BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Medical Policy Manual

Cervical Traction Devices for Home Use


Cervical traction devices for home use are noninvasive traction devices intended to stretch the soft tissues of the neck and to separate the spinal joint structures to relieve neck pain.

A variety of cervical traction devices are available for use in the home:





Non powered traction devices are classified as Class I devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 510(k) clearance is not required, although registration with FDA is required. The Code of Federal Regulations describes non powered orthopedic devices as: “A non-powered orthopedic traction apparatus is a device that consists of a rigid frame with non-powered traction accessories, such as cords, pulleys, or weights, and that is intended to apply a therapeutic pulling force to the skeletal system.”

Randomized controlled studies continue to be deficient, and the poor quality of published articles also provides little evidence of the efficacy for the use of ambulatory cervical traction, inflatable cervical traction collars, or pneumatic cervical traction devices. In addition, there is a lack of documentation in published articles for specific duration and frequency of these devices that would aid in net health outcomes.


Cahaba Government Services Administrators, LLC. (2017, January). Local Coverage Determination (LCD): Cervical Traction Devices (L33823). Retrieved August 9, 2017 from

Fritz, J., Thackeray, A., Brennan, G., and Childs, J. (2014). Exercise only, exercise with mechanical traction, or exercise with over-door traction for patients with cervical radiculopathy, with or without consideration of status on a previously described subgrouping rule: a randomized clinical trial. Journal of Orthopedics, Sports & Physical Therapy, 44 (2), 45-47. Abstract retrieved August 9, 2017 from PubMed database.

Kang, J. H., & Park, T. S. (2015). Changes in cervical muscle activity according to the traction force of an air-inflatable neck traction device. Journal of Physical Therapy Science, 27 (9), 2723-2725. (Level 4 evidence)

U. S. Code of Federal Regulations. (1987, current as of August 2017). Title 21, Volume 8. Section 888.5850. Orthopedic Devices, Surgical Devices. Nonpowered orthopedic traction apparatus and accessories. Retrieved August 8, 2017 from




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