Purchasing an inversion table is an investment in your health that can do more for you than you would ever expect. There are many unique health benefits of inversion table therapy, and owning an inversion table is more affordable than your probably assumed!
Whether your back is worn out from a long day of physical work, or you are struggling due to sitting in the office all day with poor posture, back pain can leave you uncomfortable and wishing you could find a solution that legitimately works. Fortunately, you can improve your back pain without having to spend hundreds of dollars with a chiropractor a month, or paying for a massage every week.
If you are struggling with back pain or issues with your spine, there is always a chance that you will need serious a serious surgery or treatment strategy from your doctor, which is why you should always contact them first.
However, if your back pain is not caused by a serious injury, using an inversion table might make all the difference in the world!
Keep reading below to learn more about the health benefits of inversion table therapy, and which inversion table you should purchase for yourself!
What is an Inversion Table?
For those of you who are not totally familiar, inversion tables are a relatively simple device where you strap yourself onto a form of a “bed,” and tip yourself upside down. With an inversion table, your spine goes through a process called “traction,” which has a variety of health benefits.
During inversion table therapy, your body stays lower than your heart. Physical therapists, doctors, and scientists have discovered the inversion table therapy is useful for both men and women, and that inversion tables are effective for multiple back and spine issues.
According to a study published in the IOSR Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineering,
“Inversion therapy is used to cure back pain caused by degenerative or herniated discs, spinal stenosis or other spinal conditions. The inversion condition cause gravitational pressure to be placed on the nerve roots, resulting in shooting pains in the back, buttocks, legs and feet. During inversion therapy, you turn your body upside down to increase the space and reduce pressure between the vertebrae and nerve roots.”
The concept of using the zero gravity position was actually developed from technology that was used by NASA for astronauts. Researched showed that the zero-gravity position was able to help minimize the enormous gravitational stress that astronauts experienced during take off.
Since then, doctors, occupational therapists, chiropractors, physical therapists, and other health professional have all began to recommend inversion table therapy in the zero-gravity position to neutralize the effects of every-day gravity exposure.
Keep reading below to learn more!
Benefits of Inversion Table Therapy
As I state before, there are numerous proposed benefits of inversion table therapy.
Inversion tables used to be an advanced therapy that was only found in physical therapy offices, but they are now much more readily available for you to have at home.
Check out these specific health benefits of inversion table therapy:
1) Reduce Back Pain
Inversion table therapy can help release you from a variety of types of back pain.
According to a study published in Isokinetics and Exercise Science,
“Inversion traction at angle of −60° reduced back pain or discomfort and improved lumbar flexibility and isokinetic trunk extensor strength in patients with chronic lower back pain (CLBP) following an 8 week program. Therefore, this treatment modality may be suitable for patient groups of similar CLBP phenomenology.”
Unless you are suffering from back pain that is caused by a serious injury, you can probably reduce your symptoms of back pain on your own with inversion table therapy. If you do have a serious back injury, a doctor or physical therapist can likely use inversion table therapy in combination with other treatments to improve your back pain as well.
2) Improved Spinal Health
Spinal health problems are a common health problem for many people throughout the world. Specifically for people who are over 40 years old, spinal health is a legitimate concern.
Using an inversion table can provide a few specific benefits for your spinal health. According to a study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy,
“Significant increases in total mean anterior separation, total mean posterior separation, and total mean intervertebral foraminal separation were determined. Mean anterior separation was significant at all levels except L3-L4. Mean posterior separation was significant at all levels except L1-L2 and L5-S1. Mean intervertebral foraminal separation was significant at all levels but L5-S1. If increases in intervertebral dimensions play a role in the relief of low back syndrome, then gravity-facilitated traction may be an effective modality in the treatment of this condition.”
Furthermore, according to a study published in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation,
“This study concluded that inverted positioning for short periods significantly increased spinal length and reduced emg activity of the superficial lumbar area musculature of normal males. These findings complemented the clinical observations of several authors.”
Amongst other health benefits, inversion table therapy can allow for more space between the discs of your spine, increase overall spine length, and reduce the pressure on the lumbar area due to improving spinal health.
3) Increased Flexibility
I am not entirely sure where the quote came from, but I once heard the phrase “you are only as old as your spine is flexible.”
