What Does an Inversion Table Do?

Inversion tables reverse the effects of gravity and provide traction therapy for many back ailments. You might go to a physical therapist or chiropractor for manual or mechanical traction to get relief.

With an inversion table, you can get relief at home whenever you want. By lying on the table and tilting it backward, slowly increasing the downward angle, you take the pressure off your spine and get relief from back pain caused by the collapsing accordion effects of gravity.

Do Inversion Tables Really Work?

Most people get relief from back pain by using inversion tables. In your spine, the bone or vertebrae are separated and protected by pliable discs filled with fluid and nerves.

Over time, gravity, movement, and poor posture cause your spine to collapse and curve in ways it shouldn’t. The resulting pressure on the discs and vertebrae causes pain for various reasons.

Fluid can build up in the disc, bone can meet bone, and nerves can be pinched. Inversion tables reverse gravity and allow the vertebrae and discs to separate slightly, which relieves pain and helps realign your spine.

How Long Should I Use an Inversion Table?

Experts agree that beginners should start with a minute or two each session and limit the angle to 30 degrees. The total length of time you can build up to depends on the angle you use.

Some medical studies recommend full inversion for no more than five minutes at a time. Your body can tolerate less severe angles for longer periods, and most people are comfortable with 15-minute sessions twice a day.

Is an Inversion Table Good for Sciatica?

Inversion tables are particularly good at relieving sciatica pain. To understand why, you should understand what sciatica is and how it causes pain. The discs between your vertebrae wear down over time or because of injury. A disc can herniate or bulge out and press on nerves. With sciatica, the disc presses on the long sciatic nerve that extends from your back down to your hips, legs, and feet. As a result, a sciatica sufferer gets pain from the back, into the hip, and even down the legs. An inversion table takes the pressure off the problem disc, which in turn takes the pressure off the nerve and relieves pain.

Top 5 Inversion Tables for 2021

 

1. Best Inversion Table for Back Pain - Teeter FitSpine X Inversion Table, Back Pain Relief Kit

 

Price Range: $$$

Teeter Inversion Table
•   FDA approved as a 501 medical device to treat back pain due to muscle tightness or spasms and spinal dysfunction.


 Patented ankle cups give you more comfort and security due to their ergonomic design and easy spring load mechanism.


•  The FlexTech bed has an eight-point floating suspension system that allows total comfort and maximum body slide as you tilt back.


• Use the stretch and grip handholds to adjust your position and get extra stretch while on the Teeter Fitspine.


• Acupressure nodes line up with trigger points in your body and provide additional pain relief.


If you’re a little nervous about losing control over the table as you tilt, the Teeter Fitspine is a great choice for you. The suspension system and comfortable and secure ankle cups give you confidence that you won’t fall, and this table is beautifully balanced to provide you with absolute control over how far and how fast you change tilt angles.

The lumbar bridge supports your lower back. If you are used to using lumbar pillows and other lower back supports, you will like how this support feels when lying on the table. Even lying on the table without tilting makes your back feel better.

What’s great about the Teeter FitSpine X Inversion Table Back Pain Relief Kit is that you get acupressure treatment in addition to spine traction therapy.

The lower back support helps keep your lower back in its proper curved position. You can also download the Teeter App to learn how to use the table and track your progress.

 

2. Best Inversion Table for Massage & Heat - Health Gear ITM5500 Advanced Technology Inversion Table with Vibro Massage & Heat

 Price Range:  $$

Inversion Table with massage and heat


•   Removable full back heat and massage pad you can use on the table or separately. It comes with a handy, easy-to-use remote control.

• The contoured, body-fitting 4-inch memory foam makes you comfortable on this table.

•  The heavy-duty frame can hold up to 300 lbs. The height setting can adjust to fit anyone from 5’ 1” to 6’ 4”.

• Using the ankle supports is easier than in some other tables, and the extra-long locking arm makes getting on and off and adjustments easy and keeps you from having to bend over too much.

• Four over-sized rollers above the ankle braces protect and support your calves as you slide.

• The side pin system lets you choose between four table angles: 20/40/60 or 90 degrees, before you get on the table.

If you’re taller or heavier than most people, the Advanced Technology Inversion Table could be a good choice.

If you have trouble bending, the longer locking arm makes this table easier for you, too. You might like to preset your angle before getting on the table, so you don’t have to worry about over tilting.

The heat and massage features are a bonus you can use on or off the table. Lying on the heated pad and contoured memory foam at a gentle angle can be very soothing.

What’s great about the Advanced Technology Inversion Table is that you can fold it into a more manageable size and roll it away. You don’t have to leave it out all the time. Fold it up and use the attached wheels to move it into a closet or someplace else out of the way.

