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AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 05/13/2014 - 4:26 AM in Alternative Treatments
I am thinking about getting an inversion table. I have had 1 set (so far) of cortisone injections in the lumbar region, and cervical fusion C5-6 4/07.

Does anyone know which ones are best or what works for them?

I am willing to try it if it helps keep me off the pain meds.

Thanks!! :)

Read about other patient experiences with inversion tables


  • Hi--I have used an inversion table. My problems are L3 thru S1 ddd, stenosis, severe muscle spasms and minor leg pain. Anyhow, you need to know that when you see people in the ads hanging completely upside down, that you don't start out using it like that because you have to work your way up to that point by gradually inverting, just past parallel, otherwise it would be too much blood rushing to your head. But, even being slightly inverted, you really feel the effects pulling on your spine.

    I had no positive response to inversion whatsoever. Even if it does open up your disc space, it is only temporary. This is because after a short period of going back to being on your feet, obviously gravity just puts the disc spaces back to where they were anyhow.

    So, I know results vary for everyone, and I've talked to people that say it helps, but the same people are complaining that their back hurts when I talk to them. I think to myself then, "how much is inversion actually doing for them".

    I wouldn't spend the money if I were you. I already did, and have it for sale on craigslist.

  • A friend of mine, her father was in a car accident, 3 surgeries, lower spinal (all 3); I don't know the details but I know he has at least one cage. Anyhow, he has a table and SWEARS by it. He is very active, in great shape, swims, bikes(stationary), and eats healthy like you wouldnt believe. But his pain takes him DOWN. Absolutely horrid. In his case, the table really, really, saved him. Or at least, it saved him from a life of excruciating pain or delerium from too much medicine. I do know that he uses it for at least 2 or 3 hours per day, every day, but I don't know what intervals, such as 30 minutes, 45, 1 hour x 3, not sure, but point being, he bought it for 500 dollars and said had he known what it would do for him, he would have pain 50,000. Give it a try.

    I don't know where you are at, but there's a back/ortho supplier near me where you can go TRY these and many other things, just to see how they are, how well they are built, etc; there are definitely different models.

    About the blood thing, when you were a kid, did you ever climb a tree or jungle gym, bars, whatever, and hang upside down? Didn't kill you did it? It's not the blood rushing to your head, it's a culmination of many, many things, that requires us to go slow and 'adapt' to the use of these tools. He described it that way as well. I was told he did not get results at first, but after using it for long periods of time (he will actually fall asleep on the thing) as opposed to 10 or 20 minutes here and there, when he leaves for a business trip he can't leave for more than a week at a time, or his back WILL start returning back to the compressed state, and his pain becomes unbearable again. He'll come home and hang from it for a couple hours, eat, lay down, and he's all smiles and super intelligent and funny. I guess I got a really good vibe from him when we talked about it; I don't have room for one in my current living space or it would be here tomorrow.

    Always use under a doctors orders and directions, but it seems that long periods of use daily are the only way to go if you want to reverse some of the compression. It makes sense really.. If its a choice between 3 hours a day on the table and a fairly active regular day, or 24 hours a day on my back, with bathroom trips only, or hobbling around in terrible pain spaced out on meds, well, thats an easy choice.

    Good luck and keep an open mind! I am, personally, such an anti-alternative therapy person, so consider this an odd endorsement from me. The main reason he did it too, besides so he could live a happy life with his beautiful wife, was that he is such a health nut he refused meds, and insisted there was a way, and that's how he found it.

    I'm rambling and should be sleeping; goodnight!
  • I have used an inversion machine and I have one that I bought on ebay.

    My experience was that I had two 2mm protrusions at c5-6 and c6-7. I was put on one machine at 15lbs for 20 mins three times a week for two months during my physical therapy sessions. Then two months later I did it again for 40lbs for 15 mins at a chiropractors office. All this was from Sept 07- Feb 08. I got another MRI in April and now I have one 2mm protrusion at c5-6 and a minimal bulge at c6-7 and minimal bulge at c7-t1. I don't know where the other bulge came from but I've also seen two neuro surgeons and they say the protrusions where large bulges.

