Ultimate Guide to Inversion Tables

woman's back

Introduction to Inversion Therapy

Are inversion therapy tables really a revolutionary breakthrough to improving spine health?

By the time you finished reading this, you will learn how inversion therapy tables work to improve back pain, what spinal decompression is, what methods are used for it and the top inversion tables in the market today.

​5 of every 10 working Americans experience back pain symptoms every year.

American Chiropractic Association

Back pain is very common, especially to those who spend a lot of time sitting at work. Study shows that every year, 5 of every 10 working Americans experience back pain symptoms.

Most back pains are treatable with exercise and posture or lifestyle changes. However, for those who are experiencing degenerative spine or back problems that may affect the quality of their lives, the intervention of a chiropractor or therapist might be needed.

Chiropractor Costs

Many people vouch that a visit to a chiropractor greatly improves their back pain condition. Chiropractors have a holistic approach when it comes to healing. They can help alleviate a wide range of health problems, including asthma and PMS.

However, a visit to a chiropractor is not cheap. Spinal decompression therapy costs around $2,445 per 30 sessions, but the benefits are astounding.

Although this amount of money can be worth it for those who are experiencing severe back pain, there's actually a more practical way to do spinal decompression without having to leave home using one of the many tools that are commonly found in a chiropractor's clinic: an inversion therapy table.

Practical Spinal Decompression

Inversion therapy is perhaps the safest way to decompress the spine. It is a proven, effective and non-invasive method to treat back pain that's often caused by degenerative spinal conditions or poor posture. It works by relieving the pressure on discs and nerve roots, which is the main cause of pain.

Chiropractors have a holistic approach to healing back pain and are experts in skeletal health and spinal manipulation.

greek gravity traction ladder

The Origin of Inversion

Around 400BC, Hippocrates thought of inversion to relieve his patient's back pain. Traction refers to the process of straightening broken bones and spine to relieve skeletal and spine pressure. Patients were hung upside-down in ladders to relieve back pains.

It is known that inversion has been around since 400BC and was discovered by the father of medicine, Hippocrates, as a back pain reliever for his patients.

The method has been used since ancient times to cure back pain through spinal traction, as the pull of gravity while in the inverted position is proven to relieve back pain. At the time of Hippocrates (the father of modern medicine), for the purpose of spinal alignment, his patients have been tied upside-down using a ladder. As time goes by, other improvisations for inversion therapy has been used, like tying the patient to a pulley to achieve the same results.

The process is effective due to a process called spinal decompression.

What is Spinal Decompression Therapy?

So why do we decompress the spine and what happens during a spinal decompression session?

Spinal decompression can be done surgically or non-surgically. The non-surgical process of decompression works by stretching the spine. Since gravity has "pulled" our spine downward over time, the spine compresses and puts more pressure on the spinal disks. The spinal disks are soft cushions between the bones of the spine, and the pressure causes some of the disks to be herniated which will then pinch the nerves.

During an inversion process, the spine is stretched to retract the bulging discs, relieving pain caused by pinched nerves. Nutrients are also diffused to the disc, improving spine health as the anolus fibrosus heals.

​The annulus fibrosus is the tough circular exterior of the intervertebral disc that surrounds the soft inner core, the nucleus pulposus. This outer portion is composed of a ring of ligament fibers that encases the inner core of the disc and securely connects the spinal vertebrae above and below the disc. (source - spine-health.com)

Common problems treated by inversion therapy are scoliosis pain, herniated or slip disks, spinal stenosis, sciatica and degenerative spodylolisthesis.

Spinal Decompression Tables

Inversion therapy has gained popularity when people experienced promising results with spinal decompression procedures, which used to be invasive and often involving surgical operations.

Few decades ago, gravity boots had gained popularity and were new tools being used for inversion, which, as you can imagine, can be very inconvenient and dangerous. Hanging on metal bars is still a method used nowadays, but unless you're an athlete and can perform inversion through metal bars unassisted, it's still not a viable option.

Is Inversion Table Only for Back Pain?

Inversion tables are commonly used for spine-related back pain problems. However, inversion therapy have benefits that go beyond relieving back pain.

Gravity has its effects to our body but inversion serve benefits that goes beyond countering gravity effects.

Every time you exercise with an inversion table, your body is realigned and stretches itself. This lengthens your ligaments, relieves muscular inflammation and realigns the vertebrae to relieve pain. Inversion helps relieve varicose veins by aiding in proper venous circulation. During inversion, your body gets oxygenated and this improves your cellular functions too.

Inversion is not comfortable for the first timer, and may not be comfortable for some, especially those who are experiecing sensitive motion sickness. However, oxygenated blood that flows to the brain gives you clarity and a sense of calmness. This is one of the reasons why a lot of people swear by inversion therapy's calming effects. Tension headaches caused by tight neck and shoulder muscles are also relieved during spinal decompression.

