by Matt Weik
Bodybuilders do things to their bodies that not many would be able to endure. They load up insane amounts of weight on their back to perform squats and calf raises as well as loading up the bar to perform heavy deadlifts. All of which, can put a strain on your back and potentially cause injuries. One method to improve back pain is through the use of an inversion table. But, is this the best option to relieve and potentially cure the issue?
What does an inversion table do?
The main purpose of an inversion table is to help relieve back pain. However, it’s not advised for use by everyone. In fact, an inversion table could cause more harm than good at the end of the day. The premise of this contraption is to hang upside down (your head closer to the floor and your feet closer to the ceiling) to allow gravity the ability to pull and stretch the spine. In essence, you are reversing the gravitational pressure you would feel on a daily basis as well as your body weight pushing down from head to toe.
Another term for stretching the spine is spinal traction or inversion therapy. All three of the “methods” are used in an attempt to increase the space between the vertebrae. In addition, this technique is used to try and take pressure off of the nerve roots as well as the discs themselves.
Some have claimed that the use of inversion tables can help increase flexibility, improve posture, relieve back pain, stimulate blood flow to the brain, and relieve varicose veins. Regrettably, none of these claims were ever validated by science. In fact, they were all debunked.
Do inversion tables help with back pain?
Unfortunately, inversion tables, as well as spinal traction, have not been found to be effective in the long-term. In some cases, it has helped short-term, yes, but in most the findings individuals have not got any long-lasting results.
It should be noted, however, that if the back pain stems from disc related issues, inversion tables will unfortunately not help you. Now, if the back pain comes from muscle or ligaments, you can get some short-term relief. When inverted and relaxing the body as they recommend, it allows the back muscles and ligaments to relax and stretch. This can also aid in relieving muscle spasms.
The negative effects of using an inversion table
As with most things in life, there seems to be the potential for negative side effects. In the case of inversion tables, there most certainly are. With only a couple minutes of use, some of the risks below can form.
Risks associated with the use of inversion tables:
• Elevated blood pressure
• Increased pressure in the eye
• Lowered heart rate
• Retina trauma (bleeding into the retina)
• Blurred vision
As with most cases, if you are pregnant, you should not use an inversion table. If you have any eye diseases such as glaucoma, do not use this form of therapy or it may worsen the disease. Also, if you have heart disease or high blood pressure, you should not use an inversion table.
What’s the verdict?
The answer is simple—do not use inversion tables. While their marketing might make them sound like they’ll solve all of your problems, they can potentially do more harm than good. Also, the best thing for you to do is to go to your doctor and have them look at where you are having your pain. They might send you to a specialist who would have a better understanding of where the pain is stemming from and give you options on how to fix the issue.
Did you purchase and use an inversion table? Were your results the same as stated in this article? Let us know if the comments!