Meet our newest tool for Well Being - The Inversion Table. Inversion tables have long been touted for their benefits in relieving back pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic: Inversion therapy doesn't provide lasting relief from back pain, and it's not safe for everyone. In theory, inversion therapy takes gravitational pressure off the nerve roots and disks in your spine and increases the space between vertebrae.
Well-designed studies evaluating spinal traction have found the technique ineffective for long-term relief. However, some people find traction temporarily helpful as part of a more comprehensive treatment program for lower back pain caused by spinal disk compression.
Your heartbeat slows and your blood pressure increases when you remain inverted for more than a couple of minutes — and the pressure within your eyeballs jumps dramatically. For these reasons, you should not try inversion therapy if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma.
From Healthline: One study looked at 47 people with chronic low back pain and inversion therapy. They practiced inversion therapy in 3 three-minute sets at different angles. The study found that inversion therapy at 60 degrees reduced back pain after eight weeks. It also improved torso flexibility and strength.
For these reasons, inversion therapy may be beneficial for people with:
- chronic lower back pain
- poor circulation
One 2014 study suggests that the zero-gravity nature of inversion can reduce compression. The authors of the study also noted that inversion may potentially prevent disability from back problems. This could also reduce the need for spinal surgery.
Another 2012 study from Disability and Rehabilitation found that people with lumbar disease reduced their need for surgery six weeks after using inversion therapy.
Despite these findings, it’s important to note that back problems are complex. Inversion therapy is not a guarantee against surgery nor should it be an alternative treatment for back pain. Talk to your doctor before trying inversion therapy as a treatment or form of exercise.
Risks of Inversion Therapy
Inversion therapy is deemed unsafe for people with certain conditions. The upside-down position increases blood pressure and decreases your heart rate. It also puts significant pressure on your eyeballs. Your doctor may not recommend inversion exercises if you have certain conditions, including:
- bone and joint disorders, such as osteoporosis, herniated disk, fractures, or spinal injuries
- cardiovascular disorders, such as high blood pressure, stroke, or heart disease
- diseases or infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), ear infections, glaucoma, or cerebral sclerosis
Other factors that may cause complications include:
- retinal detachment
- use of blood clotting medications
It also takes time to adjust to inversion therapy. It’s best to start off in shorter increments (slowly building from one-minute sets to three) to get used to the process. This can help reduce side effects such as dizziness or muscle strain.