Back pain affects everyone at some point in life.
It can be difficult to engage in daily activities, much less go to work or try to hit the gym.
If you are in pain every time you move, inversion tables and therapy are a great way to relieve pain in your back and strengthen your core muscles at the same time.
With inversion therapy at home, you can decompress your spine and totally relax, allowing yourself to fully stretch and perform helpful exercises.
Here is a quick look at the inversion tables we like best and types of support they provide.
Inversion Tables Guide
Inversion therapy can have very positive effects on those who are suffering from back pain.
Many professionals use this equipment because of its ability to decompress the spine and work the muscles in the back as well as abdominal muscles.
While many doctors try to use medications and electrical stimulations, the inversion table is a simple way to help yourself gain relief at home.
There are a few things to remember when picking out an inversion table to help with your back pain.
What is a Gravity Inversion Table?
Part of the reason that inversion works so well is because it uses the force of gravity to alleviate spinal pressure. By hanging upside down, you decompress the vertebrae and de-stress the muscles around the spine.
These tables typically can rotate up to 90 degrees, but older tables also rotated to 360 degrees.
When the user is inverted on a gravity table, the design is different. A tether strap and gravity boots helps the user hang upside and take pressure off of the back muscles completely.
As a sturdy piece of equipment, it can also be used for core strengthening and simple workouts to improve flexibility.
What is a Genki Inversion Table?
The Genki table is a higher-priced inversion table designed with a unique style. While it’s made to reduce tension and stress, it has a very sturdy balance and padded ankle clamps.
You can adjust the Genki to accommodate any height, and you can use simple arm movements to adjust as you invert. In this way, you never have to bend over or strain your back in order to get into a good position.
The difference in this design is the extra large back pad that provides more comfort than other styles because of its continuous soft cushioning.
The ankle clamps on this machine are adjustable in length and width, allowing you to get the perfect size for your body and comfort. The Genki is also fully rotational, allowing you to go 360 degrees.
You can move the inversion table with the unique circular arm rests, allowing you to get the exact inversion angle you prefer for relief or exercise.
What is Inversion Table Therapy?
Inversion therapy actually dates back to Hippocrates, who wrote about this type of therapy for back pain relief in 400 BC. This led to the invention of the Hippocratic Bench. It would allow you to stretch your back and mend broken or misaligned bones as well.
However, inversion therapy today is much more streamlined and comfortable than those of ancient past. Inversion therapy is used to help back pain sufferers get rid of back pain and decompress the spine.
In the early 1990s, these tables became more popular for physical therapy centers, and by the late 2010s, fitness equipment developers were making inversion tables for at-home use.
Over time, these tables have developed to include other therapies such as heat and massage to make it more comfortable to get back pain relief. In addition, these tables can be used for exercises that strengthen your core muscles.
How Do Inversion Tables Work?
Most inversion tables look like a piece of fitness equipment akin to a vertical bench press. At the top, there is a headrest, then a back pad, and leg pad with ankle locks and foot support on the bottom.
There are also armrests with controls to help you rotate, as well as a foot lever to help you get out of the table without having to bend over to release the ankles.
These tables use something akin to spinal traction. When you are standing upright, gravity pulls your spine to the ground, which compresses your discs, nerves, muscles, and other structures.
Inversion therapy helps by reversing this dynamic and allowing gravity to temporarily lengthen the spine, alleviating pressure.
To use the inversion table, you simply lean back against the table and step up, locking your ankles in with straps or other mechanism with a lever.
Once secure, you can safely use the over-head handle or armrest handles to rotate into an inverted position.
Your table should gradually invert until you’re hanging at the perfect angle. Once inverted, you should feel the pressure from your back go away and gain some relief from pain.
As you work with your therapist to complete different exercises, you can strengthen your muscles and even perform low impact exercises for your back.
Who Should Not Use Inversion Tables?
In some cases, inversion tables are suitable for alleviating pain. However, there are patients who will not like the feeling of inversion, particularly if the table doesn’t allow for higher weight capacities or if you have certain medical conditions.
This is because hanging upside down, even if only partially, could increase pressure and blood flow to your head.
While inversion tables are good for those who are overweight, it really depends on the ankle system. With an ankle support that doesn’t have cushion or support for overweight individuals, you could be in a lot of pain hanging upside down.
