Because humans walk upright, the spinal column is constantly under pressure from gravity and the pressure of supporting the weight of the head and torso. Over time, the disks separating the spinal vertebrae become compressed, and this often causes pain, which can be severe.
Common treatments for back pain
There are surgical, medicinal and manipulative treatments in widespread use to help alleviate the pain. Surgery is the most extreme treatment, and comes with many risks. In addition, it has a relatively low long-term success rate. That is why many people with back problems are constantly looking at alternative therapies to help reduce the pain and stress that arise from spinal problems.
One such alternative therapy is doing inversions using an inversion table. If you want to give inversion therapy a try, it is important that you learn how to use an inversion table properly to avoid risk of injury.
What is inversion?
Inversion is a process where the body is positioned such that the head is below the level of the feet. In an full inversion, the body is completely upside down, but it is advisable to get comfortable using smaller inversion angles at the outset, and gradually work up to a full inversion.
An inversion table is a support structure that you can use to let you adopt an inverted posture. When you are setting up your inversion table, you need to do so in a room that has plenty of space in it. The area immediately around the inversion table needs to be kept clear of furniture and other objects that could cause injury if accidentally struck.
How to use an inversion table
- The very first step is to adjust the table to suit your height. You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to do this. If you are the only person who will be using the table, you will only need to adjust it once. If you share it with others, you may have to do this before every use.
- Check that the safety harnesses are properly secured to the table and tightened. Since these are what keep you securely in place they need to be fitted and tightened properly. Your manual will explain how to do this.
- Rotate the table to its shallowest angle before getting on. With most tables, this angle will position the surface almost vertically to the floor. Fasten the straps as directed.
- You stretch your spine by raising your arms above your shoulders, and retaining them in this position for a set time. When beginning inversions for the first time, or after a long abstinence, keep the time period short.
- Gradually increase your inversion angle as you get more used to your inversion table. You can also increase the time spent inverted. As the angle increases, there will be a greater flow of blood to the head. If you begin to feel dizzy or nauseous, stop the inversion immediately.
- If you are nervous about inverting to large angles, it can be useful to have somebody in the room with you as you do your inversions. This can help you to relax, and give you more confidence in using the equipment.
- When you have finished your inversion session, rotate the table back to its narrowest angle. Undo your safety harnesses completely and dismount. Some people may experience dizziness or feel light-headed when they revert to a normal posture. If you are one of those, you should remain on your table for a few moments until the spell passes.
Finally, it is a good idea to mention to your doctor that you intend using an inversion table before you buy one. Your doctor may advise against it if there is a risk that using one could harm you.