    The whole matter of fact is that my c6-7 got better. And significantly. I have read that inversion tables are good for people who have small herniations/protrusions and bulges. The thing that you must know is that inversion tables will train your muscles and ligaments to make your back straight which is really bad. You are going to have to roll up a towel and place at the curves of your back after you do the treatments. There are also other devices you can buy to help give the curve back in your back. Look on ebay I also bought two cervical inversion tables well one table and one portable neck stretcher. I paid $350 for the table and about $15.00 for the portable one.
    Saunders home traction is what the table is called. They also have for the lumbar.
  • Is the the table better then the posture pump? I want one i tried one at the store.
  • I bought an inversion table when I first started having right hip pain in 2001. I think it is wonderful. I do believe that I would have had this surgery several years ago if I had not used it. My neurosurgeon even told me to keep using it to help decompress the nerve until my surgery day. I am only one week post op, but one of the questions I have for my follow up will be when can I resume using the inversion table.
  • I found one at Costco for about $200- so not all of them are $500, so there are options- make sure to research before you buy one. I have never used one but am definitely considering it.
  • BotzBotz Central FloridaPosts: 223
    Just purchased a gravity inversion system two days ago. I have been on it about 4 times so far. I have worked up to about 15 min almost vertical. I have not had any problems with blood rushing to my head or any dizziness. For me feels good to strech out. It's too early to tell if it is really helping but this morning I am not in the usual pain that I typically wake up to.
    I found this in last Sunday's k-mart ad. Check it online, it was only $119. I figured that at that price I had nothing to lose.
    I'll keep you posted on how it works for me.

  • Thanks for the information. I hope this inversion table does wonders for you! If everything the "Teeter" guy said is true, I may have to save up for one myself!

  • My doctor ordered a traction for my back and I am ab
    le to use anytime I need to. It gives temporary relief but it helps definately. I have had this over three months and I come home from work directly and lay on it. You might check into this. I had decompression for about 8 months and it hurt yes but it was a good hurt. Problem was it was never available when I was in pain and it cost over 3000 for the treatments.

    The cost is about 700 but it is portable. My insurance and doctor are working on having the approved at 90%. With God's intervention it will be paid for.

    I thought of conversion tables but my nuerosurgeon said no...it would create to much pressure on my eyes and I could end up straining if not damaging the nerves.

    Hope this helps. Better get back to work. I am so blessed I see my doctor today I feel so much better but need a therapist to work on my spasms. I got desperate and paid someone who does reflexology and had them give me an hour massage. One week of no spasms or at least minimum. :)
  • It's really a matter of opinion.
    I didn't care for it.
    My doctor told me that it will help (or at least won't hurt) for DDD (or disc height issues) because it just unloads the disc. But for a true herniated disc (rupture), it doesn't nothing.

    I personally didn't care for it but I was afraid I was doing more damage. I got blood rush to head and was barely inverted and actually was nauseaous when I got up. I will say the few times I tried it I did feel my back relaxed but then hurt later and since I had had surgery I wasn't sure if it was safe.

    We borrowed one...my husband likes it.
    The person we borrowed it from swears by it but says when his back is sore, he has to use it for 2-weeks about 20mins/day (split up) for it to work.

    We'll return it to our friend and I don't forsee purchasing it. But I think for those unsure, see if you can borrow one or rent one before buying it to determine if you like it.

