According to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA), up to 31 million Americans suffer from lower back pain at any given time. A 2010 Global Burden of Disease report showed that back pain was the number one cause of disability around the world. It is also the most common reason for missing work.
There are a number of reasons why we suffer from back pain so regularly; poor posture is the main culprit. We live in an age where a majority of people earn their living by spending long hours in front of a computer. By assuming an uncomfortable position for several hours each day, we gradually contribute to what ultimately becomes a long term problem. While chiropractic treatment can help, purchasing an inversion table is a convenient and cost-effective method of alleviating chronic back pain.
Comparison: Best Inversion Therapy Tables
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What is an Inversion Table?
Inversion therapy has been used to decompress the spinal discs for thousands of years. A 1978 study showed that using an inversion table lengthened the spine and reduced muscle activities. It is designed to allow you to hang upside down for a set period as a means of reducing or even eliminating lower back pain.
During a session, you secure yourself to an inversion table; your ankles, legs or feet are harnessed to either rotate you upside down or place you at an inverted angle. As well as promoting spinal decompression, you benefit from increased blood flow to the brain. For safety reasons, it is important not to suspend yourself from an inversion table for more than 30 minutes at a time.
Why Would I Need An Inversion Table?
You would purchase an inversion table in an attempt to benefit from inversion therapy. It is classified as an alternative health treatment such as chiropractic care, and users experience a gentle stretching of the spine and muscle relaxation. It is similar to a chiropractic treatment session with pain from back spasms and pinched nerves reduced while your level of flexibility should increase.
It is an ideal purchase for anyone suffering chronic back pain who has failed to find relief through other treatment methods. Some medical researchers suggest that painkillers are not particularly efficient and long-term usage could promote addiction. In contrast, an inversion table is a non-invasive treatment method with the potential to reduce or remove acute back pain.
Older children suffering from scoliosis could benefit from an inversion table, and this form of therapy could even provide relief from chronic headaches. It helps relax and stretch your neck, back, and head muscles and potentially eliminate triggers for tension headaches.
Top 3 Inversion Tables
1 – Teeter EP-560 Ltd. FDA-Cleared Inversion Table
This is unquestionably one of the best inversion tables on the market and is reasonably priced at $324.95. Teeter Hang Ups has been creating products for inversion therapy for decades, and its experience is evident with this brilliantly designed offering. The table is 90% pre-assembled, and the remaining 10% should take you no more than 25 minutes to complete.
The EP-560 is made from heat-treated carbon steel and should last for years provided you use it responsibly. We enjoyed the Pressure-reducing foam ankle supports which come with a unique ‘comfort’ dial. These restraints will fit comfortably around your ankles but keep them safe and securely fastened. The maximum weight capacity is 300 pounds, and this inversion table is suitable for people up to 2 meters tall.
There are few tables easier to assemble and use than the EP-560. You’ll be amazed at how quickly it places you into position. Not only does it flex seamlessly with your body, but it also provides air circulation for the back. During a 30-minute therapy session, you’ll think of nothing but the sweet sensation of your back pain reducing because this table has zero hindrances.
You can fold this inversion table away in seconds, and all Teeter tables are tested and certified by reputable product safety companies. Overall, the Teeter Hang Ups EP-560 inversion table is well worth the price; it is safe, secure and more comfortable and efficient than tables that cost more than double the price! The 5–year warranty is a bonus.
2 – Ironman Fitness Gravity 4000 Highest Weight Capacity Inversion Table
Ironman is a company synonymous with high-quality products, and its Gravity 4000 inversion table doesn’t disappoint. It is an improvement on the 1000 and 2000 models, and at just $199.99, the Gravity 4000 is the best budget model available to buy. The heavy-duty tabular steel construction ensures you have total confidence in its durability and it has a maximum capacity of 350 pounds.
The detachable lumbar support is an excellent add-on for people with chronic low back pain or sciatica and the ankle restraints are ergonomically molded for extra comfort and security. The extra-long release grips are especially convenient as they make it easy to release yourself from the table.
There is an adjustable tether to control the angles of the table, but we were disappointed to find that there is no secondary safety device. You can fold the table for storage, but at 75 pounds, it takes quite a bit of effort! Overall, the Gravity 4000 is worth considering as it is available at an excellent price, has quality foam padding for comfort and will last you for years.
3 – Innova ITX9600 Heavy Duty Inversion Therapy Table
This inversion table from Innova is one of the cheapest on the market at just $85.61, and its high quality comes as something of a surprise given the price tag. The ITX9600 is proof that low cost doesn’t necessarily mean ‘cheap.’ The backrest features extra padding which allows for a comfortable session while the heavy gauge steel tubing allows for a maximum capacity of 300 pounds. Even the leg rollers and handlebars include the foam padding, so comfort isn’t an issue.
