, 2022-11-18 13:11:05,
By LAURA LEONARD
Doctor of Chiropractic
Inversion tables are all the rage in Hollywood. With claims of improved skin, enhanced spinal flexibility and restored height, you need one now … or do you?
A quick search of PubMed yielded limited results, published research on inversion therapy is scarce. So … what are the benefits of using inversion? Studies on inversion therapy for low back pain and degenerative disc disease show that daily use of inversion improves lumbar disc height, lowers perceived pain scores and decreases the need for surgery. The reason for this, inversion counteracts the force of gravity on our body. Think of your discs as the jelly donuts between the vertebra of your spine. Pressure over time makes the donut crack, flatten and start to ooze jelly. Body weight, posture, being sedentary and lack of core strength further accelerate this process.
Disc degeneration leads to one of the following or a combination of the following:
- Back pain;
- Nerve pain:
- Numbness; and
Research conducted by Dr. Alf Nachemson showed that pressure on the disc is lowest when we are flat on our back and highest when we lift an object from a seated position. Sitting in a chair slouched creates significantly more pressure than sitting upright. Standing is 40 percent less pressure than unsupported sitting with perfect posture. One more reason for me to keep plugging the use of a sit/stand desk and a supportive ergonomic chair at work. Dr. Alf Nachemson also discovered that at 60 degrees of inversion, disc pressure is at or near zero. Important information when considering whether or not to add inversion to your wellness routine.
Am I a fan of inversion table therapy? Absolutely! I recommend them to patients and I also have one at home. As far as safety is concerned, high blood pressure, eye conditions, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and advanced arthritis in the limbs may limit your ability to use one.
If the max 60-degree tilt rule is followed, those risks become less of a concern. At full inversion: heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure increase significantly. I recommend starting with 1-2 sessions a day no longer than 3 minutes at a time. As you become more conditioned sessions can go as long as 10-15 minutes.
Will the table make your skin radiant? Probably not but the benefits to your spine are definitely worth the price of admission. There are multiple brands on the market at a wide variety of price points….
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