    They do take getting used to.
  • A warning ---my husband used one religiously after running. He thought it was great! Eventually, he ended up with a torn retina in his eye. He was warned that could happen by my physiatrist. We finally gave ours away last weekend so I could get it out of the basement!! This is just personal experience.---Mazy
  • I had my Inversion Table for 4 years and use it religiously at least once a Day.I would not know what to do without it,it really helps my now chronic back and leg Pain ,caused by L5 nerve pain,which goes from moderate to excruciating,depending on the weather,what i have done,anything really.I also have a fusion from S1 to L2 and it still helps that, as well as to stretch and open the muscles around that Area,which are now doing a lot of extra Work and are very tender and painful at the end of the Day.It also help the DDD in my C6/C7 which is the worst in my cervical Spine and I will have Surgery on this Year.All in all,is has been a Lifesaver for me,especially,when the nervepain in my lower Back and leg is excruciating and I would not want to be without my inversion table.
  • You know, when I was first injured, I *instinctively* felt that if I could invert myself it would help and even told my doc that I felt that way. I figured that if I could be slightly inverted to open the disk gap, then go straight to bed rather than standing up and letting gravity squish it back, I could have done some good. Unfortunately, at the time I did not know these tables existed..... now the disk is all but destroyed, yet I fell sure if I could have got access to one of these soon enough, things might be different now.....
  • I don't think i have heard about inversion tables before, even though i used to have severe lower back pains and searched for a cure for a long time. I didn't want to use medication either, i was not willing take the risk for any of their side effects so i preferred to look for some alternative treatment. A good New York Chiropractor was my escape, his therapy worked wonders on me and i haven't felt any back pain in years now.

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  • I have a tweeter table and I'm very happy with the results. I do feel a noticable stretch. Since I have been unable to lean forward of bend for years this has been a welcome relief. I would look for a store that has them on display and try. The Healthy Back store if you have one near you has them availble to try. My damage is l5 - l2 and I do the inversion several times a day to help with the constant tension in my back.
  • My step-son loves his.

    My husband tried it and felt immediately like he was going to pass out. It scares me to think of someone passing out on one when they were home alone.
  • They do help - FOR SOME PEOPLE. Jeeze guys, quite making blanket statements. You know how different we all are.
    Inversion tables DO HELP A GREAT DEAL -- key point here -- for some people!

    I have major impact damage in L1, L2, L3, L4, L5, S1 -- plus some upper C spine damage. And 30 seconds of inversion, 3x a day, makes a stunning and dramatic improvement. Yes, I said 'seconds'. But for some people, it does NOTHING. Even worse, for some it makes things worse.

    But, if if if you face some specific type of damage, degeneration, stenosis, breaks, etc. the inversion can be better than pain medication, better than chiropractic, better than massage, better than anything -- as good as a time machine back to before the back was damaged.

    DO AN EXPERIMENT -- find one and try it.
    Get practical. Get evidence. Do not guess.
    Go to the back store, somewhere. Have them put you in it.
    Go slow. It will be a bit odd for a bit. Wear a very long shirt if you don't want your gut hanging out.
    Ladies, consider what gravity, upside down will do ;)
    But you may get your BACK BACK!
    With just an inversion, hands over head, rotate left, rotate right, a breath or two, back up, unlock feed out, done. I get dramatic relief. Consider.

  • While it may make you feel better, it is not some magic cure all.......it can not regenerate anything in the spine......all it does, it relieve some of the effects of gravity... No magical regeneration, no cure for stenosis, or fractures or any other magical cure , since you can not rehydrate discs ... All it does is relieve some of the effects of gravity.
    Its great that you feel better using it, and for some, the psychological effects are well worth it, but to imply that it will cure most spine issues is not correct and we can not allow incorrect information to be left .
    I used to love hanging upside down with the ones that went around the ankles when I was younger, but other than stretching me out some and increasing the blood flow to my brain, it did little else
  • most of you guys are too young but steve allen of the old tonight show before jack parr and carson used to use one on his show. he would lie there interviewing people while inverting on his table. it was funny but i don't think it helped but he used to swear by it. he was as funny as get go and i think he was better that carson. hi yooooo, heres johnny. no not steve but heres johnny carson.
    heres jon
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • I bought one for a good price, really didn't like it, tried it on & off for a couple of months, hung laundry on it for a few more months, got annoyed by it, sold it for the same amount I paid for it! Nothing lost ;-)
    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • and really did think that it helped when my back ached.......but with it being used for herniations and bulges or marketed as a cure for ddd, I think that it really is just a marketing ploy.....
  • I recently purchased a Teeter 860 and wanted to share my experience and a few modifications that I've come up with that have been really helpful. First off, the pin release for the ankle-locking mechanism is at my ankles, and there is no way I can forward flex to pull the thing without setting off my pain and sciatica. I go to the ground with my knees not my back, and my feet/shoes come to me not vice versa. I realized this may be a problem after making the purchase when I realized there was another model that has some other locking/release gadget specifically for this problem. My work around has been simple... I'm using a stretched-out clothes hanger to hook and pull the release. Working well so far. Second, I have posterior bulges like most people and have always gotten the best results from hyperextension exercises / stretches and the McKenzie hyperextension series. The machine is set up for you to lie supine, on your back, but works fine prone, on your belly, as well. I find that putting the machine at a moderate angle, ~60 degrees, lying prone, and running through my McKenzie series a few times works better than anything else I've found for immediate relief of symptoms. I've only been using it for about a week or so, but I hope that with regular consistent use that I might get my symptoms into remission.

