Do Inversion Tables Help With Back Pain?

Do you struggle with back pain? Have you seen an inversion/hang upside down table and wondered if it works? I am going to shed a little bit of light on the concept of the inversion table and whether it actually works for back pain.

Please note that I am not a doctor or chiropractor, and you should refer to your doctor/physician/medical advisor before starting any new treatments for pain; this is just for informational purposes for what we have noticed.

Why We Bought An Inversion Table

For years, my husband has played softball. He plays recreationally, but has been on some good teams and won many weeknight league and tournament trophies.

At some point, maybe about 5-7 years into playing after graduating college, his back began to really bother him. For a while, he would take an Advil and try to play through the pain. But that would only last so long, and he knew he had to find a new solution.

After seeing Garcelle Beauvais from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills mention that she uses one, I thought it might help people if they heard some other user experiences about inversion tables for back pain, too. (I know I always like to hear a lot of recommendations and get the intricacies of use before purchasing.)

Methods of Helping Back Pain

For a long time once his back pain began, my husband would do stretches, and work out via walking and weightlifting. Lifting weights helps tighten your core which helps to mitigate the bending and moving of daily activities and playing softball, but it can also be an additional stressor, so he has to be careful.

woman with back pain

The stretches helped, and there are plenty of tutorials on Youtube on how to do them correctly. However, in pain management, there is very rarely one silver bullet that solves all of the problem.

So, with further research, he saw an inversion table recommended. At the time, there were basically only the Teeter brand (he got one similar to (older version of) this one) that was the most popular/well known (still is), but there are many more brands and styles available now. (Teeter also claims to be the only FDA registered inversion table brand.)

Many of the ones available are more cushioned than what was available back then, and have things like lumbar support, heat and massage, etc. And they seem a bit cheaper than what he paid.

But his particular one has lasted for probably at least 10 years now, if not longer.

inversion table
Our inversion table. You’d think I’d clean a little more before taking the picture

Do You Have to Use An Inversion Table Forever?

This answer will probably depend on each individual, but I can tell you our experience, and the experience of a good friend of mine who also has a back problem, who has had bulging discs and iliotibial syndrome.

You will likely need to use an inversion table regularly. Now, there are times where my husband can go months without using his. But once softball starts back up in the early spring months and he’s being more active, he has to begin using it again.

I won’t say that an inversion table won’t cure, but from the people that I know that use them, they have to keep at it. And the more regular they are with using them, the better their backs feel overall, and those active times of having softball or playing with nieces and nephews doesn’t hurt as badly.

What To Consider When Using & Buying An Inversion Table

These tables do not appear to be extremely different in features.

As mentioned, our model is just a plain large heavy-duty plastic board with (ventilation?) holes. I’m not sure why it has holes because you don’t usually work up a sweat just hanging upside down. It does have acupressure nodes, and comes with a steel frame with hand grips and foam ankle wraps.

How You Hang Upside Down – Feet and Ankle Comfort

You will need to consider how your feet will be held in and what will be holding them in. For instance, I would definitely need a padded ankle/foot wrap as I tend to have bony feet.

And the pressure will be on your feet and ankles, so make sure that this is what you will need. If you have thick feet and ankles, make sure your model will expand enough.

Backside Comfort

You want this to be a pleasant experience, so making sure that you’re comfortable for the time that you are hanging upside down, so you will need to decide:

Do you want a padded backside board, with memory foam? (For me personally, I think that would be great, like my bony feet, those acupressure nodules might get on my nerves, pun intended.)

Do you want heat and massage? Heat would probably feel great, but some people are cautioning against it for injuries right now. (Consult your doctor.) I don’t like massage chairs, they are too rough for me, so I would want heat only.

General Recommendations and Considerations for Your Body and Space

How tall are you and how much do you weigh? Some models only support up to a certain height and others a certain weight. Make sure you read the specifications carefully.

Do you have the space for it? I can fit our inversion table in a standard bedroom closet when it is folded up. And we keep it stored on furniture sliders so that we (I) can move it around easily because there is not a lot of space in the bedroom where we have it.

The widest part is the handles when it is folded up, and the legs when it is fully open. You should also make sure you have enough space that you won’t hit anything when you begin inverting.

When you do begin the process, watch some videos on how to use it (one may come with your purchase), and shop around for different models (many are very similar.) Take your inversion slow, you won’t become Batman immediately, your body needs time to adjust to going 180 degrees the other way for a half hour or so.

Inversion tables cost anywhere from about $99-$350. Which is a pretty good deal for a non-surgical solution/help to back pain. They should last many years if handled with general care during usage.

I hope this was helpful and gave you a good overview of an inversion table. If asked if they are recommended, we definitely agree that it helps my husband and friends with their back pain, so it’s an easy idea to have in your arsenal for chronic back pain.

Have you used an inversion table? Did it help you? Are you wanting to try one now? Please let me know in the comments, I love comments.

As always, thanks for reading, and God bless!!

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