The patent-pending protective cover is a new addition to the Innova ITX9600, and the 5-position inversion pin is easier to adjust than the old-fashioned strap models. All you have to do is put the pin in the position you want and relax. You can go from a gentle 20-degree incline all the way to a steep 80-degree angle. Although some assembly is required, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
For some reason, there is no pin to keep the folding mechanism in place, so you need to store the table against a wall when it’s not in use. The height adjustment bar isn’t easy to move, and the foam on the foot rests is not as comfortable as the foam on the handlebars. Nonetheless, the Innova ITX9600 is an exceptional inversion table for the price and well worth a look if you are on a tight budget.
What to Look For in an Inversion Table
An inversion table is a significant investment so make sure you thoroughly research all the products on the market. Here are a few things to consider:
There are two main inversion table types:
- Manual: You use muscle power to position the table through various angles. Some effort is required so don’t purchase a manual inversion table if you suffer from debilitating pain.
- Motorized: These models automatically shift the angle of the table and are ideal for chronic back pain sufferers. They are more expensive than their manual counterparts.
Although you shouldn’t use an inversion table for more than half an hour at a time, comfort is still important. Look for a product that includes padding around the head, neck and ankle areas. Some tables only add padding to critical pressure points so be sure to consult customer reviews if comfort is a primary concern.
If you purchase it online, you’ll need to rely on user reviews. However, if you have an opportunity to touch a table, run your hands on all the surfaces to make sure there are no irritating edges or bumps.
Safety & Stability
As you will be hanging upside down or at an angle, the last thing you want to worry about is safety! Look for a product with non-skid floor stabilizers to ensure the table stays in one place throughout your sessions. Read reviews to learn about the quality of restraints, straps, and weight limitations.
Ease of Use
There are plenty of tables on the market that allows you to begin therapy in a handful of steps. Avoid products with complicated instructions. It should be as simple as finding your height and adjusting the bar in the middle.
Although inversion therapy does an excellent job of relaxing the muscles in your back, it doesn’t always help issues such as hip pain which is a common complaint amongst office workers. Certain manufacturers offer a ‘lumbar bridge’ add-on which pushes against your lower back thus stretching it that little bit more.
These add-ons are plastic knobs that you place on specific areas of the table. During therapy, the plastic stimulates different acupressure points in your legs, back, and neck. It is often uncomfortable, but users swear by the efficacy of these knobs.
Your ankles are restrained on the table so expect to feel a little pain as your body gets used to the sensation. However, the pain shouldn’t be unbearable. Ankle restraints should keep your legs in position while offering a degree of comfort. There are models with adjustable straps (help hold you in place) or bars (keeps your ankles anchored to the area).
How much weight does the inversion table hold? The frame must be made of metal or else the product’s ability to maintain your weight becomes suspect. Choose a table capable of holding well above your current weight. It is dangerous to pick a model that barely holds you because the reliability of the restraints comes into question.
The common inversion table takes up a reasonable amount of space; this is a potential issue if you live in a small flat or house. Look for a model that folds up easily for convenient storage. Always check the measurements before making a purchase.
Inversion tables tend to range from $300-$1000 with a few products falling above or below those two figures. A high price tag is no guarantee of quality, and many of the top rated tables cost less than $500. Always choose a table with a 12-month warranty at the very least.
- Decreased Lower Back Pain: In a study published in the Journal of Canadian Chiropractic Association, almost 90% of patients who had eight inversion therapy sessions experienced significant improvements in a number of back-related ailments with specific relief for sufferers of low back pain.
- Improved Trunk Flexion: Another study published in the same journal showed that inversion therapy improves your ability to bend forward by up to 25%. Such an improvement is a life-saver to individuals who currently find it hard to put on shoes and socks without pain.
- Multifaceted: An inversion table not only helps you with back pain, but it can also reduce tension headaches, improve blood circulation and speed up recovery from high impact training sessions.
- Non-Invasive: A large percentage of back pain sufferers rely on ineffective painkilling medication which can take a toll on their long-term health. With inversion therapy, you benefit from pain relief with few side effects, and it could even eliminate the need for surgery.
- It Can Be Uncomfortable: Hanging upside down is unlikely to be comfortable at the best of times! A lot depends on the quality of the ankle restraints. Low-quality straps could be extremely painful and make you less likely to use the table. The position you take up means sessions of longer than 30 minutes are not advisable.
- Possible Side Effects: Although using an inversion table won’t increase your blood pressure, there could be an increase in eye pressure. You should not use this item if you suffer from glaucoma, herniated discs or if you recently had back surgery.
The design and construction of an inversion table are of paramount importance. Look for models made from steel although aircraft-grade aluminum is also durable and secure. Pay close attention to customer reviews and focus on ease of use, comfort, and safety above price or brand name. If you suffer from chronic back pain and don’t know where to turn, an inversion table is a worthwhile purchase. It could change your life by turning debilitating pain into a manageable condition, or it could even alleviate the problem altogether!