It is recommended to use a machine that is made for higher weight capacities and has front and back ankle support systems. Also using inversion tables is an effective method for the recovery of other opposing areas of gravity.
When you save your health you want to immediately improve the performance of your body. But before buying the inversion table you should be aware of contraindications for use.
This list will help you know about it.
These include the following diseases:
- middle ear infection;
- high degree of obesity;
- hiatal hernia;
- abdominal wall hernia;
- vascular aneurysm;
- chronic connective diseases;
- senile dementia;
- ventral hernia;
- prosthetic joints;
- after instillation into the eyes;
- retinal detachment;
- high blood pressure;
- other disorders of the cardiovascular or circulatory system;
- spinal injuries;
- cerebral sclerosis;
- acute inflammation of the joints;
- recent stroke or ischemia;
- weak bones (osteoporosis);
- non-healing fractures;
- medullary rods;
- orthopedic supports implanted surgically;
- use of anticoagulants, including the recent intake of high doses of aspirin.
If you have any of the above problems, you should fix it. After that you can buy an inversion table and aintain your health daily.
Who Should Use an Inversion Table?
Anyone who is suffering back pain should use an inversion table to gain relief from pain. The most common users of these tables includes athletes and overweight individuals who aren’t able to exercise without the use of a machine.
There are a few different brands that have high ratings from customers. These are the top favorites currently.
The simplicity and sturdiness of the Ironman brand has made them a household name amongst back pain sufferers. These tables are typically lower cost and yet have everything you need to apply inversion therapy at home
While assembly can take a little of time, Ironman brand is known for being easy to use and perfect for those who are under 300 lbs.
Many customers state that Teeter is the highest quality on the market, and it certainly has the price to go with it. The latest models from Teeter have longer handles and a lumbar bridge to increase support and comfort.
It’s also one of the only machines approved and certified by the FDA. The design includes an auto-locking hinge, cam locks, and pivot bearings, which aren’t included with other designs.
Innova has several different models, but there is one common theme among them. They are all made with heavy duty bearings and frames, making them extremely durable. However, they are not easy to move or assemble on their own.
However, the large padded backrests, height-adjustable headrests, and six-angle pin systems make it a top choice for those who want long-lasting, durable equipment.
Inversion Table Reviews
If you are fed up with medication and want to get back to healthy naturally, then we have found some of the top inversion tables for you to try.
These tables were rated for their ability to provide back pain relief, comfort, support, and extra features that make your therapy even more successful.
1.Teeter EP-970 Inversion Table – Best For Back Pain Relief
One of the most highly rated inversion tables on the market is the Teeter EP-970 Limited.
This is one of the advanced models from Teeter, which is a well known brand for inversion table therapy.
This table can be used for both inversion therapy and core workouts, making it a top choice for those who suffer from back pain.
You can use Teeter EP-970 to relieve back pain, decompress your spine, improve blood flow, and strengthen your muscles.
The design of the Teeter EP-970 includes an extended ankle lock handle that easily secures your table in place. The traction handles, stretch max handles, and other adjustable options make it incredibly flexible for your body.
Getting into the table is easy. You can easily adjust the height and straps to match your body type, but you may need help the first time you get into the machine.
You can swivel 180 degrees with this table, so you can hang upside down to help decompress or perform exercises like abdominal crunches to strengthen your core.
Overall, the Teeter EP-970 is a top-of-the-line inversion table that anyone with back pain can use to relieve stress and decompress. You can use it just to strengthen your muscles as well.
One of the things that struck us is that assembly does take time, and there are a lot of directions. If you have the additional budget, you should opt for assembly help when purchasing this item.
2.Ironman 5402 Gravity 4000 Inversion Table with Back Support – Best For Higher Weight Capacity
The Iroman 5402 Gravity 4000 is the latest model from the fitness brand.
It’s packed with all kinds of comfort features and enhances your inversion experience, allowing you to relax your muscles and improve your core.
Many doctors and health professionals use Ironman 4000 in their offices because it’s so easy to use and comfortable.
Ironman designed the table to have protective covers for your hands and fingers, since you have to move the table with them as you rotate. It’s a great feature for this stable and heavy duty inversion table.