Every day, when you sleep in a horizontal position, you reduce your spine to a limited degree.
At this time, fluids come back to your disks. As your age increases, your disk “jelly” will be further reduced. To deal with the problem of the old age, using inversion table therapy can help you increase your spinal flexibility and mobility.
Although the research is currently inconclusive, it is likely that regular inversion table therapy helps increase spinal flexibility as well.
According to a study conducted at the William Paterson University of New Jersey,
“The results indicated that there was a significant difference between various trials of the Schober test, the sit and reach test, and
the trunk extension test, however, the measurements were not significant enough to conclude that inversion tables improve flexibility in the spine over a 6-week period.”
4) Reduced Need for Surgery
Any surgery is a painful and time-consuming procedure. If you can, you should avoid it.
Inversion table therapy does not guarantee a reduction in back pain entirely, but it can certainly help you reduce back pain in my situations.
According to a study published in Disability and Rehabilitation,
“Intermittent traction with an inversion device resulted in a significant reduction in the need for surgery. A larger multicentre prospective randomized controlled trial is justified in patients with sciatica due to single level lumbar disc protrusions.”
As long as you consult with a doctor or physician beforehand, using inversion table therapy can potentially fix your back issues and help reduce the likelihood you will need a surgery.
5) Inversion Table Therapy Can Help with Muscle Tension and Ease Muscle Spasms
One of the most common reasons for chronic back pain is tense muscles. This is especially true if you work a job which requires alot of physical labor, or a job where you are sitting at a desk for multiple hours in a row.
An inversion table can help your muscles and spine to decompress, getting the weight off of them and allowing them to stretch out. This helps the muscles and soft tissues around your spine to relax, leaving you feeling better.
Spending just a few minutes a day on the inversion table can help fight off the kind of back pain that comes from tense, tight muscles.
According to a study published in Manual Therapy,
“Traction mechanism to relieve pain seems to separate the vertebrae, remove pressure or contact forces from injured tissue, increase peripheral circulation by a massage effect, and reduce muscle spasm.”
Muscles can begin to spasm when they don’t get adequate care and relaxation. Sometimes they can even hint toward a more serious issue that needs to be cared for. This kind of issue can be due to too much strain on your back, or problems related to herniated discs or similar problems.
It can also help with re-aligning your spine to get it into good shape so that you’re in better shape for the next day of work. Unlike quick and easy options like pain-reducing medicines, the inversion table can allow your body to actually heal rather than just numbing the pain.
6) It Can Help Your Joints
Just like your bones and muscles, your joints can degenerate or become damaged and cause back pain. There are also joint diseases that can cause a loss of the cushion that typically fills and surrounds them. When that happens, normal everyday tasks can become difficult and painful.
Being able to decompress your muscles, bones, and joints will allow your joints to have a chance to be healed by the synovial fluid that naturally runs through them. With your muscles relaxed, that fluid is more easily able to be stimulated to flow into your joints, nourishing them and keeping them in a healthier state.
When combined with regular exercise and stretching, you may just find that your joints are feeling good as new.
7) It Can Help Reduce Pain From a Herniated Disc
Between the discs in your back, there are small pockets of a gel-like fluid that can escape when one of your disc degenerates to a certain state. When that happens, the leakage can put pressure on other discs in the area, creating discomfort and pain in multiple areas of your back and even your legs.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Research in Advent Technology,
“The efficiency and benefits from inversion define a broad spectrum of patients and conditions. Patients who present with numerous conditions such as herniated or bulging discs, sciatica, spondylolisthesis, scoliosis, muscle spasm and even lymphedema, can benefit from inversion”
As you use an inversion table, your spine will be able to stretch out and decompress.
This takes some of the pressure off the discs surrounding the herniated one. It can also help with allowing your spinal fluids to flow easily and heal the tension on the discs as well as getting the herniated one back into the correct placement over time.
Through inversion table use, you can relieve pain and rejuvenate your back so that it can heal naturally.
Who Should Not Use an Inversion Table?
Inversion therapy is not recommended for patients with issues with their heart, high blood pressure, eye issues, obesity, and pregnant women.
