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How to Properly Use an Inversion Table

If you’ve tried inversion therapy before, you know that it has many benefits, especially for back pain. 

The simple act of hanging upside down and relieving tension on your spine is enough to give you instant relief in most cases.  Since so many of us deal with back pain, we wanted to explain how to properly use an inversion table. 

Here’s your guide for hanging upside down without having to turn into a bat.  Woot woot!

Inversion Therapy

Before we talk about inversion therapy, it’s essential you consult your doctor before attempting it especially if you have chronic back pain or an injury. 

Once you have done that and your doctor recommends inversion therapy, then purchasing an inversion table might be an excellent idea. 

The benefits range from back pain relief to easing stress to increasing flexibility to building a stronger core. 

It can even bring some nerve pain relief by releasing the pressure on the nerves.  The idea of hanging and relieving that stress on your spine sounds pretty fantastic, right? 

While it won’t cure your ailments, it will definitely bring you temporary relief.  When you start to hurt again, just have another session on the inversion table.

If you are newer to inversion therapy, you need to work up to how long and how often you use it.  We recommend that you only hang for one to two minutes and use it just a few times a week. 

After a while, move up in how long you hang and hang as often as four to seven times a week.  Some people even hang multiple times a day for the back pain relief that an inversion table brings.

Using an Inversion Table

Now that we have sparked your interest, we’ll go over how to properly use an inversion table to achieve the best results. 

Again, make sure that you check with your physician before you purchase an inversion table for physical therapy.

Your inversion table should come with guidelines on how to set it up and use it.

Since they are all different, make sure you read the manual before getting started.  Ensure that you choose an inversion table that accomodates your height and weight. 

Most of them can be adjusted for height, but they might also have a weight limit which cannot be adjusted.  

Getting Started

Now before you attempt a full inversion, you need to work your way up to it.  The table should have built-in stops and locks to secure you in place safely. 

It should also offer different angles so you can progress to a full inversion.  Take your time getting acclimated to being upside down. 

The sensation can cause dizziness as all of the blood is rushing to your head.  That is why the angled progression to a full inversion is so vital. 

It will get you comfortable with the change.  Once you are comfortable, you can change the angle slightly. 

Even a simple angle can bring you some back pain relief or release that muscle tension.

Strapping In

Securing yourself to the table safely is your top priority.  Depending on how you do, it will depend on that table you purchased. 

The best inversion tables offer straps and ankle clamps that are more comfortable and secure. 

There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable ankle clamp that pinches your skin.  It will take away from the stress relief that you will get from a complete inversion. 

Sometimes all the inversion table offers is a place to put your feet under to hold you in place.  If that is the case, definitely wear shoes, so you don’t hurt your feet and are more comfortable in the inversion process.

Ready for Inversion

After your legs and feet are securely strapped in, it’s time to invert.  Remember, if you are a beginner, take it to a slight angle and work your way up to a full inversion. 

As you start to invert, do it slowly and carefully. We recommend that you never use your inversion table without someone else there to help you, especially if you are new to it. 

Beginners should start with one to two minutes of inversion.  As you get more comfortable, increase the time. 

While there is no set amount of time to work up to, we recommend speaking with your physician on what amount of time they recommend. 

It will differ from person to person depending on why you are using the table.  In general, hang upside down until you feel the relaxation of it. 

If at any time you start to feel uncomfortable, come out of your inversion, but do so slowly.  Going too fast will increase the dizziness that you feel.  

During Inversion

While you are hanging, there are specific exercises and stretches that you can do to increase muscle relief.  Ask your doctor to specify some exercises that work best for your particular injury or pain. 

If you have ever done yoga before, you know the benefits of breathing.  Use those same breathing techniques during your inversion. 

The method of long, deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth are essential for relaxation and stress relief. 

Try it once you have gotten comfortable in your inversion and reap the benefits.

Returning Upright

Slow and steady wins the race.  Remember the turtle and the hare?  That story works for most things in life. 

When you are ready to come out of your full inversion, work your way to a horizontal position first. 

This will decrease the amount of dizziness you feel if you were to go back to upright immediately.  Let your head get acclimated to being horizontal for a few minutes.  After you feel steady, bring yourself slowly to an upright position. 

Again, stay put for a few minutes as the blood rushes away from your head. 

Once you feel steady on your feet, unclamp your ankles, and you are done.  Doesn’t that feel spectacular?

When Not to Use an Inversion Table

Not everyone should use an inversion table.  Unfortunately, there are some ailments that an inversion table might make worse.  When you are inverted, the blood rushes to your head, and this causes an increase in your blood pressure. 

If you already suffer from high blood pressure or have heart problems, it’s not recommended to use an inversion table.  Those who suffer from glaucoma (fluid build-up in the eye that causes pressure) should avoid using an inversion table as it could increase the pressure in the eye. 

Anyone with knee or ankle pain or injuries or a hip replacement should also avoid inversion. 

A variety of other things like spinal injuries, an implanted device, migraines, strokes, poor circulation, middle ear issues, or if you are pregnant means you should avoid using an inversion table too. 

You don’t want to aggravate any of those issues further.  Always get a medical advice diagnosis before you attempt to use your inversion table.

Feel the Benefits

Here’s to getting an inversion table to reap the rewards that it provides.  This type of physical therapy has been known to stretch and extend your spine to bring much-needed relief for back pain. 

In addition to that, it can improve the pressure on nerves and build a stronger core. 

Who knew that standing on your head could be so good for you?  Using an inversion table will bring almost immediate, temporary relief for you. 

While it doesn’t last forever, your subsequent inversion is just a hang away.  Get it? 

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Kristen holds a bachelors in English from Louisianna university. With a longstanding passion for fitness, she owns and operate her own gym and is a certified jazzercise instructor.

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