Inversion therapy has been known as an effective treatment for more than 2,000 years, and although it is still considered an alternative treatment, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have already found long-term relief from back, neck, and other chronic pain problems by practicing this ancient technique.
What is inverse therapy?
In short, inversion therapy is a technique for stretching the spine by hanging upside down. This takes away the gravitational pressure on the nerve roots and spinal discs. In fact, many cases of upper and lower back pain are caused by compression of the spinal cord. This is a condition known as spinal compression.
From birth, our bodies (especially our spinal cord) are affected by gravity. This invisible force puts pressure on our joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments.
The combination of gravity and muscle imbalance forces our vertebrae to press on the spinal discs. Inside, there is a jelly-like substance called synovial fluid that acts as a shock absorber and provides both flexibility and cushioning.
Under the influence of gravity, part of this fluid exits during the day into the surrounding tissues and only part of it is reabsorbed while we sleep at night. (This is why we become shorter as we age.) When the space between the vertebrae decreases, it can cause pressure on the nerve roots and pain.
What’s worse is that this pressure is often uneven, which often results in disc herniations. And hence the unpleasant chronic pain in the back and lower back. Inversion therapy comes to the rescue here. It decompresses and stretches the spine, relieving pressure and increasing the space between the spinal discs.
What conditions does inversion therapy treat?
Inversion therapy has been shown to help relieve many forms of back and neck pain, including the following:
- disc herniation
- chronic low back pain
- neck pain
- muscle tension in the back
- joint dysfunction
- varicose veins, etc.
How to use an inversion table?
Lie down and fasten to it to make sure you don’t fall over when you roll over. You can then bend down until your head is lower than your heart.
It is good to use the device under the guidance of your physiotherapist or in a clinic. There they can show you exactly how to do the exercises and watch you as you roll over to the starting position. If you are younger and do not have any cardiovascular problems, you can use such a device at home, but you need to follow the following safety tips:
- Have someone watch you. Do not hang upside down on an inversion table without a stopper. Ask someone to help you in case you can’t get back into an upright position.
- Do not lean back completely. Try just standing at an angle of 30 degrees or just 10 degrees if you are an adult.
- Tighten the belts. Use seat belts or belts to prevent slipping off the device’s seat.
- Do the exercise for a short time. When you do it for the first time, try to stay upside down for no more than 1 or 2 minutes once a day to see how you are feeling. Limit inversion table sessions to 5 minutes twice a day.
- Tilt slowly. After doing so, slowly return to an upright position. If you pull too fast, you can cause muscle spasms or back pain.
- Combine exercise with other therapies. This therapy can be more effective if you stretch and become flexible. Talk to your physiotherapist or doctor.
Possible side effects and interactions
Inversion tables lead to a slowing of the heart rate and an increase in blood pressure. You will feel the pressure in the eyeballs increase. Because of these effects, there is a risk if you have high blood pressure, glaucoma or other eye disease, heart disease, a history of stroke, hiatal hernia, inner ear problems, or are pregnant.
If you have arthritis in your knee or hip problems, using an inversion table can put you at risk of injuring your joints.
Consult your doctor before using such a device. Make sure this therapy is safe for you.
How to start with inversion therapy?
Your first step is to choose an inversion device. The most suitable in this case is the inversion table.
You do NOT need to be in a completely inverted position to take advantage of inversion therapy, so experts recommend an inversion table that allows you to control your degree of inversion.
It will take some time before your body can control complete inversion.
Exercises with the inversion table
During the first 2 weeks:
Adjust the inversion table so that you reach a 20 to 30-degree bend for 1 to 2 minutes, once or twice a day. Slowly increase your time until you feel comfortable with the process and position. The best way to find out if you are getting used to the inversion device is if you can relax while using it.
Partial inversion after 2 weeks:
A partial inversion is considered to be any bend with the inversion table up to 60 degrees, which is parallel to the rear legs of the device. See if you can work up to 15 minutes, once or twice a day.
Here are two basic ways to turn:
- Static inversion: This is when you hold at the desired angle and do not move from this position.
- Intermittent inversion: This involves the use of a swinging motion, alternating 20 to 30 seconds in the inverted position and 20 to 30 seconds in the upright position. Some people believe that the pumping action gives the best results. You will need to experiment to see which way is most convenient and works best for you.
Full inversion after 2 weeks:
This is when your body is completely inverted and hanging freely. It is recommended to hang for 5 to 15 minutes twice a day. The time it takes to endure a complete inversion will depend on your ability to adjust to the position; everyone is different, so act slowly.
Once you can endure a complete inversion, you can start adding new exercises.
Be patient and consistent when using the inversion table – this is a device that can be used for a lifetime to maintain optimal health. So make it a habit to use it consistently. Because in addition to relieving pain, which of course is the main reason to use inversion therapy, it has other positive health benefits.
- Maintains your height – using the inverter regularly will help you avoid the “shrinkage” that naturally occurs as a result of lifelong gravity.
- Improves blood flow – through inversion, gravity helps the lymphatic system to clear faster, relieving pain in stiff muscles.
- Relieves stress – everyone knows that stretching the whole body rejuvenates! The inversion table provides the same feeling of relaxation as yoga – with much less effort. Many people find that they sleep better with regular inversion therapy.
- Increases mental acuity – any activity upside down increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, which according to many experts helps maintain mental acuity.
- Increases flexibility and range of motion – with inversion, your joints remain strong and elastic, which means you can stay as active as you were in your younger years.
- Improves posture – the stretching that comes with reversing the force of gravity on the body helps you sit, stand, and move with greater ease and grace. It returns the spine to its natural state which changed due to prolonged monotonous activities at work, sports, etc.