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3 Surprising Benefits of Inversion Table Therapy

What is Inversion Table Therapy?

Inversion therapy is a form of therapy where an individual is suspended upside down. Doing so stretches the spine and helps to relieve pains in the back. Inversion therapy is based on the assumption that by altering the body’s gravity, you can ease the pressure off your back while helping your back to gain traction.

Because of how it works, inversion therapy may be helpful for people with the following secondary conditions:

  • Scoliosis
  • Poor circulation
  • Chronic low back pain
  • Sciatica

This article explains the benefits of inversion therapy, as well as the risks and how it is practiced.


How does Inversion Table Therapy Work?

Inversion therapy works on the premise that inverting a person helps to reverse the effect of gravity on the body. Gravity causes the spine to be compressed by the backbones, joints, and muscles, thus leading to chronic back pain.

So, with inversion therapy, the spine will be decompressed. You can liken it to physical manipulation or a gentle massage. It helps you to find relief from chronic back pain and other similar symptoms.

It is important to note that inversion therapy should be done only under a doctor’s supervision.


Is Inversion Table Therapy Supported by Science?

Inversion therapy is helpful for back pains. It also stretches the circulatory system, thus helping to prevent future health problems. However, research is still ongoing to discover more of its benefits and how it works.

Theoretically, inversion therapy helps the spine by:

  • Decreasing inflammation
  • Flushing out waste from the spine
  • Increasing the circulation of blood through your muscles
  • Allowing the buildup of protective fluid around your spine discs

Is There Any Evidence that Proves Inversion Table Therapy Works?

This study examined 47 patients experiencing low back pain. The patients underwent inversion therapy in sets of 3-minutes at different angles. Results from the study showed that eight weeks of inversion therapy at 60 degrees caused significant relief from back pain. It also improved the strength and flexibility of their torso. Here are three benefits of inversion table therapy:


1) Improves Spinal Health

Theoretically, inversion therapy can create more space between your spinal discs, and ease the pressure. Physical activities like bending, running, and sitting pressurizes your spinal discs. This can increase your risk for secondary conditions such as lower back pain or collapse of your vertebra.

2) Improves Flexibility

Inversion therapy may also improve one’s flexibility. Spinal micro movements strengthens the body. Practicing inversion therapy makes it easier to bend. Also, it is believed that inversion therapy can improve posture. This is very beneficial for those who do a lot of desk work.

3) Reduces the Need for Surgery

A study conducted in 2014 showed that inversion may ease compression. Its zero-gravity nature also prevents the disability that may arise from back problems. With this, spinal surgery may not even be necessary.

A 2012 study published in Disability and Rehabilitation found that patients with the lumbar disease did not need surgery after practicing inversion therapy for 6 weeks.

These findings are very encouraging. However, it should be noted that many factors can contribute to back problems, thus, it is a complex condition. As such, you should consult your healthcare provider before undergoing inversion table therapy.


What are the Risks of Inversion Table Therapy?

Inversion therapy may not be suitable for all back pains. You see, the inverted position causes a rise in blood pressure. It also decreases heart rate. What’s more? The pressure on your eyeballs may rise significantly.

Inversion therapy may not be recommended for people with the following conditions:

  • Acute joint and bone disorders, like spinal injuries, ruptured discs, osteoporosis, and fractures.
  • Cardiovascular conditions, like stroke, heart disease, or high blood pressure.
  • Glaucoma, severe head pressure, headaches, and vertigo/dizziness.
  • Infections or diseases, like ear infections, cerebral sclerosis, and conjunctivitis.

Some conditions may also trigger complications. These include:

  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Retinal detachment
  • Blood clotting medicines

Adjusting to inversion therapy may take some time. You’re better off starting it gradually. Your chiropractor will guide you appropriately. Doing it gradually will help you to get used to the process. It will also minimize the side effects, like a muscle strain or dizziness. You mustn’t do it excessively.


References

Jee, Yong-Seok. (2013). The effect of inversion traction on pain sensation, lumbar flexibility and trunk muscles strength in patients with chronic low back pain.Isokinetics and exercise science. 21. 237-246. 10.3233/IES-130506.


Raut A, Bagde S. (2014). Inversion therapy and zero gravity concept: For all back pain problems. Journal of Mechanical and Civil Engineeringe-ISSN: 2278-1684


Prasad, K. S., Gregson, B. A., Hargreaves, G., Byrnes, T., Winburn, P., & Mendelow, A. D. (2012). Inversion therapy in patients with pure single-level lumbar discogenic disease: a pilot randomized trial.Disability and Rehabilitation,34(17), 1473–1480. https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2011.647231

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