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Bears with bad backs - part 2

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Wondering if anyone here has had some experience with inversion tables for back issues.  From what I've seen online, it looks like the medical community has determined that there is no long term benefit to inversion therapy, but it may provide temporary relief.  Anecdotally, there seem to be as many folks claiming total relief as there are claiming no benefit at all.  Any one have any stories to share?

post #2 of 7

I have not used an inversion table, but the Teeter model did catch my eye. From what I learned with my earlier severe bout of back trouble (and sciatica) was that there are many possible causes of back pain. Thus there is no single solution to back pain. I do not begrudge anyone who tries anything to relieve the pain vs cure it. For many people $300 spent on an inversion table is worth it even if it does not work (as long as it does not make things worse, it's worth a try). From my experience it was pretty easy to quickly tell which things were going to help and which weren't. I don't know if a Sears store would let you demo a table in the store, but their return policies are generous enough to make trying this option worthwhile if your medical professional's advice is that an inversion table won't make things worse for you.


Given that a lot of back pain is caused by pressure on nerves, it is understandable how inversion could relieve some "bad" pressures. For someone like my mom an inversion table does not offer much hope. She has scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and bone on bone contact. For someone like me years ago (with a lard ass, weak muscles and debilitating sciatica), 5 minutes of relief to be able to put on a pair of socks by myself would have been a miracle. Although ice, chiropractic manipulation and electrical stimulation eased my pain, it was exercise and diet that solved my problem.

post #3 of 7

My spouse 4-5 yrs back tweaked her back. Was painful for her to get up from sitting, etc. I picked up a decent (stable up to 350lb, plenty of buffer even for me) table and she loved it.


I'd agree in that I don't think it will "cure" a bad back but from what I've read and spouse experienced, it reduced whatever was pinching her quite a bit.  It allowed her to move about more freely with less pain which got her back into more regular motions. She didn't have to work around the pain as much while things healed up, her doc noted for her it wouldn't hurt.


I think the main benefit is if it reduces the pain, it lets you get back to more natural motion which sometimes when one compensates, they make a temporary issue worse.

post #4 of 7
Originally Posted by Tag View Post


  From what I've seen online, it looks like the medical community has determined that there is no long term benefit to inversion therapy, but it may provide temporary relief. 



Keep in mind that it wasn't too long ago that the "medical community"  wasn't on board with any type of spinal manipulation.  Anti-pain meds or surgey were the answers for them.  Take it with a grain of salt.  Drugs masks the problems, surgery in some cases works but depending on how it's done the rest or the spine can slowly suffer.  In most cases there is no simple "cure" for back pain.  Staying aligned and staying mobile is the best course of action.  Of course in some cases surgery will work, but it's not the norm for spinal issues.

Originally Posted by Tag View Post

  Anecdotally, there seem to be as many folks claiming total relief as there are claiming no benefit at all. 

This sort of makes sense to me.  There are all types of back injuries.  One of which is compression fractures.  That happens to be my case.  Years back I was in a car accident and the sheer force of the impact compressed my spine (because of the position I was in at the time of impact) and fractured one of the vertibrae in my lower back.  For me something like an inversion device, or that new form of "the rack:)" Chiropractors are using might be of help but I havent't tried them.  I can see where an inversion or spinal decompression device would probably help those with compression type spinal problems.,  but help...probably.  


Inversion or decompression devices for other type of spinal problems,  I'd guess there would be limited to no positive results.


If you haven't already done so visit a Chriopractor for an evaluation and an adjustment.  Look for somebody in your area using Activator technology (certified as "advanced" for Activator if possible) or using an Impulse device. Those using these types of adjustment practices do no "whack and crack" type adjustments by hand. Where I ski, my Chiro does a compination of activator and manual adjustments and he's top notch.  At home it's only Impulse and Activator technology.  Manual seems to be a bit more invasive at the time but the results seem relieve discomfort longer.  


Good luck in your search for pain relief.  

Edited by Uncle Louie - 6/21/15 at 3:53am
post #5 of 7

A personal trainer friend of mine discourages the use of the inversion tables.  His sensei from years ago also discouraged spending too much time inverted for multiple reasons.  As always your mileage may vary and will depend on your injury, physical condition, and other variables.  Or read this.

post #6 of 7

Not sure what you have already tried but there are things I would try before an inversion table, specifically,


1. Pilates

2. Rolfing

3. Physical Therapy with someone who has advanced training in spinal issues.


As others have mentioned, there are so many different causes of back pain that until you have identified the pain generator, it is difficult to prescribe the solution.

post #7 of 7

Spouse had multiple back issues and neck issues.  The inversion table did give him temporary relief for up to quite a few hours after inversion. Not a cure as has been said. He eventually opted for surgery and got the cure so he no longer uses the table. I'll sell it to you cheap! (kidding).


You don't need an expensive one since it just uses gravity. All you need is something stable that has multiple positions so you can go steeper as you get used to it. ( think I paid $150 for the one we got and it was one of the more expensive ones on the floor.)


Keep in mind that you are pushing blood to your head and you don't want to stress those vessels, so don't be a bat and hang upside down too steep for too long!

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