Inversion Tables: do they help?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 350
   Posted 1/1/2011 5:02 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello all,

My husband was diagnosed with an L5 herniation. We are getting mixed comments regarding the effectiveness of inversion tables. We've had 2 separate physical therapists say they don't work.

What are your experiences and opinions? Please share.

I did buy him a "2 in 1 gravity inversion system" from Big 5 but haven't opened it yet.

Thanks for your comments,

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 14475
   Posted 1/1/2011 5:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I've found that physical therapy helped me the most. Once I strenghten my back and core muscles the pain lessen a great deal.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 9664
   Posted 1/1/2011 11:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Be very careful of these and since you've already asked your physical therapists
then, Maybe ask what your doctor thinks would be helpful?
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Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9249
   Posted 1/2/2011 12:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lisa,

I took some time and read up on what people were saying around the internet. From what I red I found a few common thoughts.

First of all, it's not a new type of therapy. It's been in use from 'sometime' BC. The general theory is that if your disk has collapsed and is pinching nerves that by using gravity and hanging upside down (basically) you can relieve the pressure that gravity is putting on the disk/nerve problem.

The inherent problem is that once you get off the contraption you put gravity back in charge and pain returns. For most it's temporary at best. Some people get longer relief but it's not a cure. Others use it a few times and it then becomes a wonderful place to toss your clothes at the end of the day.

I to a doctor who you trust and go from there.

Hope something I've said helps..
Moderator on the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain forums

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” Albert Einstein

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 538
   Posted 1/2/2011 12:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lisa. I haven't used an inversion table so really can't comment on them. But my chiropractor uses a technique called Cox flexion-distraction which essentially does the same thing as a table. From what I understand it helps open the spaces up while gently re-aligning the vertebrae. I have several bulging/herniating discs and a compression fracture and this technique has helped me a lot plus it feels absolutely awesome when he does it. Chiros also use other types of spinal decompression techniques but I don't have any experience with those. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if he is leery of using the table there are other therapies out there in a monitored environment that may help. Best wishes, Lee
Attitude is everything.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 1/2/2011 6:58 PM (GMT -6)   
I used one at PT for a while. It did help some. I'd be REALLY careful using it at home as there are very serious risks in using them. We did them for 2-3 minutes at a time max.
I got much more benefit from traction than inversion therapy - which operates under a similar premise. I now have a home traction unit (prescription) and get great benefit from it. Make sure your husband is cleared by his medical doctor before beginning inversion therapy. They need to watch blood pressure, heart rate & a few other things as well as ensure he's not prone to blood clots or CSF build-up or any number of other issues which could cause injury or death after even a minute or so inverted.

I sure hope it works for him!!!


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16776
   Posted 1/3/2011 2:04 PM (GMT -6)   
The best thing to do is speak with your husband's dr. There is a lot of pros and cons with the inversion tables, instances of further injury and such. My husband's friend bought one against his drs advice, disc at L5/S1 and he did further damage using the table. So, with that said check with the dr.

Take care.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 350
   Posted 1/3/2011 4:19 PM (GMT -6)   
thanks everyone for your comments, they are very useful!

I think I will have him go to my Chiro and ask them what they think.

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