Ironman provides an ergonomic design that is easy-to-use and comes with ankle support. It’s extremely easy to get into this inversion table, and while you’re using it, you will feel like you are laying on pillows but with support behind it.
That’s a good way to perform exercises if you have extreme back pain. You will instantly feel relief, and there are several positions that you can adjust to for more comfort or to help you exercise different parts of your core.
The Iroman 5402 Gravity 4000 is one of the best inversion tables because of its comfort and simplicity. It’s much less expensive than the competition, and yet it can match pretty much any other inversion table in terms of support and weight capacity.
You can’ll be able to easily assemble and lean back on the machine, attaching ankle locks so you can hang upside down and decompress or perform other exercises in a secured inversion setting.
The Innova ITX9900 is a heavy duty inversion table that includes air lumbar support for those who have severe back pain.
Released only in 2018, this inversion table has been highly rated by customers so far, which is why it’s on our list.
It comes with an exclusive feature that you won’t find anywhere else called air lumbar support.
This is so that you can be comfortable and adjust your back support to match your body, making it extremely easy to relax and decompress.
The true beauty of this inversion table is that you can use six different angles to easily position yourself where you want to be.
We really love the way Innova designed their ITX9900 because it focuses on the comfort of your ankles. Since you have to secure your ankles while in the table, you need to be able to easily slip onto the table and lock your ankles in.
Innova created a table that works for all body types practically. Whether you are overweight or shorter, you can easily adjust the table to your specifications and use the ankle locks to remain secure while decompressing.
One of the great benefits to this machine is the lock-release foot lever that lets you get out of the machine easily once you are finished with therapy.
While we really liked the experience with Innova ITX9900, we have read that this table doesn’t always work for individuals over 260 lbs.
You may need to test this equipment in person to see how well the ankle locks fit and whether they strain your legs.
Customers reported that it was difficult to adjust the ankle locks so that they didn’t pull on your legs uncomfortably.
4.Ironman 5201 Gravity 1000 – Best Value Inversion Table for Lumbar Support
The Ironman 5201 Gravity 1000 Inversion Table is a lite version of the 4000 inversion table model by the same company.
It features lumbar support for a much lower price.
Designed to be sturdy and simple to use, the frame is made from tubular steel and has a scratch resistant powder coated finish.
Despite its rugged frame, this table proves you don’t have to pay very much to get inversion therapy and a great value.
If you require a lot of cushion because of lower back pain, then this may not be the best inversion table to buy.
We found that the 1000 was lacking in some ankle support that makes it difficult to use if you want to feel secure. If you have a lack of mobility, it will be impossible to use this machine without ankle straps.
However, it does have a ankle locking system, but it’s not easy to reach once you’re on the table, which makes it difficult to get out of the machine.
If you are looking for an inversion table that will give you some relief but doesn’t cost a whole lot, the Ironman 5201 Gravity 1000 is a good choice.
However, you may find that it doesn’t work for everyone, particularly if you weigh over 250 lbs or have a lot of mobility issues. The ankle locking system doesn’t work as well as with other machines on this list.
5.Ironman 5214 IFT 4000 – Best Value for Heated Back Pain Relief
The Ironman 5214 IFT 4000 is an advanced inversion table for those who want faster recovery and heat therapy for back pain relief.
The infrared heated technology allows you to gain pure relaxation and penetrate into the deeper tissues of your back.
The whole table is a comfortable experience with a carbon fibre heating element that have a natural heat to sooth your back while you decompress or exercise.
The ergonomic design of the chair is truly fantastic for those who have severe back pain. The foam back rest is quite soothing, and the heat doesn’t get too high to make it uncomfortable. In fact, it’s very gentle and only aids in soothing your pain.
It includes a 2.5” thick rib-design that provides more comfort to the back as well as padded safety handles to help you get back to an upright position after decompression.
The ankle support is easy to put and release in this Ironman inversion table. It has a quick release ratchet locking system that provides simple and safe adjustable ankle locking without any back bending needed.
The ankle holders will secure you in the table without ever feeling strain or discomfort as well. You simply use the handle above the headrest to invert, and you can set the temperature of the heat technology with the remote control.
The Ironman 5214 IFT 4000 is a higher end inversion table that is well built and sturdy.
