Inversion therapy guide - Everything you need to know about inversion therapy
by Salman A on Mar 27, 2021
Inversion Back Pain Therapy
Be it standing or sitting, our spine is constantly being compressed by gravity. Numerous studies conducted over the years have indicated that sitting tends to put pressure on our backs. In addition to that, sitting in the wrong posture for prolonged periods can kickstart your back issues at an early age. Not just sitting, but standing or walking with poor posture too can have adverse effects on our backs. People often believe that too much exercising is the cause of every back problem. Unfortunately, living a sedentary lifestyle is known to accelerate back pain compared to an active lifestyle.
Apart from the usual posture issues, back pain is often caused by several things we treat lightly. According to a study conducted by the University Of California Los Angeles (UCLA), about 30% of the global population suffers from back pain at least once or twice in their lives. While some suffer from back pain because of the hours they put in front of the computer, many others suffer from back pain due to improper or unguided physical activity. Therefore, it is essential to identify the root cause of the problem before moving on to treatment.
Types of back pains
There are four different types of back pains that you need to familiarize yourself with before moving on to treatment:
1. Acute pain
Acute pain can be defined as the pain that strikes suddenly and lasts only for a short while.
2. Chronic pain
Unlike its counterpart, chronic back pain is a problem that has been prevailing for over a long period.
3. Lower back pain
As the name suggests, this is the most common type of back pain occurring in the lower region of your back.
4. Cervical back pain
This is the back pain caused by cervical spondylitis.
Causes of back pain
Some of the common causes of back pain are:
image source :photoshop
- Bad Posture
- Long Sitting Hours
- Lack Of Exercise
- Sedentary Lifestyle
- Bending the neck for a long time
- Early cervical spondylitis
How does inversion therapy help back pain?
The vertebrae in our body are separated by discs, which help in movement and shock absorption. However, rigorous exercises, repetitive strain, or any other forms of strain on the spine from activities such as running, weight-lifting, and so on can result in disc decompression. When disc decompression occurs, the materials present inside the discs protrude out and pressure the nerves. This condition is often regarded as a "slipped disc" or "herniated disc."
In inversion therapy, the body is inverted or hung upside down. This causes the spacing between the vertebrae to increase and gradually releases the pressure on the discs. The compressed nerves exit the spine through the vertebrae’s spaces and ultimately reduce the compression on the nerve, roots, and discs. The greater the angle, the greater is the stretch. However, you will need to be fully inverted to experience the relief you're looking for.
When on an inversion table, when the body is oscillated or moved up and down, it causes a pumping action that helps the fluids around the spinal discs expel the accumulated waste and spread the liquid evenly throughout the discs. In addition to easing back pain, this inversion therapy effectively improves blood circulation through the muscles.
Benefits of inversion therapy
Inversion therapy for the treatment against back pain has many benefits. One of the key benefits of inversion therapy is that it decompresses your spine and elongates it. While on an inversion table, the body is stretched thoroughly from head to toe. During this process, the body stretches some of the key muscles such as the trapezius muscle, latissimus dorsi, thoracolumbar fascia, and erector spinae muscle. Also, inversion therapy promotes spinal alignment. It relieves the pain by gradually easing the pressure on the nerves while simultaneously taking the stress off the discs.
Inversion back pain therapy is known to have done wonders for people suffering from:
- Chronic Back Pain
iii. Poor blood circulation within back muscles
Research conducted across the globe has found inversion back therapy effective in enhancing blood circulation amongst the discs, reducing inflammation, expelling toxins, and creating more proactive fluids around the muscles. This treatment modality is suitable for patient groups of similar CLBP (chronic lower back pain) phenomenology. And all these benefits can also be achieved without a full inversion.
Inversion back therapy is known for improving spinal disc spacing, allowing oxygen, nutrients, and moisture into the discs. The inverted nature of this treatment allows for maximum stretching, ultimately leading to increased flexibility amongst patients. If the therapy is used as a part of your exercise regimen, it can lead to improved exercise performance and increased resistance. This therapy can also help you correct your posture and act as a preventative measure against future back problems. The inversion back pain therapy drastically cuts down on the need for surgery, pills, and other costly treatments.
How does this therapy decompress your spine?
Inverted decompression is known to have been curing back pain for decades. While on an inversion table, your body creates a natural form of traction controlled by an angle of inversion automatically created by you. The farther you rotate the inversion table, the deeper your muscles stretch. In this process, your muscles are stretched and relaxed, releasing stress and tension. By using gravity and your body weight, an inversion table helps relieve the pressure on the spine, realign the spine, and release muscle tension.
The spine elongates, allowing the discs to rejuvenate and gradually ease the pressure on the nerves. According to renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Tontz, the discs in the back act like shock absorbers present in a vehicle. Throughout the day, these shock absorbers squeeze and release water. When you sleep, these discs rehydrate. An inversion table is widely used for the treatment against multiple back-related issues such as:
- Back Pain
iii. Herniated Disc
- Degenerative Disc Disease
- Spinal Degenerative Joint Disease
- Spinal Stenosis
vii. Spinal Curvature Due To Tight Muscles
viii. Muscle Tension And Spasms
- Facet Syndrome
Following an inversion back pain therapy, patients have reported that they were able to move better with improved flexibility and less muscle tension.