For patients who are suffering from eye problems, they should not use inversion table therapy because it may cause pressure or sometimes bleeding. According to a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology,
“Although visual fields were unchanged after inversion, glaucomatous eyes may be particularly susceptible to such changes and unable to withstand the transient but significant increase in intraocular pressure that occurs after assuming an inverted position. We recommend that patients with ocular hypertension or glaucoma refrain from this activity.”
For those with high blood pressure, inversion table therapy has been shown to increase blood pressure even more. According to a study published in Physical Therapy,
“Both systolic and diastolic blood pressures increased significantly. This increase with inversion indicates a need for caution when using inversion traction as a treatment technique for low back pain. Hypertensive individuals may need to avoid its use.”
Inversion Chair vs Inversion Table
There is a general consensus that inversion therapy is worth it; and evidence in the field validates this fact. Not surprisingly, the medical world seems unfettered in its use of inversion chairs and tables as a way to resolve many health conditions using traction therapy.
Similarly to an inversion table, an inversion chair is a good way to deal with your back pain and other health problems. However, there are a few key differences between an inversion table and an inversion chair.
For one, an inversion chair lets you enjoy the traction therapy benefits of inversion even when trying to avoid worsening hip, knee, knee, foot, and ankle pain. Additionally, chairs provide a better DIY use experience.
To top it off, they are just as effective as tables when it comes to alleviating back pain. The chairs are more comfortable too; and their use experience more natural.
However, if you are still unconvinced of their upsides, here are specific reasons why you could choose to use an inversion chair.
An Inversion Chair is More Comfortable
The use of an inversion table is quite drastic and unusual for many; which can be a little off-putting. A chair with the same inversion capabilities provides a more natural form of therapy. Patients can sit comfortably on these chairs and still enjoy the health benefits of inversion.
Being in an upside position is quite awkward, but a chair provides some level of comfort and a feeling of control that can make the inverted position more palatable. These chairs are also quite relaxing, which adds to their the therapeutic benefits they have to offer their users.
More Suitable to People with other Health Problems
An inversion chair provides the gravitational benefits of inversion without putting stress on other parts of the body. For instance, people with ankle problems can find the pressure of lying upside down on an inversion table painful and strenuous.
But with a chair, the pressure of being inverted does not reach the feet or ankles. In a similar manner, delicate hips and knees can be exempted from the strain of lying upside down.
Easy Use Experience
Inversion chairs are easy to use, which is a big plus. Once you sit and secure yourself in place using straps, you can then invert yourself. A table provides a more unusual use experience, which can be an issue for many people.
This makes the chair a preferable option for people in need of an easier use experience as a matter of taste, or due to the nature of the spinal problem they are trying to address.
Lying upside down on a table can severely limit mobility options, or make them extremely labored. But with a chair, movement is much easier. Therefore, in therapeutic situations where the torso needs to move around, a chair is more appropriate.
There are instances where inversion needs to be combined with some torso movement as a way to stretch back and core muscles, or even strengthen them as a way to help lighten the load the spinal column.
More Suited to Unassisted Therapy
Once you have found out that you need traction therapy, and are certain that inversion therapy is the way to go, it might be better to choose a chair over a table. The reason is that a chair is easier to use without the need for additional help.
While it is possible to use a table on your own, the chair is significantly safer.
To ensure an especially easy use experience, focus on getting the very best inversion chair. These products will usually have all the features needed to provide you with an easy and effective use experience in addition to giving you the therapeutic benefits linked to these gadgets.
They Are Effective in Resolving Many Health Issues
It makes no sense to use an inversion therapy method that is comfortable and easy to use but disappointing when it comes to delivering results. Happily, despite these welcome conveniences, the inversion chair is quite effective.
According to a study published in the International Journal of Imaging and Robotics,
“Several tilt tables have been designed and commercialized for this scope, either motorized or gravitational. In this paper we present the mechatronic design and prototype of a novel tilt seat to be used for inversion therapy. The proposed device shows substantial improvements with respect conventional available tilt tables. It is actuated and controlled and is capable to perform static and intermittent inversion for any inclination defined by the end-user. The seat unit can be rocket forwardly and backwardly with full rotation of 360 degrees. Furthermore, the upright and inverted configurations are much more comfortable than those obtained with conventional tilt tables.”
