Inversion Therapy Benefits, Device Types and Risks

Inversion therapy is a physical therapy technique that utilizes gravity to decompress the spine. Studies have shown it to help with back pain and spondylolysis, but it can be dangerous if not done properly. The benefits are said to be increased blood flow, release of endorphins, and relief from stress and anxiety. This article will discuss common device types used for inverting as well as risk factors associated with these devices.


If you seek a natural way to relieve back pain, inversion treatment is a good option. With the help of an inversion table or chair, you may have this non-surgical therapy in the comfort of your own home.

What are some of the advantages of inversion therapy? Pain relief, as well as increased strength and flexibility, are all potential advantages. Before resorting to surgery, a doctor may recommend inversion therapy for persistent back pain. Inversion therapy may also help to relieve muscular tension and improve circulation.

Is this some kind of new fad procedure? Hippocrates (often known as “the father of medicine”) is credited with inventing inversion treatment circa 400 BC. However, inversion therapy reviews now show that although many individuals find comfort from this gravity-defying treatment, many skeptics dispute its usefulness and safety.

Inversion Therapy and How It Works

Inversion therapy is a non-surgical procedure that relieves gravity strain on the spine and increases space between the vertebrae. It’s a kind of spinal traction or decompression treatment that helps to ease back pain.

The inversion table is a typical kind or instrument of inversion treatment. To utilize it, you must first secure yourself in the inversion table (usually by your ankles and waste) and then hang entirely upside down or at an inverted angle. The table may be adjusted to whatever angle you like, but the idea is that your head will be towards the floor, reducing the impact of gravity on your body. An inversion chair and inversion boots are two further options for performing this noninvasive treatment.

“Even at a 15-degree angle, your body will feel a slight muscle stretch and the advantages of enhanced blood and lymph circulation,” says Lali Sekhon, MD, Ph.D., FACS, FAANS. In addition, the spine decompresses at this position, so most individuals don’t need to go beyond 60 degrees.”

On an inversion table, how long should you hang upside down? Starting with 30 seconds to one minute of treatment and progressively increasing the duration by a minute or two is typically advised. Of course, it’s always good to discuss your health objectives with your healthcare professional or physical therapist to get precise advice.

What kinds of conditions may be helped by inversion? With this treatment, people with back pain, scoliosis, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, and general muscular tension have been known to seek alleviation from their ailments.

Potential Advantages

1. Reduction in Back Pain

Is it possible to employ inversion treatment for sciatica or degenerative disc disease? Sciatica and degenerative disc disease are two more typical problems for persons who use inversion treatment, in addition to general back discomfort (particularly lower back pain).

Inversion traction is useful for persistent low back pain, according to a research published in 2013. Inversion may be done to varying degrees. Over eight weeks, the individuals were required to do three sets of three-minute inversions at either 0, 30, or 60 degrees.

For individuals with persistent low back pain, the researchers discovered that a 60-degree angle was the greatest for reducing back pain and suffering while simultaneously enhancing lumbar flexibility and trunk strength.

2. The Possibility of Avoiding Surgery

It’s not a guarantee, but some studies and eyewitness stories suggest that inversion therapy may help some patients with persistent back pain avoid surgery.

Some patients with backache and sciatica caused by protuberant disc conditions were able to avoid surgery, according to a 2012 pilot randomized experiment published in the journal Disability and Rehabilitation.

Surgery was avoided in 10 patients (77%) in the inversion group, but only two (22%) were in the control group. “Intermittent traction using an inversion device resulted in a considerable decrease in the requirement for surgery,” the research says.

“From the moment we are born, and throughout our lives, we wage a relentless struggle against a downward compressive force of nature known as gravity,” according to a 2014 scientific paper.

The article explains how inversion traction treatment and the zero-gravity idea may help with a variety of back disorders (such as sciatica, herniated or slipped discs, and scoliosis) while also reducing the need for surgery.

