Do Inversion Tables Work? Are There Any Risks?

a woman on an inversion table

Inversion tables are becoming increasingly commonplace fixtures in people’s homes. These tables offer a relatively safe and effective remedy for mild to moderate back pain. Their design has multiple purposes such as supporting heavy weights and being easy to use. Even so, you may wonder do inversion tables work as promised or are they another gimmick that will soon go out of fashion. You can decide if an inversion table is right for you by learning how it works and what kind of benefits it is designed to offer people who suffer from back pain.

Inversion Table Features & Functions

an asian girl next to an inversion table

An inversion table is a table that can invert all the way to an 180-degree angle. The backboard sits upon a triangular stand that is typically made out of durable steel gauge tubing, stainless steel, or another sturdy material. It also is attached with pins that allow it to swivel up and down as you invert and upright yourself while using the table.

Depending on the make and model of the inversion table, it also may include design features like:

  • A cushioned headrest.
  • Five points of support on the backboard.
  • Built-in vibration or heating pad.
  • Adjustable straps.
  • Vinyl covering on the backboard for easy cleanup.

Even with these built-in features, you may wonder do inversion tables work for people who are tall or moderately to severely overweight. Most makes and models available today can accommodate heights up to six and a half feet and weights up to 300 pounds. If you are taller or heavier than those specifications, you may need to special order your inversion table from a chiropractic supplier or consider another alternative for treating your back pain.

The table itself, however, is lightweight and designed for easy setup and transport. Most tables weigh less than 70 pounds and only require the use of a few simple hand tools like a screwdriver to put together.

Moreover, most inversion table manufacturers include sets of instructions that outline the setup process step by step, ensuring that you can put it together and use it safely in your home. Depending on the type of table you choose, it also might fold up for easy storage in your closet, garage, or shed.

Why Is an Inversion Table Better than Other Back Pain Chiropractic Products?

a woman sitting upside down on an inversion table

As you contemplate the question of do inversion tables work, you also may wonder why you should choose a table over other chiropractic products designed to relieve back pain. What makes an inversion table better than an inversion chair or a pair of gravity boots, for example? The answer to the dilemma of do inversion tables work centers on the fact that they are designed to give you the easiest and fastest back pain relief without putting stress on other parts of your body.

An inversion chair, for instance, allows you to angle yourself backward to realign and put more space in your spinal column. However, it also puts stress on your hips and legs because those parts of your body must remain stationery instead of tilting back with the rest of your upper body. In essence, you are hanging from your knees when you lie backward in an inversion chair.

You may experience relief in your mid to upper back but likewise feel strain and stress in your lower back, hips, and knees. If you suffer from back pain in your full back or want to avoid putting additional strain on your knees, legs, and hips, you should choose an inversion table over a chair.

Similarly, gravity boots put stress and strain on your feet and ankles while you are inverted. As you hang upside down, your feet and ankles are forced to support the rest of your body weight. You may lessen the pain in your back only to experience significant discomfort and pain in your ankles and feet or even in the lower parts of your legs like your calf muscles.

Additional Benefits of Inversion Tables

Moreover, gravity boots do not offer you the same level of safety as an inversion table as you hang upside down. If your boots become loose or the fasteners break, you could fall and severely hurt yourself.

An inversion table has durable straps that you can adjust for the best fit so that you do not fall while you are inverted. You also do not have to exert much energy to fall back into an inverted position as you would if you wear a pair of gravity boots.

That being said, you should still use the appropriate amount of caution when using an inversion table. Much of the debate of do inversion tables work depends on the manner in which you use them. Even if you are well-versed in using one of these devices, we still recommend you to ask someone to be in the room with you.

You may have difficulty sitting yourself upright on the table. You also could experience a medical emergency such as severe acid reflux, dizziness, or even angina for which you will need another person’s help.

Still, an inversion table could be a valuable asset in finding temporary relief from chronic back pain. It also could prevent you from having to take powerful over-the-counter or prescription painkillers or going through painful back surgery.

Bottom Line

So, do inversion tables work or not? Well, it depends on how much you value a safe and effective natural alternative to remedying your minor to moderate back pain. These devices are built for durability and safe use. They also are made to accommodate a variety of body sizes and weights. They offer unique advantages over other chiropractic products like gravity boots and inversion chairs.

They still require that you use them properly and even have someone close by in case of an emergency. However, an inversion table could be your best solution when you want to safely and effectively treat your back pain without going to the doctor, taking pain relievers, or undergoing surgery.

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Steven D. Schiller -

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