Interested in learning about the best inversion tables? In this product review guide, I will go over...
- My pick for the best possible inversion table for most people
- Why inversion tables can be very effective for relieving back pain for many people
- What to look for when choosing the best inversion table to meet your needs
Let’s get started!
Our Top 5 Inversion Tables?
- Innova Inversion Table
- Body Vision IT9550 Deluxe Inversion Table
- Teeter FitSpine Inversion Table3 Inversion Table
- Innova ITM5900 Advanced Heat and Massage Inversion Table
- Health Gear ITM5500 Advanced Technology Inversion Table
What Are Inversion Tables?
Inversion tables are devices designed to suspend you upside down or in a reclined position with your head below your feet so as to use the power of gravity to stretch your spine and relieve pressure between vertebrae. They typically lock your ankles in so that you can be safely inverted.
What Are The Different Types of Inversion Table?
There are two primary types of inversion tables: the kind that only offers inversion benefits and the type that has massage and heat as well as inversion. Many people find that since they would otherwise only use an inversion table for about 10 minutes a day, buying one that also offers heat and massage offers additional benefits in one purchase that is typically about the same price as an inversion table without heat and massage.
Read More >> Is it Better to Work Standing or Sitting?
How Does Inversion Table Work?
Inversion tables work by suspending you upside down so that the power of gravity can stretch the spine, alleviating pressure on the vertebrae and temporarily relieving back pain. They may also provide heat and massage functions to give you additional back pain relief. They are designed so that you can use your arms to adjust the angle and let yourself in and out of the ankle restraints that hold you in an inverted position.
Here are some tips on how inversion tables can improve your back pain:
What to Look For In The Best Inversion Table?
- Height limitations. Some inversion tables work for people as short as 4 ft 10 in while others require that you be 5 ft or taller, so check carefully before making the decision if you are a shorter person.
- Weight limitations. Many inversion tables work for people up to 300 lb, while others only work for people up to 250 lb, so carefully check the weight limit when you are considering an inversion table.
- Heat. Heat is an added benefit for some people in an inversion table while other people find it unnecessary or already have devices that can provide heat to their back and do not need it in their inversion table.
- Massage. You may enjoy the option to have massage in your inversion table, extending its usefulness to more than about 10 minutes a day, but if you already have a quality massage table, this is probably not an important feature for you.
- Degree that you need to bend over to release ankles. If you suffer from back pain, you probably don't want to bend over any more than you have to, especially to use your therapeutic device, so an inversion table that allows you to release your ankles without having to bend over very much can be a huge advantage.
- Portability. If you don't have a lot of extra room, having an inversion table that can fold and/or roll for convenient storage and transportation can make a huge difference in your decision to purchase this device.
- Stability. The last thing that you want is to feel that you are on a shaky device when you are being suspended upside down. Therefore, you want an inversion table that is designed to be very stable and secure.
- Ankle comfort. Inversion tables work by holding your ankles in braces, so you want an inversion table that provides a lot of comfort so that you don't end up with problems with your ankles as you work to relieve pain in your back.
Best Inversion Tables Reviewed
This simple table comes at an affordable price but offers a lot of features. It has an adjustable headrest pad and a very comfortable, large, padded backrest so that you will be perfectly comfortable while you are inverted. An adjustable pin system offers 6 different positions so that you can achieve exactly the level of inversion that you are looking for.
A patent-pending protective cover is easy to position. This unit features a true balance system which makes inverting easy and ergonomic. The table works well for people from 4ft 10in to 6ft 6in and has a weight capacity of 300 lb.
- Easy to adjust height so it can work well for multiple people in a household
- Reversible ankle holding system
- Adjustable headrest pad
- Does not fold for storage, so takes up a fair amount of room
- You could be stuck upside down if you do not set the height appropriately
If you are on a budget, you'll love this affordable table that nonetheless offers great inversion. It features a memory-style foam backrest to provide a comfortable fit. The lumbar support pad can be adjusted to target your shoulders, neck, lower back, middle back, upper back, or removed entirely.
Four completely adjustable foam leg rollers hold your ankles securely in place while preventing any pinching of your calves. It has a heavy-duty steel frame and secure floor caps that provide stability even if the floor is a bit unlevel.