3. Best Economical Inversion Table - Innova Inversion Table with Adjustable Headrest 

 Price Range: $$

Innova Inversion Table Adjustable

•    This table has a low price tag, but you get great value for the money. The sturdy frame can hold up to 300 lbs.

• Padded, larger than most headrest that you can adjust up or down to accommodate someone as small as 4’ 10” or as tall as 6’ 6". Adapting to the proper position for your height makes tilting much easier.

•  The six-position pin system can be reached while you are on the table. Instead of climbing down and crawling under the table as you do with some models, you can stay in place and adjust.

• Ankle supports are ergonomically designed and can be used with the support roller on top or under your ankle. The choice is a matter of comfort and depends on the degree of the angle you are using.

• The soft-touch handlebars are easy to grip, and the padded back and headrest make your tilting session more comfortable.

If your budget is limited or you’re not sure you want to spend a lot on a tilt table until you know how much you will benefit, this is a good choice.

The Innova Inversion Table is a sturdy, comfortable tilt table with fewer bells and whistles and a more affordable price tag.

What’s great about the Innova Inversion Table with Adjustable Headrest is that it fits the smallest and the tallest among us. The lower than most price doesn’t mean the table isn’t sturdy and reliable. It’s a great place to start if you have never tried inversion therapy before.


4. Inversion Table for Heavy Weight - IRONMAN Gravity Highest Weight Capacity

 Price Range: $$$

IRONMAN Gravity Inversion Table

•   Extra wide tubes and stable structure can handle up to 350 lbs.

•  A nonskid floor stabilizing mat keeps your table from moving when you don’t want it to move.

• Super comfortable, surelock airsoft ankle holders. Individual air pockets fill and adjust to even larger ankles and make inversion comfortable.

•  The padded backrest adjusts to fit someone 6’ 6” tall.

•  Full 180-degree inversion is possible with the Ironman for full-length stretch.

• The removable lumbar pillow will support your lower back, and easy-to-adjust security straps give you the confidence to try higher angles.

If you’re a very tall, big-boned individual and weigh more than some tables can handle, the Ironman is your best bet. The air-filled ankle braces, adjustable backrest, and larger tubing structure make this great for you. If you want to go to a full 180 degrees, the Ironman allows for that.

What’s great about the Ironman Gravity Table is that you can hang completely inverted. The super secure, nonskid floor stabilizer mat helps keep the table from moving around.

5. Best Inversion Table with Advanced Heat & Massage - Innova ITM5900 Advanced Heat and Massage

 Price Range: $$$

Innova Advanced Heat and Massage Inversion Table

 

•   Two-way adjustment system makes customizing the table to your body easier.  The height adjusts, and a nicely padded, larger than most headrest adjusts up or down to accommodate someone as small as 4' 10" or as tall as 6' 6". Changing to the proper position for your height makes tilting much easier.

•  The six-position pin system with a patented protection cover can be reached while you are on the table. Instead of climbing down and crawling under the table as you do with some models, you can stay in place and make the adjustment.

• The improved ergonomic ankle holder system design incorporates a smaller shape in the back for your heal and a larger on top for the ankle for a more comfortable fit.

•  A multimode heat and massage pad can cover your entire spine and includes lumbar support padding to make heat and massage of the lower back and waist area possible.

• The soft-touch handlebars are easy to grip, and the padded back and headrest make your tilting session more comfortable.

This Innova ITM5900 combines an extremely adjustable back pad and headrest with a full-length heat and massage pad. Whether you are under five feet tall or over six feet tall, this table will work for you.

If you want effective heat and massage on your lower back while using the inversion table, the lumbar support design in this heat massage pad is great.

What’s great about the Innova ITM5900 is that it adjusts to fit your body much better than some tables, and the added heat and massage feature make this great for treating sore, tense muscles while you get inversion therapy.

FAQ Section

 

How Often Should You Use an Inversion Table?

While on gentle angles, you can use a table as often as you feel comfortable with, most experts say to limit full inversion or even slightly less than full inversion to twice per day.

Are There People Who Shouldn’t Use Inversion Tables?

Reversing gravity raises your blood pressure so if you have uncontrolled hypertension, talk to a doctor before using a table. Don’t use an inversion table after surgery or if you have a hiatal hernia, eye disease including glaucoma, inner ear problems, or a history of strokes.

Pregnant women should not use inversion tables.

What Angle Should I Use?

Start small and increase the angle as you feel ready. Only you can determine what’s comfortable, and it will take time for you to get used to the feeling.

Pay close attention to how you feel during and after each session and use the angle that gives you the most relief.

Can I Use a Table Alone?

It’s best to have someone around when you are using an inversion table, especially at first. While most tables are easy to use, and you should be able to return the table to vertical on your own, having someone else within calling distance is a recommended safety precaution.