Performing back inversion therapy using gravity boots
Gravity Boots, also known as inversion boots, are shoes specifically designed to work with every inversion device. These boots are sturdy ankle-wraps that support a person hanging upside down from an inversion table, providing more freedom and flexibility to move than other equipment. These gravity boots allow for hanging upside down, preferably from a door or an inversion table, and are excellent for an intense upper body workout.
Back pain patients have reported a significant improvement in their backs with the help of gravity boots. Just wearing the boots and hanging upside down was able to bring instant relief among several back pain sufferers. Also, it allows the discs to rehydrate while simultaneously relieving the stress of the muscles. Doing this over time has helped eliminate back-pain for many people. It helps improve the core body strength and blood circulation. You can buy gravity boots from many online stores.
Benefits of using gravity boots
Besides providing relief from chronic lower back pain, these boots offer the utmost relaxation to every muscle involved. Hanging upside down using these gravity boots allows the flow of oxygen-rich blood from the body to the brain, helping you feel more focused and see things more clearly.
Another significant benefit of using these boots is that it helps you exercise without contacting the ground. While in an upside-down position, you can do vertical sit-ups, crunches, squats, push-ups, and many more exercises over time. Using gravity boots instantly relieves the pressure on your neck and improves joint-health while simultaneously aiding your back.
In short, the full benefits of using gravity boots to perform inversion back pain therapy are:
- Total muscle relaxation
- Zero ground contact
iii. Increased blood supply to the brain
- Improved focus
- Stress relief
- Improved joint-health
vii. Relieved neck pressure
Is inversion back pain therapy safe?
Hanging upside down may seem weird at first, but the theory behind inversion provides an option for back sufferers looking to avoid pills or, in some cases, even surgery. With back inversion therapy, many patients experienced relief from their back pain and had better muscle flexibility. However, inversion back pain therapy doesn't provide long-lasting results and is only a temporary solution to relieve the pressure on your nerves. Inversion back pain therapy is risky for people with high blood pressure, glaucoma, or heart conditions. This is because our blood pressure rises, and the heartbeat slows down when in an inverted position.
Studies have shown that inversion can help reduce irritation but won't correct the problem you're having. As you get older, you become more fragile and are prone to issues that aren’t common in younger people. Patients with the following conditions are advised against undergoing inversion back pain therapy:
- High blood pressure
iii. Heart condition
- Herniated disc
vii. Spinal injuries
- Ear infections
- Cerebral sclerosis
xiii. Retinal detachment
xiv. People consuming blood clotting medication
Always start slow and easy in shorter durations to get accustomed to the inversion back therapy. Starting off heavy results in dizziness and muscle strain. Back problems are complex, and you should consult a doctor before starting any treatment to treat your back pain. If you cannot operate the equipment, there are other devices and treatments available that do not require inversion.
Are there any side-effects associated with inversion back pain therapy?
Inversion back therapy is only suitable if you are looking for instant short-term relief against the chronic back pain you have been suffering from. People practicing inversion back therapy for years have failed to notice any significant improvement in their condition. While hanging upside down and performing stretches might sound easy, there are quite a few side-effects associated with inversion back pain therapy.
While performing inversion back therapy, our blood pressure goes up and our heartbeat slows down considerably. This could be unsafe for patients with prior health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, history of stroke, or pregnancy.
Similarly, performing inversion back therapy when you are suffering from glaucoma, conjunctivitis, ear problems, and hiatal hernia can worsen the condition. You risk a permanent joint injury.
Alternatives to inversion back pain therapy
As we mentioned above, inversion back therapy isn't the best fit for people suffering from the conditions mentioned above. Similarly, it only acts as a temporary solution providing you with short-term relief but won't correct the problem. Meanwhile, there are several alternatives to inversion back therapy that can help eliminate back pain without needing any equipment whatsoever.
Some of the yoga asanas can provide the same relief as inversion back therapy and probably for the long term. These include:
- Shoulder stands
- Plow pose
Note that all these asanas need to be performed under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor. This is because the instructor will help you better understand the poses and help you achieve the proper form. Never attempt to do these yourselves, as doing so puts you at the risk of permanent back damage.
Some other feasible alternatives to inversion back therapy include exercises such as:
- Hamstring stretches
iii. Wall sits
- Back extensions
- Bird dog
- Pelvic tilts
vii. Lower-back rotational stretches
viii. Draw-in maneuvers
- Lateral leg lifts
- Seated lower back rotational stretches
- Partial curls
All these exercises are highly effective in strengthening your abdominal muscles while relieving the stress off your back. If you feel that performing inversion back pain therapy adds to your existing condition, you may try these alternatives for better results. Researchers have concluded that these exercises have increased blood flow to the lower back area, ultimately promoting flexibility, reducing stiffness, and speeding up recovery.
We hope we have provided you with all the information you need before deciding to undergo inversion back pain therapy. As mentioned earlier, inversion back therapy is designed only to provide short-term relief against back pain and flexibility issues. There isn't sufficient evidence yet to support the long-term health benefits of inversion back therapy.
Always weigh the pros and cons before buying any type of equipment such as inversion tables, inversion chairs, or gravity boots. All these pieces of equipment are available at the nearest fitness studio or gymnasium. Always consult your doctor before performing inversion back pain therapy to get a more precise idea about the benefits and risks of inversion back therapy. Only the doctor will be able to help determine whether inversion back pain therapy is suitable for you. If not, he can provide you with other effective alternatives such as home treatments, home remedies, and exercises to treat back pain.
Interested in trying inversion therapy?