- Foldable, enabling a space-saving design that makes it easy to store
- Highly affordable choice comes at half the cost of some other options
- Lowest height range is 5.1, so not as good for shorter people
- Weight capacity is 250 lb, Making it a poor choice for some people
- Only offers four positions
If you want the best inversion table that money can buy, this may be the right table for you. The ankle lock handle is made of aerospace-grade engineering and makes it very easy to secure yourself without the risk of slipping.
There are traction and stretch assist handles to give you even more stretching options for additional relief. An 8-point floating suspension system moves with you to give you a superb range of motion and very good decompression.
The patented wrap-around ankle cups provide a highly ergonomic fit. This table is very easy to use as well. Simple arm movements can shift your body back to the upright position so you don’t have to strain to use it. It works for people from 4ft 8in to 6ft 6in and has a weight capacity of 300 lb
- Registered with the FDA as a medical device for back pain and specific diseases such as degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis
- Safety certified by a third party to set your mind at rest
- Optional lock at full inversion so you can relax and enjoy the stretch
- Some people find that the shift from the center of gravity is quite quick end can make you feel unnerved and unstable
- Ankle support can be a bit uncomfortable when using barefoot
If you want an inversion table that will do more than decompress, this may be a good option for you. It provides heat and massage settings to give you even more back pain relief and enables you to use it for more than just inversion. A patent-pending advanced vertical massage pad provides massage therapy for the entire lower back, waist, and spine area.
There are six available positions with a protective cover that is patent-pending and enables easy positioning and safer inverting. This table features a very ergonomic ankle holding system designed to reduce pressure on your ankles while you are inverted. It works for people from heights of 4ft 10in to 6ft 6in and has a 300 lb weight capacity.
- Offers heat and massage functions as well as inversion
- Ankle holders designed to reduce any pinching
- Adjustable headrest
- Does not create as good a balance as some models
- Footrest is a bit wobbly and may cause you to slip if you are not careful
If you want an inversion table that also offers the benefits of heat and massage without taking up too much room in storage, this may be the one for you. It is designed ergonomically with four inches of memory style foam in the backrest and a contoured fit that provides superb comfort.
The entire back is covered with a heat and vibrating massage pad that is removable and remote-controlled. For oversized high-density foam leg rollers are designed to prevent your calves from being pinched when it is holding your ankles. A long locking arm makes it easy for you to get into and out of the table without bending your back.
- Foldable design saves space and transport wheels make it easy to move around your home without straining your back
- Easy to get in and out without bending over too much
- Provides vibrating massage and heat functions as well as inversion
- Only four positions
- Minimum height is 5ft 1in, so it may not be the best option for shorter people
Do inversion tables really work?
Inversion tables function by putting you in an upside-down position, taking pressure from gravity off of the nerve and discs in your spine, and lengthening the room between vertebrae. It can be thought of as using gravity to undo the damage that gravity has done to your back. There have been a variety of techniques used to stretch the spine, and inversion tables are one of the most modern.
The theory of hanging upside down to provide relief to the spine goes back to 400 BC. Hippocrates would hang people upside down on a ladder for the purpose of stretching the spine. Needless to say, modern inversion tables are considerably safer.
The goal of inversion tables is to reduce back pain. Studies have not found inversion tables to be effective for long-term back pain relief. However, many people find them highly effective for temporary pain relief. They may be useful as a part of a comprehensive back pain treatment plan.
Read More >> Is a Standing Desk Good for Back Pain?
While most healthcare professionals agree that inversion tables are unlikely to be effective for long-term back pain improvement, many who have treated people complaining of issues with their spine and back pain have found that patients often say they receive significant improvement from using an inversion table every day. In fact, some patients feel that they have a difficult time getting through a day without their daily session in the inversion table.
Potential Risks of Inversion Tables
Since being suspended upside down can put pressure on the eyeballs and increases your blood pressure while slowing your heartbeat, it should not be used by people who suffer from a number of diseases or lifestyle conditions. These include but are not limited to:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- History of stroke
- Retinal detachment
- Pink eye
- Ear infections
Problems when using an inversion table can also result in medical issues. Because you are being suspended by your ankles, they can cause new problems in your ankles or aggravate symptoms you may already have had without knowing about. Inversion tables that fail to function properly or are used improperly can result in you being stuck upside down or straining yourself trying to get upright again, which can become a very dangerous situation. It is advised that you always use a spotter when using an inversion table for the first few times.
