What Is An Inversion Table?

by maru | Last Updated: June 6, 2017

An inversion table is basically a length of padded board that you strap yourself on to – securely, of course! – and which can then tilt itself, and you, through a range of preset inclines. Some are even able to recline through a full 180 degrees meaning you’re literally upside down.

Being inverted with appropriate security and support is widely held to help with a range of back problems, and also improves circulation. Some people have found it helpful with breathing difficulties although the main medical focus is to treat back pain.

Because of snug fitting ankle and waist straps and ever-improving restraints, particularly in terms of supporting the ankles, inversion tables are completely safe: however, it is recommended to have them professionally assembled and to use them when there is another person available to act as “spotter”. A spotter is someone who is able to quickly intervene in the unlikely event that things go wrong or you start to feel uncomfortable or unwell.

When you are purchasing one, make sure that it is recommended for your height and weight. Most will accommodate up to 300lbs and can cater for a 4’10” – 6’6” height range making them suitable for most people.

Inversion Table FAQs

• Is it really safe? It doesn’t sound it!

If you’re at all worried about safety, consider using one at a chiropractor’s office (most will have one), under their supervision. This has the added bonus of giving you time to ask a knowledgeable professional any questions you may have about safely using the same at home.

• How does it help with back pain?

Inversion therapy helps in relieving pressure in the spine. Below is a short video that explains the process. You can read the YouTube comments too for testimonials and feedback.

Benefits of Inversion Therapy

• Can I use an inversion table safely if I have health conditions?

If you have pre-existing health conditions, are on medication (particularly blood thinners), or are pregnant, then, as with anything, it is advisable to ask your doctor first.

• Is an inversion table the same as a tilt board?

Yes. A tilt board is simply another name for an inversion table. They are the same piece of equipment built to the same standard and used for the same purpose.

• Will I need to be able to do sit ups to get up from an inverted position?

No. When you have finished your session, you can easily return the tilt board to a vertical position, and get off the same way you got on. There is no need for sit-ups or any range of motion that 99% of people would be unable to manage.

• How long should I invert for?

The recommended period is usually 5-10 minutes per session.

• Will I feel dizzy?

You may experience slight dizziness. If it is severe or worries you in any way, stop usage and consult with your doctor.

• Are they a replacement for pain medication?

No. If you have been advised to take pain medication for back problems, do not stop taking it.

An inversion table will also NOT alleviate a need for surgery on spinal issues if this has been identified. They are a complementary therapy, not a cure.

• Will I feel like Batman when I use one?

Unless you have the outfit and the superpowers, it’ll be more like a slightly dizzy Bruce Wayne.

Reminders and Contraindications

Inverted tables get a bad rap because of bad usage. Take the following into consideration when using them.

  1. Always start slow. Beginners usually invert too fast and too far potentially causing more harm than good.
  2. Don’t do inversion therapy if you have high blood pressure, hypertension or are taking blood thinners. Being inverted slows down the heart rate and increases one’s blood pressure.
  3. The same goes for people with glaucoma, retinal detachment, and inner ear problems. Going upside down puts a pressure in your eyes and inner ear.
  4. If you are pregnant or overweight, do not get on an inverter table.
  5. Consult with your doctor who knows your medical history. This is the ideal when taking up a new sport or exercise.

If you are any of the above but need immediate help with pain, check out our posts on Gua Sha therapy and Tens units.