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Back Stretching Machines

by
author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Back Stretching Machines
Using the right technology can help you stretch your back more efficiently. Photo Credit Photology1971/iStock/Getty Images

Machines make our lives easier, whether it's in the office or in the gym. With a machine you have options. For example, with back machines you can do more than you can with any old stretching routine. There are a few types of back stretching machines, from a simple wedge, to an inversion table and beyond. Each piece of back stretching technology has benefits and drawbacks.

Safety First

Stretching your spine is safe as long as you aren't injured and you're careful. If you have back pain before you start stretching, consult a healthcare professional to make sure that you won't make the injury worse. The spine is incredibly complex with thirty-three different vertebrae and many muscles, ligaments, nerves and blood vessels weaving in and out of the spine.

Read More: Static Back Stretches

Once you've determined that you're healthy enough to stretch your back, you have to decide which machine is best for your needs. You also have to make sure that you find a machine that doesn't take up too much space. Finally, you have to make sure that the machine fits in your budget because back stretchers can range from cheap to very expensive.

Teeter Inversion Table

With an inversion table, you'll strap your feet into footholds and flip your body upside down, letting gravity stretch your spine out. Inversion tables can help relieve back pain for a short amount of time, according to an article by Dr. Michael Gliber. However, they don't provide long-term relief. You should also be careful if you have high blood pressure or glaucoma because hanging upside down causes a rush of blood to your head, dangerously increasing pressure in your skull.

If you don't have high blood pressure or glaucoma this stretch can feel great. During the day your spine is compressed by gravity but when you use an inversion table you completely reverse the way gravity affects your spine. This particular inversion table also comes with a back pain-relief DVD.

Read More: Which is Better, A Back Stretcher or Inversion Table?

Posture Wizard

A back stretcher is one of the most simple and cost-effective ways to stretch your back. This device looks like a half circle, with the round part facing up. You lie on your back, letting it bend over the half circle. Gravity takes over and stretches your spine backwards which can help if you have posture problems like slumped shoulders.

This stretching device isn't very versatile because it's only supposed to be used to bend backwards. If you need to work on stretching your back in a different direction it won't be of much use. The Posture Wizard kit also comes with a trigger point ball to massage your back and work on any particularly tight points. It comes with a resistance band that you can use to do back strengthening exercises.

If you have back pain, consult a doctor before using a back stretch machine.
If you have back pain, consult a doctor before using a back stretch machine. Photo Credit fizkes/iStock/Getty Images

ProFlex

This is an adjustable stretching machine that allows you to set your legs in place with two leg holders and move your upper body around with a mobile boom that has a grip at the top. The benefit of this machine is that you can set your legs in different positions and move your upper body around with your arms. You can stretch your spine from many positions with this machine, making it one of the most versatile back stretching machines.

Nubax Trio

Instead of letting gravity stretch your spine and back muscles out, this machine uses traction. Two pads come up under your shoulders and a rod holds your hips in place as you lean forward. The machine pulls your spine longer, which is a traction force. It offers the same direction of stretch as the inversion table but the machine itself pulls the back; gravity isn't doing the work.

Traction can be useful if your spine is healthy, but can be dangerous if your spine is injured, so be sure to check with a healthcare professional before using if you have back pain.

DRX9000

One of the most expensive and advanced pieces of back stretching technology, the DRX9000 is a decompression machine that is more specific than an inversion table. With this machine, you can actually target certain areas of your back that might be injured or particularly tight. The specificity makes the DRX9000 particularly advanced compared to other back stretchers. It's a treatment option that you can't simply buy for home use, you'll have to use this machine at a clinic with a health professional.

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