About The Neck Hammock

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Jan 4, 2018

The Neck Hammock is a simple, portable, FDA approved medical device that attaches to any door, rail, or pole and promises to provide professional-grade neck pain relief in ten minutes or less. Despite this, the website claims it costs less than a single physical therapy session.

The Neck Hammock accomplishes this using mechanical cervical traction, which boosts circulation and promotes proper alignment, potentially leading to additional benefits like boosted energy, reduced stress, improved sleep quality, and better posture. All you have to do is lie back and relax.

Although The Neck Hammock was created by a licensed physical therapist, does this mean it really will help make solving your neck pain easy, as claimed on the website? Before diving in, let’s start by discussing the underlying issue.

What Causes Neck Pain?

Just like discomfort in any other part of the body, neck pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something’s wrong—but not specifically what’s wrong. In fact, My Virtual Medial Centre explains that:

“Neck pain can present in any of the seven cervical vertebrae (back bones) connecting the base of skull to the thoracic cage. As well as the cervical spine, muscles, ligaments, and soft tissues can also be a source of neck pain. In addition, other structures like the trachea (wind pipe), blood vessels, thyroid gland, and lymph nodes are also found in the neck and can be a source of pain.”

With this said, Spine-Health reports the most common causes of temporary neck pain are sleeping in the wrong position, sports-related injuries, poor posture, repetitive motions, holding the head in an unusual position, and whiplash. On the other hand, chronic neck pain is frequently the result of cervical degenerative disc disease, herniated disc (as mentioned on The Neck Hammock site), osteoarthritis, stenosis with myelopathy, and foraminal stenosis.

Obviously, to figure out which—if any—of these is causing your neck pain, you’ll need to have an in-depth discussion with your doctor. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at the cervical traction offered by The Neck Hammock.

How Does The Neck Hammock’s Mechanical Traction Work?

In the Clinical Sports Medicine Medical Management and Rehabilitation textbook, Joel M. Press and Deborah A. Bergfeld explain that cervical traction—a method of stretching and realigning the spine—is frequently used in professional settings to provide pain relief from cervical spine injuries. This is accomplished via several avenues:

  • Supporting and immobilizing the head
  • Improving head posture
  • Boosting nutrition to cartilage
  • Decreasing disc and nerve pressure
  • Elongating muscles to improve blood flow and reduce spasm”

In a professional setting, such as a physical therapist’s office, this is often provided by bulky, expensive equipment with a harness that rests underneath the neck and lightly pulls to deliver traction. However, with The Neck Hammock, the website tells us you can experience much of the same relief using their affordable, portable device.

Overall, they explain that the process works over three steps:

  1. Wrap the fully adjustable strap around any railing, squeeze between a door hinge, or hook it on a door handle.
  2. Clip the cord.
  3. Place your head in the cranial cradle, feel the temple cushions wrap around the contours of your head and the support provided by the base pad, and relax.

The Neck HammockThe manufacturer reports that The Neck Hammock can provide mechanical cervical traction for pain relief on the go. Credit: The Neck Hammock, Inc.

From there, the video advertises that the device will increase intervertebral space, which will boost blood flow and circulation and deliver more oxygen to the muscles, nerves, tendons, and ligaments. As a result, they tell us you’ll “feel your muscles opening up and your neck pain slipping away for good.”

Then, when you’re finished, it stores away easily in the included spandex bag and can be carried in just about any small to medium size handbag. When the time comes, the device is hand washable.

Could The Neck Hammock’s Cervical Traction Cause Side Effects?

According to a 2011 systematic review of mechanical cervical traction, “Side effects are generally few, but can include headache, nausea, fainting, and injury to tissue.” Healthline adds potential muscle spasms and temporary pain in the treated area.

However, The Neck Hammock’s website emphasizes that the device shouldn’t be used by those with an acute cervical injury, spinal instability or hypermobility, neck tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, osteomyelitis, or those who are under the age of 16.

Even then, they note the device is meant to complement the benefits of physical and massage therapy, but not to replace them. For these reasons, it’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor before choosing any product to address neck pain.

How Much Does The Neck Hammock Cost?

On Indiegogo, Perk options for The Neck Hammock were as follows (estimated delivery February 2018):

  • 1 Hammock: $59
  • 2 Hammocks: $99
  • 4 Hammocks: $189

Each device comes with a free 14-day trial for the Calm App, as well as “The Daily Stretch” e-book.

While no details were provided about the app’s functionality or operating system availability, the e-book is said to help show you how to use simple daily stretches that can “improve your overall flexibility, mobility, and energy levels.”

There also weren’t any refund or warranty details outlined, although the website emphasizes that The Neck Hammock is made from the “highest quality parts that are strong and built to last.”

What’s the Story Behind The Neck Hammock?

The Neck Hammock was originally launched via a November 2017 Kickstarter campaign, which ultimately raised more than $900K on an original goal of just $20K. In fact, the makers tell us the campaign was fully funded within three hours. Since then, they’ve gone on to raise another $1.2 million through Indiegogo.

