Do Inversion Tables Work?

Published Categorized as Inversion Therapy

Do inversion tables work? The simple answer is yes. The more complicated answer, however, is the one you really need to understand. There are specific things these tables can do, some things they can’t and some potentially harmful effects you should know before you decide to use one yourself.

The benefits of inversion tables have been debated for years. Physicians can be found on both sides of the fence. Manufacturers point to clinical trials for proof. Government agencies are concerned about the claims some manufacturers make.

During the days of Hippocrates, he suspended people upside down using ropes and pulleys to allow the body to stretch. Inversion tables are today’s versions of Hippocrates’ suspended patients.

Plenty of research has been made about whether or not inversion therapy does something good for the body and many people have actually benefited from the use of inversion tables.

At the end of the day, all you want to know is if an inversion table will solve some physical issue you are trying to address. Let’s break down the claims and go through some important pieces of information.

Reduce Back Pain

The number one reason people look to these devices is to help reduce or eliminate back pain. In an article by Robert Chou, MD, regarding subacute and chronic low back pain, 84% of the population will experience some form of lower back pain in their lifetime. Most will attempt some form of self-treatment.

Increased Mobility and Back Strength

Another reason people choose to try using an inversion table is to increase mobility. It’s thought that using gravity to decompress the spine will allow for more flexibility.

Again, considering that the effects of inversion are likely temporary, those who describe seeing some benefit might be leveraging those periods of relieved back pain to improve their overall flexibility because they feel better enough to do normal exercises that target the back.

Sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy – one hopes that they can use an inversion table to improve mobility and, when they do feel better after practicing inversion therapy are able to tackle exercises they could not perform before which are the acts that truly increase mobility but one assigns responsibility for the benefit to the inversion table. Regardless of how one gets there, the table might kick of a chain of events that lead to increased mobility.

Make You Look Younger

Here’s an interesting claim – that inversion tables can make you look younger. We’d all like to find the fountain of youth but there is no magic bullet that erases the mark of age without some compromise.

The best things one can do to remain looking and feeling younger is to exercise and eat well. If using inversion therapy helps you perform exercises you might not otherwise be able to perform because of back pain than perhaps the claims that it helps one look younger make sense in some abstract relationship.

However, I would not suggest that anyone try an inversion table for the sole purpose of looking younger.

Inversion Table Risks

Regardless of the final outcome of any clinical trials on inversion tables, almost all references suggest that there are risks one should understand before trying this type of gravity therapy.

Resting upside down for any period of time does have a proven impact on blood pressure. Those who already suffer from high blood pressure or retinal pressure such as is associated with glaucoma should not attempt inversion therapy.

Other conditions that do not mix with inversion therapy as noted in the UC Berkeley Wellness letter include hypertension, heart disease, and pregnancy.

Constant Motion

What does this all mean? Do inversion tables work or not? Here’s the deal. Lots of people who use them report feeling positive affects and relieved back pain.

However, inversion therapy is not a cure for back pain. It has some temporary benefits that can improve how one feels so that they can then do the things that will have more long-term benefits towards back pain (exercises) and mobility (stretching).

There are risks involved and one should always consult a doctor before trying inversion therapy and should follow any product instructions to the letter.

The Table

An inversion table is an exercise table that is designed in such a way that the user’s feet are placed higher than the head. The body is positioned upside down, so the gravity works in the opposite direction, which is believed to reduce the bad effects of gravity.

Doctors or physical therapists recommend inversion tables to their patients with pain.

Do inversion tables help lower back spasms?

Since doctors and physical therapists recommend their patients to use the best inversion tables, these are believed to relieve lower back pains. When a patient is in an inverted position, gravity pulls down his head, shoulders, and all the other parts of his body.

The tables work by employing gravity to put some pressure on the spinal cord, thus stretching it out and creating some space for the gravity to pull between each vertebrae. The discs on the patient’s back are decompressed and the muscles around the discs are loosened. In turn, back pain is relieved.

People who discuss the pros and cons of inversion tables and those who ask do inversion tables work cannot see the comfort in hanging people upside down. For first-time users, dizziness and lightheaded reactions due to blood rushing to head are often experienced. This is especially true to those who suffer from fear or disorientation from being suspended upside down.

However, aside from relief from lower back spasms, inversion tables can also help reduce the tension of headaches. Inversion tables take off pressure from nerves, promote lymphatic drainage and blood circulation, increase flexibility, and greatly improve a person’s mood. Blood can actually flow more freely to the other parts of the body by reversing the effects of gravity.

Inversion Tables for Sciatica Pain

Inversion tables for sciatica pain are also recommended. If you are one of those who are having a hard time hanging yourself upside down, especially if you are treating sciatica, you can start inverting slowly until such time that your body gets used to the feeling.

Inversion therapy can alleviate sciatic symptoms since it acts like a spinal traction by lengthening the spine and creating more space between vertebrae.

It is the safest route to treating sciatica pain since there is no twisting involved. Spend at least 2-5 minutes twice or thrice daily on an inversion table to allow your sciatic nerves decompress.

Do inversion tables work? As discussed, for most patients with back pains, inversion tables stretch their back, which in turn relieve the pain that they are currently experiencing.

Though it does not provide lasting relief from back pain and can be risky for someone with high blood pressure or heart disease, it can alleviate lower back spasms and sciatica pains by taking gravitational pressure of the nerve roots and disks in the spine. If you are considering one, be sure to read a few inversion table reviews to read about the best inversion tables.

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