The Teeter company makes inversion tables that are used for inversion therapy. Teeter Hang Up inversion tables hold your ankles in place as you lie back on the table with your legs straight. The tables are easier to use than other inversion options such as hanging straight upside down wearing gravity boots that hook to a bar.
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As early as 400 BC, Hippocrates reportedly observed inversion therapy to counteract how gravity pulls the spine downwards toward the earth's center, according to SportsInjuryClinic.net. By hanging head first toward the ground, gravity pulls the spine in the opposite direction. When the spine stretches, it is called spinal traction. Traction may temporarily relieve back pain, according to MayoClinic.com.
Although using your inversion table by Teeter may make your back feel better if the pain is coming from spinal disc compression, it is unlikely to be a long-term solution to lower back pain. MayoClinic.com recommends using an inversion table only as part of a program for alleviating lower back pain. Having your head below your heart as you do when on a Teeter table causes your blood pressure to rise, which limits who is able to safely use inversion. People with high blood pressure, swollen joints, hypertension, surgically implanted orthopedic supports, osteoporosis, spinal injury, cerebral sclerosis, medulla pins and unhealed fractures should not use an inversion table.
Using a Teeter Hang Ups Table
Although core exercises such as crunches and back extensions are possible on other inversion tables, Teeter does not recommend these exercises. To use a Teeter Hang Ups inversion table for spinal traction to relieve back pain, lie on the table bed, stand on the foot platform and then secure your ankles by locking the rear and front ankle clamps. There is an adjustable foot platform and locking pin around the ankles on Teeter Hang Ups, which differs from some other brands. Once on the table, raise your arms overhead to make the table swing backwards until you are upside down. Then, remain inverted for up to 10 minutes so that gravity has time to pull your spinal vertebrae apart, recommends Teeter. For back pain, invert two to three times a day until the pain improves, advises SportsInjuryClinic.net.
Best Angle of Inversion for Back Pain
You do not need to invert to a complete 90 degrees to relieve pressure on the back, though some people may wish to do so for other purposes. An inversion of 60 degrees reduces the pressure on the spinal disc, according to Susan Spinasanta, the Senior Medical Editor of Spine-Universe.com. An angle of inversion less than 60 degrees may stretch the spine and release some tension, but work up to a 60 degrees for the most benefit to your back, recommends the Teeter Hang Ups F5000 & F6000 Inversion Table owner's manual.