3. Improved Flexibility and Posture

Poor posture and a lack of flexibility may be caused by common behaviors such as sitting for too long and not getting enough exercise.

Inversion treatment is intended to promote spinal decompression, improved circulation, and relaxed muscles, all of which may lead to improved flexibility and alignment, which can assist in improving posture.

4. Enhancement of Lymphatic Flow

The body’s lymphatic system is in charge of fluid drainage, transportation, immunological response, and disease defense. Our lymph nodes filter the fluid-driven out of the bloodstream during regular circulation to remove dangerous items such as germs and aberrant cells.

Another advantage of inversion treatment is that being upside down improves lymphatic flow and waste clearance.

Types, Devices, and Methodologies

If you wish to pursue inversion treatment, you may utilize a variety of equipment and procedures, including:

  • Inversion table therapy: An inversion table is the most popular equipment for hanging upside down and practicing inversion. An inversion treatment table is a cushioned table with hinges attaching it to a metal frame. A detachable headrest cushion and an adjustable lumbar support pad are also common. You must strap yourself in (always read the equipment instructions carefully), and the table may turn over or adjust to various angles. The prices of these tables often vary from $99 to $500.
  • Inversion treatment chair: Inversion therapy chairs allow you to sit in a sitting posture with your head below your feet. A chair, unlike a table, does not go all the way back, but it may still be reversed to 70 percent. Inversion chair designers often claim that they may be used on their own, give better posture support, and put less strain on the leg joints.
  • Anti-gravity inversion boots: These ankle boots attach onto a horizontal bar and enable the wearer to hang upside down by their feet. This inversion choice gives you the greatest flexibility when it comes to inversion treatment exercises.
  • Inversion treatment without a table or other equipment: A variety of inverted yoga positions may be used to do inversion therapy without a table or other equipment (such as a supported headstand).

Precautions and Risks

Is it safe to use inversion tables? Increases in blood pressure, pulse rate, or ocular pressure are all possible inversion table side effects. This is why anyone with high blood pressure, heart disease, or glaucoma should always consult with their doctor before utilizing an inversion table or any other inversion method.

Another danger is falling off inversion equipment when getting on or off or not being securely strapped in.

Is it possible to die on an inversion table? Some people have claimed to have died after being trapped upside down on an inversion table. If you’re practicing inversion at home, you should do it under the guidance of a professional or, at the absolute least, have another adult around.

Other disorders that may make inversion treatment contraindicated include:

  • Glaucoma or a detached retina are examples of eye disorders.
  • Circulatory issues or heart conditions
  • having a medical device installed
  • fracture
  • damage to the spine
  • hernia
  • obesity
  • osteoporosis
  • pregnancy
  • Infection of the eyes
  • Infection in the ear

This is not an entire list, so consult your physician before doing inversion treatment.

Last Thoughts

  • Inversion therapy is a non-surgical procedure that relieves gravity strain on the spine and increases space between the vertebrae.
  • An inversion table is the most typical equipment for this treatment, although alternative possibilities include an inversion chair or anti-gravity inversion boots. Inverted yoga positions may also be used to practice inversion without the need for any apparatus.
  • Is inversion treatment effective? Inversion therapy reduces pain and improves circulation for some patients.
  • People with persistent back pain (particularly lower back pain), sciatica, scoliosis, or poor circulation may benefit from inversion treatment.
  • Inquire with your doctor or physical therapist about how often you should invert, which motions to execute while inverted, and how long each inversion session should last.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the dangers of using an inversion table?

A: Inversion tables can worsen your back pain. If you have lower or upper extremity joint issues, then use caution when using an inversion table, as it may increase the risk of injury.

Who shouldn’t use an inversion table?

A: People with low back pain, a herniated disk in the lower back, or pregnant women.

Are inversion tables bad for your brain?

A: The inversion table is actually a great way to relieve your body from the impact of gravity or pressure. However, it can also cause some problems like dizziness and nausea if you do not feel well after use.

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