Do Inversion Tables Work?

The intentional goal from the use of a inversion table in relation to low back pain is to decompress the spine through the use of gravity. An inversion table positions your body upside down or nearly upside down. The gravitational pull placed on your body is thought to decompress your spine via traction. While inversion tables may work for healthy and fit individuals, there is a risk of stroke or eye damage due to increased vasculature pressure.

Traction is a modality used by physical therapists and can be applied manually (via the therapists hands or assisted by mobilization straps) or mechanically (via pneumatic or motorized traction devices). In a therapeutic setting, traction is mostly applied in the supine position (on your back). This position does not cause an increase in vasculature pressure and is safer than an inversion table. If consultation with an orthopedic manual physical therapist is not possible, a home traction device can be used to try to reproduce the manual traction or pneumatic or motorized traction provided in a therapeutic setting.

Professional motorized traction machines can costs thousands of dollars. Pneumatic traction machines are sometimes used in a professional setting, but can also be purchased for home use for hundreds of dollars. Some pneumatic traction machines have setup procedures that are time-consuming such as having to affix many straps to the body.

We found and recommend a simple home lumbar traction unit as noted below. The setup time is reduced in that there are no straps to affix to the body. If the device is easy to use, people will likely use it more and experience some relief.

Stamina in Line Back Stretch Bench