Potential Benefits of Inversion Tables
Inversion tables are a very affordable option, especially when compared to regular chiropractor visits or surgery. They can also reduce the number of medications that you need to control your back pain, which can improve your quality of life. Many people find that inversion tables reduce their chronic back pain without the need for much additional therapy. Some people even find that inversion tables can eliminate or delay the need for surgery in some people with some conditions, such as lumbar discogenic disease.
Do chiropractors recommend inversion tables?
Chiropractors generally agree that spinal decompression therapy is a potentially useful treatment for degenerative disc disease, prolapsed discs, protruding discs, and much more. In a medical office, it is extremely calculated with computer-enhanced and highly specialized medical equipment.
However, some chiropractors believe that home tables may not be as well-targeted. They cannot pinpoint an individual disc in the way that a chiropractor can do using decompression therapy. It also may put pressure on other joints, leading to brand-new issues. They caution people with a number of health problems and life conditions from obesity to osteoporosis from using home inversion tables.
Other chiropractors take a more positive view on the use of a home inversion table. They have seen the use of these tables improve spine health and reduce chronic back pain in their patients. They encourage anyone considering using an inversion table to see their chiropractor before beginning inversion therapy. At the appointment, you can receive a proper exam and diagnosis so you can be confident that you won't actually make the problem worse by using an inversion table. However, with the go-ahead of your chiropractor, some doctors will recommend the use of a home inversion table.
If you are considering using an inversion table, you should talk to your chiropractor about their opinions on them and whether an inversion table may be effective for your particular condition. If your chiropractor is staunchly against the use of inversion tables, it is reasonable for you to consider seeking a second opinion, as there seems to be some significant debate within the industry about the use of at-home inversion tables.
How many times a week should you use an inversion table?
Most people find relief from temporary back pain from using an inversion table daily. Many people find it effective to use the table twice a day. Perhaps more importantly than how often you use the table is how long you spend in it. When you begin inversion therapy, you should only use the table for a minute or two once a day until you know how your body will respond to it. Once you become more comfortable with it, you may increase the sessions to five minutes twice a day.
Are there any alternatives to the inversion table?
If you would like to receive some of the benefits of the inversion table but you have health conditions, lifestyle factors, or if you simply do not enjoy the use of the table, there are plenty of alternatives for you to choose from.
The goal of an inversion table is really relatively simple: you are trying to suspend yourself upside down in order to use gravity to relieve pressure and strengthen your spine. Because inversion tables take up room and come at a cost, some of these alternatives may be a better option for some people. Your chiropractor can suggest some good alternatives, but here are a few of the options that you may want to choose from:
Some yoga poses are designed to relieve tension in your body and specifically in the spine. Inversion yoga is a relatively simple yoga pose that gives you many of the benefits of hanging upside down without a table. Most amateur yoga enthusiasts will find this pose doable. Two of the best poses for inversion yoga involve doing a handstand while using your foot to keep yourself stable against the wall and doing a handstand with both feet on a wall with your legs and torso at a 90-degree angle. Both have distinct benefits.
A yoga trapeze is a piece of fabric that is designed to be hung from the ceiling to aid you in upside-down yoga poses. If you struggle to achieve the yoga poses that may be helpful in the same way that an inversion table is helpful, a yoga trapeze may be perfect for you. You can hang entirely upside down using them or you can arch your back in a similar way as you would with an exercise ball. Since they are just a piece of fabric, they take up no room and only need a secure attachment point on your ceiling in order to be effective
Exercise balls are effective for all kinds of find exercise and relaxation, and they can also be beneficial for the same sort of reasons that an inversion table can be effective. You can use an exercise ball to aid you in a handstand while you rest your feet on the ball or you can drape your back over the ball to create an arch. Some people may find these poses as effective as using an inversion table.
If you don't have space for an inversion table, gravity boots could be a good solution for you. They can be used with any standard pull-up bar, which can be set up in a door frame or any other secure location in your home. The boots generally fit firmly around your ankle and allow you to attach them to the bar, allowing you to hang upside down from it.
If you struggle to achieve a handstand with any of these other techniques, a headstand bench may be helpful for you. It enables you to rest your shoulders on the cushioned portion while your head goes through, allowing you to invert yourself completely with minimal effort. Headstand benches offer many of the advantages of an inversion table but do not take up nearly as much room in your house.
Final Thoughts On Inversion Tables
Inversion tables can be an effective way to temporarily relieve back pain, and many people find that they make a big difference in their day-to-day life. While studies haven't found them to reduce back pain long-term, an inversion table may be a wonderful option to relieve your back pain day to day as part of your pain management system.