However, it is a relatively new technology for the industry to include in a table, so if you are expecting high heat temperatures, you may not like the gentle heat that this table provides. In addition, the table is a little expensive for most budgets.
However, if you already use heat on your back to loosen up tension and relieve pain, then you’ll love this inversion table.
6.Innova ITM5900 – Best Value for Massage
The Innova ITM5900 is another high end inversion table that was created to combine massage and heat therapy for those who suffer from back pain.
It’s one of the best machines for those who frequently need to decompress and work on their core.
However, the price does make it one of the more expensive inversion tables on this list.
The Innova ITM5900 table comes with a vertical massage pad and a separate lumbar pad that provides heat to your back.
There is a two-way adjustable system as well, allowing you to fix the headrest and height to ensure your comfort.
You will love feeling shiatsu-style movements on your back with heating elements while you relax and gain some pain relief.
The five-pin safety pin system allows you to invert to an angle that’s suitable for your preferences. Innova ITM5900 is easy to get started. You simply lean against the frame and use the handlebars to invert.
The machine has a lever at the bottom to help release you from inversion when you are ready to step off of the mchine.
The Innova ITM5900 is one of the higher-priced inversion tables on this list. Due to its price, we think that it should have six positions instead of only five. In addition, it doesn’t have a true balance system.
You may also have a difficult time moving and assembling this machine without professional help. For that reason, this table is amazing for professional massage and physical therapy clinics, but it would be difficult to set up at home.
7.Health Mark Pro Max – Best Value for Spine Decompression
The Health Mark Pro Max Inversion Table is the only one of its kind on the market.
It has a bi-positional design that allows you to work face-up or face-down, which can help if you frequently receive massage for your back.
For this reason, this inversion table was only available for professional therapy centers until recently.
It is the only inversion table that can support up to 600 lbs for weight capacity, and it has a dual-180 degree inversion design.
If you get inverted massage, then this is the best table at home. It also has a front and rear ankle lock system with crescent design headrest and rolled knee support.
You can easily lean back into this table and lock yourself in. The ankle lock system is designed to be comfortable and adjustable, particularly if you are taller and weigh more than 300 lbs.
The ankle bracket assembly means that it is easy to get strapped into the table, but it also allows you to get out of the table quickly.
For those who are looking for the best on the market, there are some incredible design and easy-to-use features with this inversion table.
You can easily use one of six pre-set angles to get more out of the table, but it’s also designed to have the most ankle support.
You’ll never feel the strain of the machine as you invert to decompress with these cushioned ankle locks. In addition, the crescent face shape headrest makes it so comfortable to rest your back and relax.
8.Innova ITX9600 – Best Value for Spine Relief
We really enjoyed working with the ITX9600 from Innova.
It’s another fantastic inversion table from this brand, and it’s also one of the most highly rated models from Innova.
There are tons of features and benefits that come along with this Innova table.
For one, it combines the best of other Innova models with more cushioning and a soft touch foam back rust, as well as a true balance system that helps you stay secure while strapped into the table.
The Innova ITX9600 is fully adjustable and made of tubular steel. The soft touch memory foam and textured grip handles make it extremely comfortable and safe to use.
We found that the ankle locking system wasn’t as comfortable as with other machines, but the design is sturdy. However, assembly does take longer.
Most inversion table therapists recommend tables like this one because it’s so easy to use and doesn’t have complicated levers. You simply lean on the machine and lock in your ankles with the lever, then lean back further to start inversion.
With the true balance system, you can also feel secure once you start inversion.
We love the affordability of the Innova ITX9600. It receives a ton of praise from many in the inversion therapy world for simplicity and ease-of-use.
The design is perfect for comfort and support, but you might need some help when you decide to put the table together. In addition, the weight limits are a bit misleading as the ankle system isn’t as comfortable as others.
What Angle to Use with Inversion Tables?
The answer to this question really depends on the type of back pain that you are experiencing. In ancient times, Hippocrates used inversion to hang patients upside down at a 90-degree angle.
For those who are suffering all over back pain, inverting at a perpendicular angle can lead to instant pain relief. The same goes for sciatica pain. However, you can adjust these tables to suit whatever angle you like.