From a company perspective, The Neck Hammock, Inc. is based out of Santa Monica, CA and was founded by Steve Sudell, whose bio lists him as a Licensed Physical Therapist, Athletic Trainer, and Level 2 Fascial Stretch Therapist. Steve is also owner of Prehab2Perform, a Venice, CA-based outpatient sports physical therapy service.

According to The Neck Hammock website, Steve’s impetus for creating the device was to “give people an alternative solution to mechanical cervical traction completed at their physical therapist’s office that was affordable, convenient, and highly effective.”

Are There Other At-Home cervical Traction Devices Competing With The Neck Hammock?

While we didn’t encounter any devices designed exactly like The Neck Hammock during our research, we did find several others that promised to provide varying levels of mechanical cervical traction in the comfort of your home, and at a wide variety of price points. Some of the top search results included:

Product Price Functionality
The Neck Hammock $59 Can be used in between any door, or around poles, railing, or door handles. Sling design with strategic padding. Includes free app.
Headache Hammock $40 Curved high-density foam that rests on floor. Can be warmed or cooled to enhance effect.
Lo-Bak TRAX $40 A handlebar design that presses on the thighs to provide spinal—not necessarily neck—traction.
Posture Pump $150 Uses a forehead strap and under-neck hand pump to provide customizable traction.
Dr. Riter’s Real-Ease Neck Support $32 Curved plastic and memory foam that rests on the floor to provide mild traction.
Genmine Over The Door Cervical Traction Device $40 USimilar sling design as TNH, but utilizes an over-the-door metal arm and users must manually pull for traction.

Important note: During our research, we encountered dozens of knock-off devices that were very similar, if not identical to, the product in question on sites like eBay. In some instances, these were priced as low as $17, and many even used The Neck Hammock’s stock pictures. By all appearances, these do not appear to be official products.

How can you choose which of the legitimate products will deliver the most bang for your buck?

As we discussed earlier, there can be myriad causes of neck pain, and finding the appropriate relief starts with diagnosing the underlying condition, which can only be accomplished by your primary care physician. As such, we’d recommend scheduling an appointment, where you and your doctor can talk about the issue, perhaps order the appropriate tests, and come to a science-backed conclusion about which steps you should take next.

From there, as a consumer advocacy website, we’d strongly recommend only doing business with companies who offer competitive prices, stand behind their products with robust refund policies and warranties, and who come with mostly positive online customer feedback.

Does this mean you should go ahead and place your order for The Neck Hammock?

Our Bottom Line About The Neck Hammock

Considering its unique design, patented padding that comfortably molds to the contours of your head, and FDA approved status; its ability for users to individually control traction levels, the ease of use and portability, and the fact that it doesn’t include a chin strap that can potentially cause TMJ, there seems to be a lot to like about The Neck Hammock.

On top of this, it appears to be a massive crowdfunding success, having raised nearly $2 million between the company’s Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns.

However, there weren’t any refund or warranty details listed on The Neck Hammock website at the time of our research, nor any way of getting in touch with the company. As such, just like with any crowdfunding campaign, make sure you can do without the money before deciding to pledge.

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14 Consumer Reviews for The Neck Hammock

Average Consumer Rating: 4.6
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 12 4 star: 1 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  1
Bottom Line: 93% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 14
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  • It works!

    • Chicago, IL,
    • Jun 26, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    When I saw an ad for The Neck Hammock pop up on my screen, I was intrigued, yet skeptical. I've had cervical spine issues for many years and have had many rounds of physical therapy as well as several injections and acupuncture. Most nights I sit with a neck heating pad after dinner. This sounded too good to be true, but since it has FDA approval, I thought I'd give it a try.

    It felt very comfortable the first time I used it. After using it daily for a little over a week, I can honestly say my neck and upper back area feels better than it has in a long time. I find it very relaxing to use as it forces me to take a few minutes out of my day to simply relax and do nothing. I just packed it in my suitcase as we are going away for a few days. I didn't want to be without it, and it is definitely small enough to pack in a carry-on size bag.

    This is a product I would recommend to anyone with neck/upper back issues.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Fantastic product

    • High Wycombe, United Kingdom,
    • May 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have had neck and back problems most of my life due to Ehlers Danlos Syndrome. My joints are hypermobile, and my muscles have to work too hard trying to hold my body together. I have monthly osteopathy to try to keep my spine aligned and me mobile. Over the last six months, my neck has been impossibly painful; it was better for a few days after treatment but soon back to hurting and affecting my ability to drive as I could not turn properly. The Neck Hammock has helped immensely. Not only can I relieve the stiffness and pain in my neck whenever I need, but it is a much longer lasting fix. Thank you for such a simple, yet effective product!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    When exercises and massages hit the brick wall...

