Now, here’s a new thing about which I recently learned: inversion tables.
Basically, the idea behind the inversion table is that by letting your body tilt backward, your spine has the opportunity to decompress. As I understand it, it helps the spinal joints open up, allowing spinal fluid to flow into those areas bringing healing. (Watch a video demo here.)
I have spoken with a few friends whose words about the table have prompted me to consider that by using such on a regular (and likely, daily) basis, it may be possible to resolve back pains without the need for chiropractic adjustments.
One friend said her husband has a herniated disc, and, as I recall, he uses the inversion table 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the evening, and has not gone to the chiropractor in 2-3 years!
Another friend, simply hangs upside down at the gym (on a bar there, I suppose) for about 3 minutes a day. He, too, professes no need for a chiropractor.
Given the reality that I’ve historically needed a great deal of chiropractic care, and due to the back / neck issues I was having in December and January, I decided to go try out an inversion table for myself and see whether it might help.
Getting a Healthy Back
This decision led me to visit the Healthy Back store, a retailer that Barry Bragg, CEO of Transformation Fitness, told me about (as a possible place to go try one out).
Upon entering the Healthy Back Store, I met Kiko, manager at the Glenwood Avenue location in Raleigh. I told her I was interested in trying out an inversion table, and to my surprise, was shown that they had not just one, but three different kinds!
Super knowledgeable, Kiko shared with me the features and functionality of the various tables and I finally settled on one to try.
Apparently, consistent use of the table is the key to seeing results, and Kiko readily offered me the chance to come in every day for a week or even a month, if I wanted, to test out the table. She indicated her desire that customers be happy with their purchase, and since the tables were not returnable, giving folks a chance to come in for repeat visits was a way they could try before they buy.
I was pleasantly surprised and pleased by her desire to provide that level of customer service.
She knew her stuff and soon I was perched head-side down on the Teeter Hang-Ups brand inversion table. (I believe it was the new Contour L5 model).
Trying a Tilt
I started around a 20-degree backward tilt. Kiko indicated one can start with a slight backward tilt and work their way up to a greater backward tilt.
Curious by nature, I wanted to just try out a more backward tilt and sought her permission to go back further…just to see what it felt like.
She put me further back to 45 degrees past level. Wow. If she hadn’t told me it was only 45 degrees back, I might have thought I was hanging completely upside down it felt so funny.
I wanted to go back all the way – to 90 degrees.
She explained how that can be more stressful (than relieving) to some folks, but was willing to release the table to turn back that far. Almost as soon as I hit the 90 degree mark, I was practically begging her to get me back up again. It felt pretty intense on my body – and of course, very odd.
20 degrees had not sounded like a whole lot and first, but after the extreme backward tilt, I was good with 20.
Following that first visit, I came back to the store and tried that particular (Teeter) table out a few more times. The Teeter table was their medium-price-point inversion table of the three that they had.
I did not like the cheaper inversion table they had in stock. My long torso caused my head to hit the metal bar at the top of the table…not comfortable.
And I did not like the more expensive inversion table they had on hand because it was a sliding table – and would slide back (providing more “traction,” apparently) when a person inverts backward. As I was tilted back, the table was also sliding back, pulling me further out (as if lengthening my body back from the ankles), but this was too stressful for my body and uncomfortable.
The Teeter “Totter” Table (my nickname for it) was my favorite for sure.
Comfortable. Secure. And it even has some kind of certified safety rating that gives the end user peace of mind about their protection when using.
I definitely felt secure while hanging upside down on it.
Time for Tables
In lieu of the back pain I’d been having, my chiropractor decided to do some x-rays in January, the results of which did show some compression on certain sides of my back vertebrae. Though apparently not statistically significant or severe, he supported my trying out an inversion table as a possible means of relief, suggesting I use one daily 3-4 times a day for a maximum of 2-3 minutes per session.
As it turns out, I was loaned a table and thus have been able to try it out daily at my house – and am currently doing so for a few weeks to see how things go. I’m hoping a few weeks of consistent, daily use at my home will help me ascertain whether it’s time to get an inversion table of my own (and after trying out the Teeter version, I know which way I’m leaning!)
In the meantime, I can already tell you this: at my second visit to The Healthy Back Store I arrived with a pretty severe headache that I felt confident was stemming from neck pain. I lay inverted on the table for about 45 minutes that evening (this was before the chiropractor had prescribed shorter sessions – I think it may be possible to do shorter or longer sessions, perhaps it just depends on the person and their tolerance). At any rate, after the session, when I left the store, I felt remarkably better and my headache was GONE. The change was so remarkable after my inversion, that I called Kiko on the phone on my drive away, to thank her.
Have you tried out the inversion table yet?