Some are not able to invert at a complete 90-degree angle because of pressure to the head. This means that you may only invert at a partially inverted degree, such as 60-degree or 70-degree.
If you have questions about how to use an invert table with your condition, it’s best to consult with a doctor beforehand.
What are the Best Shoes to Wear With Inversion Tables?
This is because your slippers can easily fall off and get mangled by the machine. You may hurt your feet unless you wear some type of rubber shoe.
When is the Best Time of Day for Inversion Therapy?
To alleviate back pain, you may want to try inversion therapy twice per day. Many back pain sufferers use inversion tables daily to get rid of back pain temporary.
You can invert between 60 and 90 degrees for one to five minutes to achieve this relief. We recommend using an inversion table in the morning and before bed to get rid of pressure.
Best Tips for Results with Inversion Therapy
It’s important to consult with your doctor on whether this table is right for your situation and how it should be used to alleviate your systems.
Studies have shown that inverted tables can relieve back pain in the short-term and provide much-needed relief for back injuries.
Proper Inversion Therapy Setup
You should always set up your table on a flat, even surface with a rubber base. You don’t want the table to slip at all. If you have never used this table before, you should make sure to set it up and use it with a friend for your first time.
Wear Rubber Sole Shoes
You can wear athletic sneakers or other rubber shoes to ensure that you have support and protection while strapped to the table.
Getting into the Table
Inversion tables are designed to help you alleviate pain without putting any strain on your back. You should be able to lean your back against the back pad and place each foot into the steps at the bottom.
There will be a lever that you can pull up to lock your legs and ankles in place.
Strap Yourself In
Since you’ll be hanging upside down, you want to make sure that your body is in place. You may have several straps, such as an ankle lock, waist strap, and chest strap.
Rotate to Invert
Typically inversion tables use the headrest or side arm rests to rotate backwards into an inverted position.
You can rotate all the way to 90 degrees or more, but if you only need partial inversion, you may simply lean the table back so that you are only slightly leaning down at a 5-degree angle.
Can You Use Inversion Therapy While Pregnant?
Back pain can increase during pregnancy, but the Mayo Clinic doesn’t recommend it for pregnant users. This is because it can cause increased blood pressure and poor circulation. However, it also depends on what stage you are in.
Pain Relief & Other Benefits of Inversion Therapy
You can use inversion therapy to resolve a lot of different injuries and pain problems. While severe back pain is the main reason that people use this table, it’s also availbale to help with injuries and core-strengthening exercses. There are tons of other purported benefits.
Here is a complete list:
- Pinched nerve
- Herniated disk
- Neck pain sciatica
- Lower back pain
- Bulging disc
- Lengthen your spine
- Helps piriformis syndrome
- Spinal stenosis
- Relieves vertigo
Accessories for Inversion Tables
Rubber Sole Sneakers
It’s important to protect your feet while in an inversion machine. If you don’t wear any shoes, you could risk an injury or slip out of the machine. Athletic shoes or rubber sole sneakers are the best options for footwear.
While your inversion table may come with straps, others don’t come with the right amount of straps or the straps may be too small. Inversion belts and extra width belts are available to help you strap into the table.
These gravity boots can also help you perform inverted exercises comfortably. You can strengthen your core without any pressure on your spine.
This is perfect for those who are finding relief from inversion tables and want to move on to sit-ups and crunches.
While higher-priced inversion tables do their best to accommodate you, there are others that do not provide proper ankle support, which can lead to discomfort and pain when you hang upside down.
Inversion Tables Comparisons
So how does inversion stack up against other therapies? Here is a complete list of everything back sufferers have tried and how it compares to the results with inversion tables.
Inversion Table vs. Chiropractic
Most chiropractors have heard of an inversion table or even use it in their practices. Spinal decompression studies have shown that inversion tables provide a ton of relief when combined with chiropractic massage.
It can also be safer to use an inversion table than an adjustment for certain types of back pain. Most chiropractors will use an inversion table to customize a patient’s treatment routine for their sciatica or lower back pain problems.
Inversion Table vs. Traction
There are new tools for computerized traction that work to relieve back pain. However, they are more expensive than inversion therapy typically. That said, traction has longer-lasting benefits on certain patients.
