pain relief. A couple options for this are the over-the-door traction or the TracCollar. The TracCollar is a little easier to use because you literally hook up a couple straps and pump it up whereas the other one you have to hook it up, fill up a bag of water and so on.
Both kinds of devices will help. The neck stretch only will often times help to mobilize the spine so things fall into better alignment. It will also relieve pain directly by opening up the spine and discs. The true neck traction will do this and also help give more long-term relief by stretching ligaments as well, which will help the spine stay in good alignment.