If you are already tired of your frequent visits to your chiropractor, an inversion therapy table might be a good substitute. Compared with the expensive chiropractic treatment, this machine will cost you only a fraction of what you pay for regular treatments.
This device requires positioning the user’s feet at a level higher than his or her head. There are even some devices that can fully suspend a person upside down.
The Science Behind The Therapy
Inversion therapy is built on the fact that the pull of gravity creates stress on our body’s bones and muscles, especially on the spine. This is because, in simple terms, gravity pulls our body downwards, from head to feet, while we try to maintain an upward posture.
There are many ways to relieve the strain, and one of the most direct is to reverse the pull of gravity by flipping the body upside-down. This way, the body’s usual downward weight is unloaded – instead of being weighed down from head to feet, the weight or pull is being distributed from the feet down to the head.
As early as the 1970's, studies have suggested that the application of inversion therapy helps stretch and decompress the spine. Thus, it can alleviate related pains and even lessen the risks of conditions like spinal disc herniation and degeneration. And because it also unloads weight from the muscles and nerves, using inversion therapy tables may also be helpful in relieving spasms and joint pain.
Criticisms of Inversion Tables
A health method as novel as inversion therapy is not without its critics.
First of all, there are some health risks associated with flipping the body upside-down. During this position, blood pressure rises, posing a great threat to those who already have high blood pressure or heart problems. The pressure on the eyeballs also increases dramatically, presenting possible damage to those who have eye problems, particularly glaucoma.
There have also been studies that have found inversion therapy to be an ineffective method for curing back pains in the long term. Indeed, this method is known for the quick yet temporary relief that many users experience.
Finally, a lot of the inversion therapy tables in the market provide little comfort to users. Some complain about bothersome ankle locks, others about the quality of the device itself. Being tilted upside-down can be challenging, so it’s important to really look for an inversion table with good ankle padding, comfortable back, sturdy materials, and stable structure.
Praises for Inversion Therapy Tables
Considering these criticisms, many people who have tried inversion therapy have only good things to say about it.
A quick look at product reviews online reveals numerous customer stories saying they have experienced great relief from conditions like arthritis, stenosis, and sciatica. Some got positive results in weeks, some in as early as a few days.
Health experts also suggest that inversion therapy tables may be a good addition to a comprehensive pain treatment program. This means that it may work best alongside other treatment methods in a combination and plan prepared by a professional. Further, they advise to use these devices gradually, especially if you’re a beginner: do not perform a complete reverse right away, but instead start with a minor tilt and work your way towards the upside-down position.
Inversion therapy really is not much different from other physical therapy methods out there. There are risks involved, and there are also rewards. As always, it is best to consult a health professional before using any form of therapy.
To find the best inversion therapy table, there are some factors to consider. The following is a guide towards choosing the best inversion table for your back pain and other health needs.
Choosing an Inversion Therapy Table
Decide whether you are getting a motorized or a manual device
Manual tables require people to make use of the handles placed on the sides of the table bed to reach the desired angle. Motorized tables, on the other hand, can be adjusted easily by controls that are built in. Motorized units cost more than manual ones and may suffer more maintenance problems over time.
Some of you might want to store your inversion therapy tables out of sight when not in use. For storage, you might want to choose a fold-down type of inversion table so that you can easily stow it away. The ease of moving the inversion table depends on how much it weights. You might want to consider this especially if you are not used to handling equipment that is too heavy.
Make comparisons between costs
Inversion tables cost anywhere between $150 to $700 depending on the features and the quality of the device. If you are a beginner, you might want to consider choosing a model that is more pocket-friendly. On the other hand, experienced users can start investing in a unit that is higher in features and quality.
Inversion therapy tables that are made from materials like plastic are found to be less durable than those made from aluminum or steel. Make sure to choose a strong and sturdy inversion table. It should not be rocking or squeaking when you use it. See if the inversion table you are planning to purchase comes with a warranty. Well-known brands often include warranties with their products. However, if the manufacturer is just starting out or is not that well-known in the industry of inversion therapy, chances are there are no warranties to be offered. You can always inquire with your salesperson if you are buying from an equipment store.
