Benefits vs Risks

Many people seek out inversion tables to help them relieve back pain. In the video below, you’ll see exactly how this works, and how it can work quickly compared to other back treatments.

However, did you know that there are multiple other benefits that many people experience from using inversion therapy? Here are a few, as noted in the video:

Benefits of an Inversion Table:

  • Improved circulation
  • Stress relief
  • Increased flexibility
  • Mental alertness
  • Better posture
  • Helps realign spine after workouts
  • Can relieve back pain

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In summary:

Over a lifespan, gravity essentially causes the fluid and discs in our spines to compress. This can result in what’s known as a herniated disc or slipped disc that can cause chronic back pain when there is enough pressure put on a adjacent nerves. Therefore, inversion therapy can benefit the spine by increasing the space between discs and many times alleviating the accompanying pain.

Dr John Collins of Springbrook Chiropractic has an inversion table in his office. He has also recommended to many of his patients that they use these devices at home, “to counter or mitigate the many detrimental, chronic, bio-mechanical stressors of modern living”. source

An alternative is to use what is known as an inversion chair. Rather than extending to full length, the person remains in a seated position while inverted. The chair reclines to 70% rather than 100%. This puts less pressure on the leg joints, provides more back support and prevents arching.

Many people experiencing lower back pain (LBP) have reported noticeable pain relief after hanging upside down even after just a few minutes. However, each person is different, as well as each case, cause and recommended treatment.

Possible Inversion Table Risks

All that said, there are potential side effects to using this equipment, according to Edward R Laskowski, M.D.. He states that when inverted for a few minutes, a person’s blood pressure increases, the heart rate slows and pressure on the eyeballs jump. Therefore, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma should not use this form of therapy. He also says that studies have shown relief to be temporary.

Some physical therapists incorporate short-term inversion therapy or “spinal traction” to help alleviate back pain in patients. However, some experts say that this method actually stretches the adjacent muscles and ligaments. Source: Presidents and Fellow of Harvard College

Dr David Greene of the Preferred Pain Center explains what to watch out for with inversion therapy, plus how it is different than spinal decompression treatment. (Note: skip to 1:50 in the video if you want to skip the first part about Arizona weather).

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