A study at the Santa Corona Hospital in Itality found that nearly 80% of the patients reported improvement and higher quality of life.
However, the cost of this treatment ranges from $100 to $300 per visit with about 20 visits necessary. This means that the total cost can range up to $4,000.
Inversion Table vs. Gravity Boots
For those who are able to bend with limited pain, then gravity boots may be more beneficial as they allow you to suspend yourself with your feet above your head.
These typically use a brace or cuff around the ankle that latches on firmly, and you can attach to an inversion rack so that you are hanging upside down.
You should be physically fit to use these types of boots, meaning that they are not suitable for most back pain sufferers.
Inversion Table vs. Hanging
Essentially, inversion tables and hanging are the same things, except they use different tools. Hanging is difficult to do by yourself and can cause more problems for those who already have back pain.
With inversion tables, you hang upside down but within a safe piece of equipment that has straps and cushions.
Inversion Table vs. Inversion Chair
If you find yourself dealing with sciatic pain, then the last thing you want is to sit in any perpendicular angle.
The chair design uses rolled leg supports and works best for those who need gravity traction but don’t have the strongest ankles or knees.
Chairs do not provide as much relief for all back pain sufferers. However, it can partially relieve back pain with gravity assisted traction.
Inversion Table vs. Pull Up Bar
Unless you have a lot of upper arm strength, it will be difficult to get into position with a pull-up bar. You may also have problems if you weigh over 250 lbs.
Inversion Table vs. Yoga Swing
Yoga swings have become incredibly popular for those who want to strengthen their core muscles with exercises using the swing design. You can use these for inversion therapy to hang upside down, and they’re easy to assemble.
It’s important that you have someone to help you get into position using the yoga swing.
Yoga swings are made from rayon fabric and allow you to set up a form-fitting swing, hammock, or sky chair, which can be perfect for those who have lower back pain.
Inversion Table vs. Headstand
There are a number of YouTube videos out there that show you how to use exercises like headstands to employ traction and relieve back pain.
Inversion Table vs. Reverse Hyper
Reverse hyper is a method used to treat spondylolisthesis, which shifts your spinal discs forward.
This can lead to severe pain in several areas of the back, but it mostly results in sciatic pain and lower back aches. It can also cause tingling in your lower legs depending on the severity.
Reverse hyper machines relieve back pain and help with the numbness in legs, but it’s generally observed as the same treatment as inversion therapy. The results are nearly the same for both patients.
Inversion Table vs. Back Stretcher
Do you have poor posture or want to elongate your spine? Back-stretching machines provide results in some cases that are similar to inversion tables. It’s also beneficial just to stretch your muscles and alleviate tension.
These stretches work differently than tables, however. Most stretchers use an arched piece of foam that slips underneath your back. In terms of costs, back stretchers are the least expensive.
Inversion Table vs. Exercise Ball
While exercise balls are inexpensive, they can’t provide the same relief as if you were hanging upside down and using the full benefits of traction.
Most of all, exercise balls are difficult to work with if you have back pain, due to the way that they roll in all directions. You may be able to get an exercise ball quickly, but it won’t provide the full gravity effect as with inversion therapy.
Inversion Table vs. Decompression
Since inversion therapy is non-invasive and doesn’t require surgery, there are some obvious benefits to using it over surgical decompression.
However, this surgery successfully relieves pressure on nerve roots in about 90% of patients.
For those who need back pain relief, inversion tables at home become a daily experience. When used morning and night, you may find that daily decompression alleviates back pain more and more until it’s resolved completely.
Others use their inversion tables every day due to long-term illness and spinal injuries. If you are considering an inversion table, you should think about your comfort level with hanging upside down and traction therapy.
In addition, if you have back pain due to weight issues, there are inversion tables with more padding and better ankle supports. You should always pick a table that can support your weight, otherwise it could lead to discomfort.
You need an inversion table if:
- You suffer from back pain on a daily basis that can’t be relieved through medication or regular exercise
- Your pain is so severe that you are unable to sleep or sit in your chair at perpendicular angles
- You suffer from a herniated or slipped disc that requires decompression
You don’t need an inversion table if:
- You want help with your posture and height
- You have high blood pressure
- You are pregnant
- You have hypertension
- You have glaucoma or other retina displacement issues