In addition to helping deal with back pain problems as effectively as inversion tables do, they are also effective in alleviating neck pain.
The health benefits of inversion chairs also include better circulation (especially to the brain), better waste removal in the body by the lymphatic system, better physical mobility after spine decompression, and so on.
Additional Therapies to Combine with Inversion Table Therapy
You can easily combine these 3 types of treatments to treat any number of back issues.
An excellent way to combine them would be to begin with some light foam rolling or massage therapy and utilize essential oils. After you have loosened the back muscles, you can use your inversion table.
It is always best to warm your muscles or spine before you stretch, which can help to prevent injuries.
Following your inversion table therapy, you can finish by applying additional essential oils.
Overall, combining these 3 types of treatment will help to reduce many back and spine issues; without ever needing to consider surgical options!
Foam Rolling and Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is a very common form of therapeutic relief for a wide array of bodily issues. Massage therapy can be especially useful for treating back issues, and can be used in conjunction with inversion table therapy as well.
Massage therapy works by loosening your muscles, joints, and tendons, allowing your body to move more naturally and without pain.
Foam rolling is a form of self massage which is also therapeutic for back issues. Foam rolling can be intense for some people, which is why direct massage therapy is often preferred.
If you are an athlete or someone who is often physically active, using a foam roller is an excellent way to loosen your back muscles after training.
You can also try using a percussive massage therapy gun such as the TheraGun G3 Pro.
Essential oil therapy is an excellent addition to both massage therapy, and inversion table therapy. Studies have shown that massaging essential oils in to the back is an excellent way to reduce pain, inflammation, and aid recovery.
There are many different essential oils which can help with back pain, including lavender, chamomile, ginger, and eucalyptus.
Essential oils can have many different benefits for the human body, and relieving back issues is just one of them!
See Also: Essential Oils for Muscle Recovery
What is the Best Inversion Table to Buy (2020)?
If you are interested in inversion table therapy, you can check out Theodgeeks to find the inversion table that is right for you.
There are many inversion table reviews that you can check out to help you to get the right information about which is the best inversion table to purchase. For example, Comparoid provides a detailed review on the best inversion tables.
Although inversion chairs are great, they are generally more expensive. If you do want to purchase one, I suggest the Health Mark IV18600 Pro.
- Adjustable angle belt; 70 percent maximum inversion angle
- Comfortable padded bench and nonslip feet
- Comfortable and supportive seat and back support
- Seat belt for safety
- 300-pound weight capacity
In my opinion, the best inversion table to buy is the Innova ITM5900. This product has a patent-pending vertical massage pad which covers the entire spine area, making for a more comfortable experience. Also, it can provide heat and massage therapy while you are using it!
Furthermore, it has a specific ankle holding system that was designed for comfort. There are cheaper and more expensive options, but I believe this is the best option for a relatively affordable price.
- New Patent Pending Advanced vertical massage pad that covers the entire spine area with a contour integrated lumbar pad to provide a close up heat and massage therapy for the lower back/waist area
- Multi-mode heat and massage settings with auto and manual selection for a completely
- 2-Way Adjustment System: Adjustable Headrest and Adjustable Height, making it easier to find the center of gravity for each individual user
- Improved ergonomic ankle holding system, large front holder and smaller rear holder, to alleviate the pressures on the ankle while inverting
- 5-Position Safety Pin Angle Slot System with Patent Pending Protective Cover for easy positioning and safer inverting; Accommodates users 4ft-10in to 6ft-6in with a 300 lbs weight capacity
Concluding Thoughts – Inversion Table Benefits
If you are going to try inversion table therapy, you should remember that when you are going to do any kind of exercise or therapy for the body it takes a little time to adjust.
At first, only do this therapy for a short amount of time, and then gradually increase the time.
For example, first one minute, then two minutes and after that, and then three minutes. In this way, you can increase the time of therapy and determine how long works best for your body.
If you want a way to ease back pain but don’t have the time or money to spend on frequent chiropractor visits, an inversion table can be an excellent option for you.
It’s well worth looking into a high quality one that you can regularly use to relax and heal your back in a natural, easy way!
Related Reading: Chi Machine Benefits