Inversion Therapy Methods and Equipment

As spinal decompression gains popularity because of its positive effects to relieving back pain, several machines and products have been made to make the process practical, safe and non-invasive. Spinal decompression machines, gravity boots and chairs have been widely available in the market nowadays. The most practical of all is the inversion table.

Spinal Decompression Machines vs. Inversion Tables

Inversion therapy tables are cheaper than spinal decompression machines. Spinal decompression machines consume huge space and are mostly used in chiropractor clinics for commercial purposes. These machines also require you to have someone to accompany you as they operate machine settings while you lie safely strapped in bed.

Gravity Boots vs. Inversion Therapy Tables

The tables gives you more control compared to gravity boots, because you can choose a slightly smaller angle if you feel uncomfortable hanging completely upside-down. Gravity boots will also require you to have someone to assist you in case you're feeling uncomfortable or would want to stop.

Inversion Chairs vs. Tables

Inversion chairs are like tables, and are more preferable for those who are paralyzed or having physical difficulties because it provides more support and stability.

The idea has been stemmed from inversion tables, making them less awkward to transition from sitting to an upside-down position. However, inversion chairs only take most the pressure off your spine, which means it won't do much work in taking pressure off your lower extremities, which may not help to those who want to relieve lower back problems that stretches down to the legs, which is common to those who are experiencing sciatic nerve problems.

Practical and Portable

Inversion therapy tables are compact and consume less space. Like an ironing table, it can be folded and stored in stock rooms and narrow compartments. You can operate an inversion table even without company and can adjust the angle easily by pulling yourself back up by gripping the side handles.

Are You Qualified to Use Inversion Tables?

Buying an inversion table costs 10 times less than your regular chiropractor visit. However, it is still recommended that you take an initial consultation with your physician before you use an inversion table. Although inversion therapy tables are proven to be safe, it is not a one-size-fits-all cure. Besides, you try to take care of yourself, don't you?

Pregnant women, who are mostly suffering from sciatic nerve problems, should not use inversion therapy to treat this problem.

Successful inversion therapy greatly depends on the qualification of individual patients. Inversion therapy causes a relaxing state that is said to result in a drop in heart rate, however it is wise to consult your doctor first if you suffer from hypertension or any serious medical condition. Pregnant women, who are mostly suffering from sciatic nerve problems, should not use inversion therapy to treat this problem.

Are Inversion Tables Worth the Money?

Inversion therapy tables aren't just convenient, they are also proven effective in spine decompression which leads to improving spine strength and relieving back and leg pains. The best inversion therapy tables are those that are durable, lightweight and gives you complete comfort and control. An inversion therapy table is a powerful yet practical equipment that's mostly used by chiropractors but can be bought and operated at home. Investing on these tables will guarantee improved spine health with long term use, with a price range of just one chiropractor session.

That's exactly why.

Choosing the Best Inversion Therapy Table

Are you looking for the best inversion table in the market today? Let us tell you beforehand that choosing an inversion therapy table is not that easy. There are lots of options to consider now that several brands and models are made available to the public. While having several options is good, it can prove to be quite confusing and overwhelming for consumers too. You need to evaluate every inversion table that gets your interest to find out if it is the perfect inversion table for you.

We saved our readers time by listing the best inversion tables based on our standards when we have evaluated the different brands and models as to their performance and overall usability.

We have written an inversion table buying guide for your reference. The main factors to consider when buying inversion tables are: comfort, portability, durablity, ease of use and precision. For an in-depth guide on how to choose the best inversion tables, check out our buying guide below:

Want to Know How to Choose the Best Inversion Table?

My Inversion Table Review Quality Guarantee

We review inversion tables to the point of obsession. In fact, 300+ brands have reached our radar since 2014 but we only highlight the top inversion tables that pass our criteria and have the highest average reviews in the market.

Our criteria are largely based on an already existing reviews from real people who have used the product. Once we get the highly-reviewed products, we inspect each one of them and make comparisons, taking into consideration the most important aspects: durability, ease of use, comfort, dimensions and affordability. We have hands-on experience with each of the products, reviewing each one of them based on the specs presented and the specifications that we have discovered ourselves.

In choosing the top inversion tables, we leave no criteria behind. The inversion table must pass all the important aspects to be included in the Top 10. Of the 300+ inversion tables we’ve reviewed, we have found a handful that have passed our standards.

Inversion Table Reviews

If you're looking for the best spine decompression table, you can start with our list of the top, highly-reviewed, inversion table comparison chart. There are hundreds of inversion therapy tables available in the market today but we have our readers time by compiling the Top 10 Best Inversion Tables based on popularity and ratings. On the comparison chart we also reviewed each of the items on the top inversion table list.

Image Attributions:
Image: 'untitled' http://www.flickr.com/photos/40607575@N03/7171953114
Image: 'Compassion Connect 167' http://www.flickr.com/photos/10845359@N02/19624471821
Found on flickrcc.net
Inversion Table Mayo Clinic - http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/back-pain/expert-answers/inversion-therapy/faq-20057951