Check for perfect fit and comfort
Before purchasing a table, you might want to test it first to make sure it has enough padding installed in it. These paddings are necessary for the user’s maximum comfort while using the device. You should be able to get on and off the inversion therapy table in a smooth manner; plus, you should be able to invert yourself without straining yourself. Check the capacity of the table when it comes to height and weight. This is because you want to make sure that you are getting the inversion table that is the perfect fit for you.
Consider options for ankle support
There are inversion tables that come with simple bars to which users will be able to place their feet in for support during inversion. Other tables come with adjustable ankle straps that hold users in place. Choose which one you prefer and one you are more comfortable with.
Check the inversion angle
Not all inversion tables are made to invert easily at all angles. There are some tables that cannot invert to a 180-degree angle. There are also tables that make it a chore to keep users inverted at mid-positions. For your inversion angle recommendations, it is best to consult a doctor or a chiropractor for your best option.
The final, most important factor to consider when choosing your inversion therapy table is the budget you have for buying a device like this. As mentioned above, there are different types of inversion tables and their prices depend on the features and quality that come installed with it. Choose one that does not go beyond your budget, but make sure to choose one that is not too cheap as quality might have already been compromised.
How to Use an Inversion Therapy Table
This health maintenance device is very easy to use. Just follow the steps outlined below.
Secure the Inversion Therapy Table on a Flat Surface
Make sure you have a friend by your side the first time you use the machine. Your body weight will be supported by the machine. Just in case there’s something wrong with what you did during the assembly, the machine will break down and you might end up hurting yourself.
Read the manual carefully and have your friend assist you in getting on the machine and in doing the exercises.
Wear Rubber Shoes
Do not use the inversion therapy table barefooted or using slippers. Slippers can easily get tangled with the machine. Also, there’s a good chance of hurting your feet if they are unprotected by good athlete’s shoes.
Lay on the Length of the Inversion Table
Lay with your back on the machine. Pull the lever up and then lock your feet appropriately. Push your body a little upwards or downwards to make sure that your midsection is aligned with the machine’s center.
Lock the Straps
There are many straps to lock and different brands and models have different locking systems. Check the ankle bar and the body straps. Make sure that after everything is put in place, you feel secure all throughout your body. Do not proceed if you feel that something is loose or you sense something is lacking. Once sure, you are ready to do your first ever exercise on an inversion therapy table.
Push the Straps at Your Sides
Push these straps sideward. This action will cause the table to move and invert your body. You can hang there for as long as you want, but for beginners, it is advised not to keep hanging longer than necessary. The body must get used to being inverted first, so it might be dangerous to push the body too far during the initial use. Blood will rush to the upper body towards the head following the law of gravity. This is an example of what the body has to bear or put up with exercises associated with the use of an inversion table.
Go Horizontal Again
After one or two minutes of being inverted, go back to a horizontal position by lessening your hands’ force on the straps at your side. This will allow the blood to adjust and go back to normal circulation. If you wish to continue, you can go back to the inverted position again. Once you are finished, just revert to the starting position and unhook your body.
Special Inversion Table Procedure for Back Pain
The use of an inversion therapy table is not recommended for people who are experiencing chronic back pain. If your back pain condition goes on and off, it might be because you are suffering from a chronic case of back pain. You should not use an inversion table until you have consulted with your physician. For non-chronic cases, there are usually few, if any, restrictions.
Here are the steps on how to use an inversion therapy table for mild back pain:
- Strap the bottom part of the machine. This will ensure that you will not go all the way to full inversion once you push the straps at the sides. Many models use an angle dial to guide users. Keep the angle below 45 degrees during the first week. Additionally, make sure you will not make unnecessary movements as drastic movements can easily lead you to getting hurt or injured.
- Push the handles for you to secure yourself on a horizontal position. Feel the blood rushing through your body. Then slowly push the handles to bring your body to a 45-degree position.
- Put your hands in the air, but keep watch on the stability of your position and that of the machine. Push your hands more and feel the traction effects taking place in your spinal column.
- Record the levels of pain you are experiencing in a journal. If the pain is lessening, then you are doing something good for your body. Otherwise, you have to reduce the frequency of exercises or lower the angle further. Better yet, get advice from your doctor on how you should proceed.
Always remember to consult with your doctor before trying an inversion table.