    Just so you can know the degree of my injury, I'll run through my story a bit. I have L4-L5 and L5-S1 disc bulges with annular fissuring but without known disc protrusion. The radiographic disease doesn't seem as bad as my symptoms which are very biomechanically sensitive, so I wonder if it would look worse on a provocative study. I have had back pain since December 2011 when I think I may have torn my annulus while giving CrossFit a try. I had truly debilitating lumbar pain without radicular symptoms at the time, but managed to limp along with persistent waxing / waning lumbar pain for the next few years. It wasn't until February 2014 that I experienced sciatica and went to see a doctor, got an MRI, and got the above diagnosis. I think my initial sciatica symptoms were provoked by my having to sit for an exam for essentially 8 hours straight for two days in a row, by the end of the second, I couldn't feel my right leg. I got a course of oral steroids which worked wonders for as long as I was on them, and I have ever since been dealing with chronic pain associated with persistent numbness and intermittent shocks of pain in my right leg (but no weakness thank goodness as of yet). Sitting is by far my worst provocative position, and I avoid it as much as possible. I use a lumbar support whenever I have to sit for any extended time, which helps a little. And I use more NSAIDs and Tylenol than I would like.

    Anyway, I have sympathy for all those out there with similar or worse backs than mine. This is a tough lot that we have drawn, and I hope that everyone can find some relief.
  • JasonRJJasonR Posts: 1
    edited 01/30/2015 - 9:11 PM
    I purchased an inversion table after seeing some reviews online and nothing else was working for the pain in my lower back. I bought an Ironman Gravity 4000 inversion table. After using it a few times, it really seemed to help with the pain. It didn't cure it completely but my back feels alot better than it did before I started using it, so I would have to say they do help. I guess it depends on what exactly is wrong with your back though.
  • i own an ironmind 4000 inversion table( i believe it's the best on the market and 1/3 the cost of the overhyped teeter). anyway, i think if anything it makes me worse. it was only 180 bucks though, so not a big loss. i use it occasionally.
  • It appears that many of you are in a lot more pain than myself. I had a MRI which showed cervical disk degeneration and a tad of stenosis. My PT guy said he used a inversion table for his back & recommended I try one. The sentiment was also recommended by my chiropractor. There are chiropractors that specialize in spinal decompression & this is the treatment I am receiving at PT. So far so good. The interesting thing about spinal decompression is u don't have to be upside down, however hanging by your arms has the same effect but is a bit hard on your arms, hands & shoulders.
    We've all seen pictures of the African woman who keep adding rings to there neck to stretch it as a sign of beauty. I think they are probably the only ones who do not have an issue with cervical spine compression...
  • Do they work???... Absolutely!!!! I haven't been to a chiropractor in years. Having had a Percutaneous Discectomy (through the skin)...in 1987 that did not help at all... having spent years fearing the pain that will come if I dislocate a disc again...I purchased an inversion table. I could detail all kinds of issues resolved by just inverting and letting the body stretch and relax... but the bottom line, they work. Just be patient...get used to circulation and breathing upside down (takes a few seconds)... relax... breath and you can hang for a very long time.  If you can understand... the pops and pains feel so good... you become a new person.  Get one. 
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 08/25/2016 - 1:43 PM
    Hello BWilliams
    This is an old discussion the member who created it as well as those responding havent been on the forum since 2008. To get support and opinions I suggest you create a  new discussion.

    Please click on the links for useful information

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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