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Inversion Tables - Do They Help Improve Spine Health and Reduce Back Pain?

Updated on December 22, 2014

Gravity, that mystifying force that is the adhesive of our world, creating mass and weight, is constantly wreaking havoc on our bodies the longer we are within its grasp. Even though we’re designed to live our lives in an upright position, and gravity is an essential functional force in our biology, over a lifetime, our spine slowly collapses in on itself, compressing and mashing each vertebra together, our faces, chins, and bodies showing the same effects.

The Spinal Column

The bones of the spinal column, and the hundreds of ligaments and muscles and nerves which are wrapped around or protruding from our spine, are compressed slowly, and even when we are sleeping, the compressive force on our spines is reduced only 75% compared to the force applied while fully upright. The effect on the discs between each spinal vertebra from gravity compression ultimately mashes nerve roots, often resulting in inflammation and pain. Discs are like sponges..when they are mashed, they contain no fluid to assist in shock absorption and insulation. The only way to reduce pressure on these discs, and the nerve roots, is to invert your body to at least 60 degrees…this essentially reduces the compression to almost zero, allowing the “sponge” to re-expand, absorbing water and nutrients and returning to its optimal performance level.

Inversion Table
Inversion Table

Benefits of Inversion Therapy

An inversion table even creates a suction like effect, pulling apart vertebrae, causing discs to re-expand slowly, and along with good nutrition and hydration, they can be stimulated to function optimally with proper care. You should always consult your health care provider first, of course, so that damage to discs or other tissues will not be at risk by the moderate exertion and manipulations required to use an inversion table. In fact, if you have serious disc erosion and have unbearable back pain, you should seek medical help before proceeding with a rejuvenating program involving an inversion table. A good candidate is someone like my brother, Marc…He's in good physical condition, active, but has had 2 serious bouts with a compressed sciatic nerve, which sent him literally crawling to his orthopedic surgeon’s such blinding pain, that he could not sit, or even lie down comfortably. His left leg was numb, and he had lost the ability to rotate his left foot fully, due to nerve compression, and the inability for the nerve to properly transmit information back and forth from his brain. He's had the pain shots, done steroids, and ultimately the pain went away, but after 2 experiences with this horrific pain, he decided to pursue a program of self healing. He purchased a Teeter Hangups brand Inversion Table, and opened up a whole new world that he didn’t expect to experience.

Medical Benefits of Inversion Therapy

My Brother's Inversion Table Success Story

He thought that stiffness, constant lower back discomfort, that “kinked up” feeling, and that slight little hunched over feeling in the morning was just part of being over 50. Not so, he soon discovered. After he began a regiment for his back using an inversion table, those sensations started to subside. One day, he discovered he could bend almost all the way over while standing to tie his shoes, with no discomfort, especially upon rising!

The benefits obtained from just a quick 10 minute per day workout on an inversion table can be astonishing. Ever notice that great feeling you get from a simultaneous stretch and yawn? Did you know that you are biologically programmed to periodically stretch, especially in the morning, to “prime” your body for the day..ever watch a cat stretch after a nap? Humans need to unkink, stretch, twist, turn, and stimulate circulation in muscles, connective tissue, and nerve tissue to keep them in operational mode. An inversion table is an amplified version of this stretching process, but in a controlled, structured fashion, adding the benefit of decompressing and really stretching the vertebral column, allowing pinched and mashed nerves and other tissue to expand, fill with oxygenated blood, and rehydrate. Since my brother had started using his inversion table, he has had zero back pain, no sciatic nerve pain, and no numbness.

Inversion Table Exercises and Stretches


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    • Brian Anderson profile image

      Brian Anderson 7 years ago from United States

      thanks mike.. i've got back stiffness myself, and it does work for me.. hopefully, you can get some benefit from a table too.. best of luck..

    • muley84 profile image

      Michael A Muehleisen 7 years ago from Miami,FL

      Very informative hub. As an older male with back stiffness, it is good to see there is something that can be done to help. Nice job.

    • Brian Anderson profile image

      Brian Anderson 7 years ago from United States

      thanks emma. appreciate the nice comment..

    • profile image

      emmasmith 7 years ago

      your posting is good with inversion table for back pain.