Inversion tables are designed to use gravity to relieve some of the pressure on the spine, which becomes compressed over time. The theory of inversion table use is that hanging upside down or at an angle where your head is lower than your feet will decompress the spine, which should relieve the pressure and pain. Because using inversion tables may be risky if you have hypertension, glaucoma or heart disease, consult your healthcare provider if you have any health problems.
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General Back Pain
An inversion table may help relieve general back pain by providing full-spine traction, according to an article on the Natural Arthritis Relief website. It reverses the gravity that has compressed the spine, which may have caused pinched nerves. Hanging upside down is similar to spinal traction by using the body to stretch the spine, reducing the pressure on the discs.
Joint Pressure Relief
After working out, your joints may have experienced some stress—particularly if you have a high impact workout. According to the Natural Arthritis Relief website, the inversion process can help stretch and elongate the muscles, which may relieve the pain. The Healthy Back Institute website claims that inversion may correct some of the minor misalignment caused by one-sided activities like tennis or golf.
According to the Natural Arthritis Relief website, hanging upside down can help flush some of the waste from the lymphatic system. Since the lymph system has waste traveling in one direction, hanging upside down enables it to clear out the lactic acid and other waste that may cause pain.
Circulation and Organs
Since the blood has to flow through the body in one direction against gravity, the inversion table helps the process while you're hanging upside down. Gravity affects all the organs. The theory proponents of the inversion table argue is that hanging upside down can help decongest the organs. In the article, "Turning Back Pain and Sciatica Upside Down," Susan Spinasanta, Senior Medical Editor at Spine Universe, states that stretching by hanging upside down can stimulate the lymphatic system to increase the flow of fluids, which remove waste.
The average person shrinks up to 3/4 inch from when he wakes up to when he goes to bed at night. This is caused by spinal compression from gravity. The inversion table prevents this by reversing the process and stretching the spine.