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Bad disc's and Inversion Therapy

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:27 AM in Exercise and Rehab
Hi all,
I am having a microdiscectomy done next week to remove a herniated disc in the L5-S1 nerve area. When visiting with the Neurosurgeon, he showed me the MRI and indicated that my L4-L5 and L5-S1 discs where basically shot. He said i should consider a fusion, but i opted to do the micro for the recovery time and other optimistic reasons. He told me i had a 50% chance of re-herniating the disc later on and said i would probably have chronic back pain because of the 2 bad discs. Anyways, i bought an inversion table (Nordictrack somethin) and got it set up. I am unable to use it due to the pain it causes me (Sciatica) when i lay my back flat. I am being optimistic that once i get teh micro done, that if i use the inversion table religiously that i will find relief and even if the discs are bad. Is there anybody out there with bad discs that use the inversion table/chairs that can comment on their experience with this? I am also planning on doing my stretches religiously and hitting the weightroom to strengthen my core


  • My pt guy told me that he did not like doing traction which is kinda like the inversion table on anybody that has back surgery. That's not medical fact just what I have been told in the past.
  • I have an inversion table. Used it after micro on L5-S1 after the 6 week checkup. You may or may not get relief. If it was just DDD in your disks then the concept of opening the space up with inversion seems reasonable. If your problems are herniated discs impinging on nerves. Then it is hit or miss. I found that inversion pulled on my IT band on my left leg and caused me more pain. I was also told to use one of those hard foam rolls and roll my IT band over it. To help stretch it to relieve pain. Makes it worse. A simple piraformis stretch helps take the tightness out of the IT band.

    I've talked to some people who use it often and feel the pressure on their backs relieved from using it. They do 2 sessions a day for 5-15 minutes.
  • as far as i can tell, i only have 1 herniation and thats going to be cut out. Im hoping the inversion table will keep the DDD in check and minimize any pain
  • I would have talked to a physical therapist or tried inversion on a table that belongs to someone you know before purchasing one. Like the other posters stated, it's not for everyone, and you won't know until you try it. A physical therapist might be able to point you in the right direction or include it as part of a comprehensive therapeutic plan.

    Good luck.
  • I've had an inversion table for over a year and love it! I cannot hang completely upside down (all the blood runs to my head) so I just get my head below the level of my hips and can feel the pressure release on my lower back immediately.

    I had some minor hip irritation after a few days of hanging, however it went away and now I feel even more aligned.

    If you are considering an inversion table make sure you give it a good month of daily use before you put it in the closet...like everything...healing takes time. I'm sure this keeps the fluid in the disks full.

    Everyone in our family uses it occassionally when the have back issues...hopefully it will prevent disc damage for our kids.

    I bought mine used...it was virtually new!$100
  • you don't need to be completely inverted, ie, upside down. Consider that 180 degrees. 90 degrees being level. At 135 degrees you are placing most of your weight towards the floor. Stretching your spine. Less blood rushing to your head. That seems to be fine. For those who can deal with 180 degrees that's fine too. I did it both ways. At 135 degrees it helped and was less of a beating on my ankles.

    Ultimately it didn't help with my issue. It's in the closet collecting dust.
  • Sorry your inversion table (why do they call them tables?) didn't work for you. You may want to consider listing it on Craigslist...
  • See if you can try one before investing.
    We borrowed one.

    First, I was told after 1 microdiscectomy, you have 10% chance of reherniating. I did (or they left a piece) so my chances of reherniation are up to 20-30% but it goes again, it does go up to 50%+.

    My surgeons all told me inversion does help some people and will work on DDD or disc height issues to 'unload' the disc. It wont' work on a ruptured disc where there is broken disc that has come out and pressing on the nerve.

    I agree on giving it time. I am cleared to use one before my revision but haven't asked if I can use it post op yet. I suspect they won't want you on it until 6 weeks to 3 months post-op.

    Varying opinions on if they work. I felt better in some ways but then I hurt more in others so I stopped. I had trouble with blood rush to my head and not feeling well and I was barely inverted. But others I know swear by them.
  • I love the inversion table. I go to 90 degrees plus. My surgeon told me it probably wouldn't help, but go ahead and do it anyway. Not sure how much it really does for me, but I crack a lot when I hang on it.
  • I have use mine for over a year. Two or three times a day for about 5 minutes. I know it helps. I just had a total knee replacement and can't use it. Doc says " ask me again in a year." I was desperate with back pain and tried to hang by one leg two weeks after TKR.
    Only lasted about a minute. Was hanging crooked and bad leg kind of flopping around. Will be glad when I can use it again. I am trying to research inversion on back hyper extension machines found at health clubs.
    So far have am not encouraged to try it as lots of stuff written on how hard and dangerous it can be for your back. Any comments on your experiences welcome.
  • I seem to get relief from mine. I go to vertical and feel the muscles let go, and then my spine cracks and stretches. You just have to completely relax your whole body. Not for everyone, but I love it.
  • I was booked for Microdiscectomy to remove my L5S1 herniated disc but had six weeks to wait. I had been in pain so bad I could not sit or walk for two and a half months. I decided to try an inversion table during my six week wait and after using it for three weeks I could walk again and the pain was only about 20% of what it was before using the inversion table. My doctor has since cancelled the surgery and I am continuing to use the inversion table as well as a lot of stretching. I am now five weeks into doing inversion and only have minor pain. I am avoiding any lifting or physical activity and continue to do inversion once a day for about 15 minutes and do stretching three times a day. I am hoping after another month I will be back to my normal self. I will keep you posted.
  • kberryfire2kkberryfire2 Posts: 1
    edited 03/29/2013 - 2:53 PM
    I bought the table after not being able to handle the pain any longer, was willing to try anything to help relieve the pain.. Except for surgery. Well after using table for about 2 months. It just wasn't any better. Had a micro discectomy done on L 4/5 on the 26th of march. Just today feeling like doing a little moving around. Good luck. Think I will be selling mine, I agree to barrow one before buying.
  • pfletcherppfletcher Posts: 1
    edited 03/31/2014 - 5:39 AM
    I had a laminectomy at L4/L5 at the age of 23 due to lifting heavy. I went back to lifting heavy and squatted over 800 lbs (all drug free) at the age of 43. Now at age 52 have been walking with a forward lean due to a very tight back for the last three years. I coach football and soccer and am on my feet for several hours after the work day. Last Friday I bought a used electric inversion table (I am a large guy and not wanting to flip up quickly). I hung for no more than 5 minutes and not fully upright and by the next morning the pinching in my low back was significantly improved. I do 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes in the afternoon. Today I am walking with no pinching pain in my low back. Unbelievable the relief that I feel. I only wish I had tried this years ago. My glutes and hamstrings were very sore from the first two sessions. But wow! so worth every minute of it!
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