Inversion Table Benefits

Last update February 15, 2019
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Those who suffer from spinal pains have probably heard about inversion therapy and many might have even tried it using one of the inversion tables offered in varieties on the modern market. By turning your body upside down and using anti-gravitational effect, inversion therapy ensures natural spine stretching and relieves back pains. If you are only thinking about trying inversion therapy, below, you’ll find a detailed and informative overview of all inversion table benefits as well as its scope of application.

What Is an Inversion Table

Despite its name, an inversion table is not actually a table. It’s a kind of fitness machine or exercise equipment you’ll most often come across in fitness centres and clinics dealing with spinal problems and back injuries rehabilitation. It’s a special fitness tool designed for inversion therapy. Basically, there are two types of devices following pretty much the same principle of operation. It’s an inversion table that looks like a hammock attached to a metal frame and featuring a number of straps to securely and safely fix you in a vertical position and an inversion chair that can be used for a number of exercises in a sitting position and also folds out straight for inversion therapy. Both devices are fitted with solid ergonomic backs to support your body posture and two convenient handles for you to hold while turning yourself upside down. The back is not fixed and easily bends backwards until you reach the necessary inverted state.   

What Are Inversion Tables Good For?

Those who are into physical yoga practices know firsthand that the whole yoga concept is build around stretching exercises and there is a whole variety of inverted poses in yoga that involve putting your feet above your head. Since yoga is an ancient practice, it means that people knew about inversion therapy benefits long ago. Reversing the negative effects of gravity, an inverted position allows successfully tackling a number of physical issues and improving the state of your mind as well. Today, thanks to inversion equipment, you should not necessarily be a yoga practitioner to stand on head. Health benefits of inversion table are similar to those achieved with traditional yoga poses.

The most common use of an inversion machine is to alleviate back pains. However, it’s worth noticing that benefits of using an inversion table go far beyond only spinal aches and discomfort and cover the advantages you wouldn’t even expect from that kind of equipment. Let’s have a closer look at all the health benefits you can get using an inversion table on a regular basis.  

A Pain Killer Effect

Many people suffer from back pains due to injuries or certain health conditions. No need to say that all sorts of back ache, be it strain, stress, pressure, tension, or acute pain, greatly limit our physical abilities affecting all spheres of our life. Today, modern medicine offers a variety of treatment schemes for states causing back pains involving medical treatment and different kinds of therapeutic physical training, yet, more and more often, it prescribes invasive surgery that is pretty complex, painful, and requires months of recovery and rehabilitation afterwards. However, the biggest issue is that surgery is not a magic bullet and eventually, the pain might back and you might end up just where you started.

Exercising on an inversion table, great chances are that you will get rid of annoying back pains in a couple of weeks and even eliminate the need for surgery.       

Do Inversion Tables Work for Lower Back Pain?

Both people who lead a sedentary lifestyle and active individuals can suffer from lumbar and lower back pains at a certain stage. Continuous sitting or standing in a static position causes a kind of muscle stasis, strains your spine and overloads your edgebone, while intensive workouts put a lot of stress on your bones and muscles compressing your joints and spine. This is where inversion therapy will come to help.

Hanging upside down on an inversion table, you will stretch and strengthen muscles and soft tissues along your spine, meanwhile, taking the pressure off the nerves and spinal discs. Strange as it might seem but an inversion table can help you forget about soreness and aches in lower back area without taking any medicines, making therapeutic massage or doing some complex exercises. This is how inversion works:

  1. By decompressing your vertebrae and relaxing tense back muscles, it will quickly improve your posture.
  2. By keeping your spinal discs duly hydrated and full of jelly material, it enhances your spine flexibility and overall body mobility.
  3. By negating gravity, inversion will realign your spine and improve your weight bearing joint and ligament health.     

To reduce lower back pains, it is enough to stretch your body and spine at a recline no more than 45 degrees below a horizontal position. 10-minute sessions twice a day will provide a perceptible effect in about a week bringing a considerable relief from the very first session.

Inversion Tables for Sciatica Treatment

Sciatica is a widespread back problem causing a whole range of painful feelings, from slightly tingling sensations, stiffness, and weakness to toes numbness and a sharp pain in the back and even leg. This is because the sciatic nerve is rather long and extends from the lower back through the leg right into the foot.

The main problems causing sciatica or radiculopathy include a herniated disc in the lower back or some degenerative disc diseases, spinal fractures and stenosis, slipped discs, and imbalanced or injured muscles pressing the sciatic nerve.

Some would think there is nothing they can do about it or regard surgery as the only possible way out while those who have tried inversion therapy will tell you that it really works. Exercises on the inversion table will help ease sciatic pain by reducing pressure on surrounding muscles, discs, and tissues, increasing blood circulation and oxygen flow in the sore area, and taking muscle spasms off.   

Before using an inversion table to treat sciatica, we strongly recommend you to consult your doctor to avoid injuring yourself and prevent any possible complications. However, there is a set of simple exercises worked out by therapists and professional trainers to tackle sciatic pains and let you experience all the benefits of inversion table.

  1. Decompress your spine and release the pressure on your discs.
  2. Make torso rotations to stretch upper back muscles.
  3. Side arches will help you stretch and strengthen your shoulders and side abdominal muscles.
  4. Extend your arms one by one over your head for a deep back stretch.
  5. When you have enough practice with other exercises and achieve the highest level on intensity, you can proceed with a full inversion to completely stretch your body and relax all your muscles to the maximum.

Note:  If you are new to inversion, always start by inverting to 30-45 degrees within 1 to 3 minutes and gradually increase the recline up to 90 degrees and session duration up to 7 minutes as your body got used to exercises.

To get the most out of your inversion exercises, try to breath deeply and slowly, fully relax, and focus on your body.

How Can an Inversion Table Help With a Pinched Nerve?

How often do you feel pain in your neck and back when sitting on a clumsy chair or sleeping in an uncomfortable position? Have you ever been in a situation when you cannot turn your head or torso after heavy workloads? It’s all about pinched nerves that occur due to excessive pressure of bones, tendons, muscles or cartilage on the nerve. Unlike sciatica, scoliosis, or osteoarthritis, a pinched nerve is not a serious medical problem and it could recover on its own through rest. Yet, sometimes it’s not enough and some help is needed. Of course, you can go to a massage therapist or chiropractor or you can choose inversion therapy that will naturally relieve pinched nerve symptoms. When inverting up to 60 degrees, your spinal column will realign leaving more space for the nerves, while muscles supporting the spine will stretch and relax releasing the nerves they press on.

There Is More to Come

Speaking of body pains, inversion therapy is a great solution not only for different kinds of back pains but also will help ease fibromyalgia symptoms through improvement of endocrine system functioning and reduce headaches by relaxing face and neck muscles and promoting blood circulation to deliver more oxygen to all body tissues. On top of that, inversion therapy also ensures a number of other indisputable benefits:

  1. It improves lung function, helps clear out your sinuses, and strengthens your diaphragm, allowing you to breath deeper and easier and increasing oxygen circulation in all body parts.
  2. When inverted, you heart can have a kind of rest since it does not need to work that hard to pump blood.
  3. By improving lymphatic system functioning, inversion will alleviate varicose veins.
  4. Improved blood circulation and increased lymphatic system efficiency will revitalize internal organs, boost immune system, and increase joints mobility and flexibility.
  5. Apart from improving overall physical state, inversion therapy can improve the quality of your sleep, decrease fatigue, lower stress, and increase your energy level to the maximum.

With all the inversion table benefits, inversion table is also related to certain risks and complications. Hence, it is advisable to consult your physician before your start exercising.