    As a writer, I often sit at my desk for hours on end. The monotonous posture causes horrible neck pain, meanwhile almost on a daily basis. Exercises and massages do help to ease the pain, but the relief is very short-lived. With The Neck Hammock, however, I feel a relaxation in my neck that I have never felt before. I can feel that those tiny muscles along the cervical spine are finally being stretched and thereby ultimately relaxed. The effect is almost immediate, depending on how quickly you are able to relax your mind and let yourself into it.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    My savior

    • California,
    • May 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have chronic neck pain for over two decades, having gone through doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists, doing stretching, yoga, exercising, and finally painkillers. Over the years the pain simply gets worse and spread to my shoulders, arms, fingers, and my back. When I saw this Neck Hammock through Kickstarter in December, I told myself I had nothing to lose. It took four months to arrive. I almost thought at one point I was foolish to believe in a miracle. Below was my original review after spending 10-15 minutes every single night hanging my head on the Hammock:

    Hi, I received my Neck Hammock at least a month ago and finally got a chance to comment. This is the only device I don’t need to take painkillers to put me to a restful sleep every night. So glad and grateful for it. It’s definitely worth the wait! Now if I can find something similar for my lower back pain. Why am I aware of other pain? Thanks for such a great product!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Great tension reliever

    • Wyalusing, PA,
    • May 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    My husband and I both work on computers every day. Even with using stand-up desks, we still come home with stress and tension based in our necks. The Neck Hammock has been a godsend for us. This copies one of my favorite maneuvers the chiropractor does, and I can do it for myself on a daily basis if needed. I would highly recommend trying it.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 2 people found this review helpful

    Awesome product

    • Gardena, CA,
    • May 3, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Thanks, Dr. Steve, and thank you for The Neck Hammock. Great product, it's very relaxing. Since I have been using it, I have lost tension in my neck, and it feels great. I highly recommend it to everyone.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    So convenient

    I have arthritis in my neck and make my living driving a truck. I have been through physical therapy. My son sent me a link to The Neck Hammock. I was very skeptical about purchasing this product, but after whatever reviews and videos I could find about The Neck Hammock, I ordered it. I used it as soon as I received it. I threw away the set up I had that hangs from the top of my door with a rope and pulleys that I would cradle my head in and literally hang myself to stretch my vertebrae. Now I just relax in a quiet room lying down on the floor to stretch my neck. It’s much easier to set up and much more comfortable to use. I can pack it and use it whenever I travel. I’ve been using The Neck Hammock since February and I don’t regret my purchase.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Simple at home relief

    • Kentucky,
    • May 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I spend a significant amount of time in my car for work. At the end of a long week coupled with hectic schedules with three kids, The Neck Hammock is a life saver. I now look forward to my at home cervical traction sessions for relaxation and relief. My father-in-law recently visited. He mentioned he felt a migraine coming on. Rather than medication immediately, I recommended him try The Neck Hammock knowing he had some increased tension and stress, and it helped him to ward off his migraine. The Neck Hammock is simple and well designed and a tool I love having at my convenience.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Simply amazing!

    I was one of the first 300 backers of this product when it was on Kickstarter. I’m a chronic migraine sufferer, and when I saw The Neck Hammock, I knew it was something I wanted to try. Here is the review I wrote minutes after using it for the first time:

    I used it for the first time today and WOW! Confusing as heck to set up with the included instructions. I had to go to their Facebook page to look at the updated pamphlet. I’ve had a horrid headache for two days now. I’ve taken Tylenol four times in the past two days trying to alleviate the pain. While trying to set this dang thing up, I kept thinking "this thing is overrated if I can’t even set it up right!" Fast forward to 10 minutes after I first laid in it, and I’m 100% a believer! My headache is all but gone! I will be telling other chronic headache sufferers about this miracle product!

    At this point, I’ve had my Neck Hammock for a few months and still love it just as much as I did the first time I laid in it. I use it frequently and feel that it makes a huge difference in the frequency and severity of my headaches because it decompresses the muscles in my neck that get so tight.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 11 people found this review helpful

    Rip off

    • Western Australia,
    • Mar 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    "Dodgey Bros Inc." I ordered mine in January. It said February delivery. Mid-March, still no show. I sent emails and received no replies. Dodgey Indiegogo website. Don't waste your money getting ripped off by these crooks. I couldn't put a minus 5 on the review so had two put 1.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Apr 16, 2018

      Kristina Moore

      This is the cheapest item that I've ever ordered. It does not look like the picture at all. The plastic clasps that hold the neck pillow to the cord hang off, arrived cracked. It has been a pain to deal with NicerGear where I bought it from. HUGE SCAM.

    • Apr 26, 2018

      Steve Sudell Jr.

      Unfortunately you purchased a counterfeit Neck Hammock. The only place you can buy a real Neck Hammock is on: NeckHammock.com, NiceGear is a rip-off site that we have ZERO affiliation with. They stole our images and trademarks and tricked buyers into thinking it was the real thing. Please email us at relax@theneckhammock.com. We would be more than happy to help you out.

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Kudos!

    I personally use the Neck Hammock and it really feels great and it does relieve my neck from pain and from overall stress throughout a day's desk job. You should try this out for an awesome and relaxing experience too! Kudos to you and your team, Steve!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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