Traction assists by stretching the soft tissues and pulling the soft tissues apart. This has the same effect as opening or enlarging the space where the spinal nerve exits from the spinal canal.
Intermittent traction is used most often. The pull is applied for a period of time. Then the traction is released for about half that length of time.
Traction is not advised for patients who have damage to the spinal cord itself. This condition is called cervical myelopathy when it occurs in the cervical (neck) spine. Traction can put a stretch on the already compromised spinal cord. So before using this as a home remedy for neck pain, seek out the services of a physician or physical therapist who can advise you appropriately about using this particular treatment modality.