Inversion Therapy for Back Pain: Benefits, Frequency, Contraindications
Benefits of Inversion Therapy for Back Pain or How Hanging Upside Down Can Help Back Pain
Inversion therapy using an inversion table or hanging upside down using inversion table helps in reducing back pain and also helps in reversing the effects of aging on the spine.(1)
How Does Inversion Therapy or Hanging Upside Down Help Back Pain and Other Spinal Conditions Like Scoliosis and Lordosis
The vertebrae are separated by discs. These discs help in movement and shock absorption. Vigorous exercises or repetitive strain on the spine from activities such as running results in compression of the discs. There is a jelly type material present in the center of the disc. Due to compression of the discs, this material protrudes out and puts pressure on the nerves resulting in a condition known as slipped disc or herniated disc. In inversion therapy, when the body is inverted or is hanging upside down, it causes the space between the vertebrae to increase, which reduces the pressure on the discs. The nerves exit the spine through the spaces between the vertebrae and increase in these spaces reduces the compression on the nerve roots and discs, which helps in reducing the back pain.(1) If the body is oscillated or moved up and down on an inversion table, it causes a pumping action which helps the fluids around the spinal discs to expel the waste out and help in spreading the fluid around the discs. Inversion therapy or hanging upside down also helps in relaxing the muscles, which in turn increases blood circulation through the muscles. This helps in improving the condition of the muscles, makes them suppler and reduces painful muscle spasms.
Inversion therapy using inversion table or hanging upside down also helps in improving the posture and other spinal conditions such as scoliosis and lordosis. If it is done along with other exercises, it helps in realignment of the spine by reducing muscle spasms.
How Does Inversion Therapy Help Back Pain
Frequency of Inversion Therapy for Back Pain
The frequency of inversion therapy or hanging upside down depends on the cause for inverting. In case of a back problem, two to three times a day is sufficient. As the back problem abates, the frequency of inversion therapy or hanging upside down can be decreased. After complete recovery of back pain, it is beneficial if the athlete includes inversion therapy in his training regime at least twice a week.
Improved Blood Circulation Benefits of Inversion Therapy (Hanging Upside Down)
The heart and blood vessels comprise the cardiovascular system. The heart is one of the major organs of the body. It pumps blood and circulates the blood in the body. Inversion therapy using inversion table or hanging upside down helps in increasing the blood supply to the brain.
The lymphatic system helps in removing waste products from the muscles and tissues and circulates fluid around the body. However the lymphatic system does not consist of a pump. So, the removal of waste products and fluid circulation is done by the squeezing action of the muscles which passes the fluid through the lymph vessels. Inversion therapy also helps in circulation of lymph fluid up the body and helps in faster recovery from training by rapid removal of waste products.
Contraindications to Inversion Therapy for Back Pain
Inversion therapy or hanging upside down is usually safe to do, but it is recommended that the patient seek medical advice before starting inversion therapy or using any inversion therapy equipment. Inversion therapy or hanging upside down should be strictly avoided in the following medical conditions:
- Retinal detachment
- Recent stroke
- Heart/circulatory disorders
- Injury to the spine
- Cerebral sclerosis
- Joint swelling
- Osteoporosis (1)
- Unhealed fractures
- Surgically implanted supports
- When using anticoagulant medications
- Ear infection
- Obesity (1)