There are many factors that contribute to back pain, and often people suffer to find a solution. Exercise, proper nutrition, healthy weight, proper postures, and back safety all contribute to a healthy pain-free back. However, people often find their back aching after a long day at work. It can be hard to find something you can use at home for relief. People often first try heat, ice, and massage, but these products only provide temporary relief. That is where an inversion table comes in handy.
If you are suffering back pain or just want to have a device that can provide relief, an inversion table is a great choice. However, people who have back pain are not the only ones who should be using an inversion table. An inversion table can be used by anyone to help nourish and prevent injuries of the spine. This article is going to be discussing what inversion tables are used for, how they work, and best ways to use them. I will be listing and reviewing the 10 best inversion tables on the market, and providing pros and cons of each.
What Are Inversion Tables?
Inversion tables are devices that allow one to be hung at an inverted angle or fully upside down. The inversion table allows you to anchor in by your ankles or feet with secure straps. Then slowly, with the help of gravity the inversion table can begin to tilt back at various angles or completely upside down. Inversion tables provide spinal traction which can help decompress the vertebrae of the spine.
People use inversion therapy for multiple reasons such as back pain relief, stretching, relaxation, improved blood flow, and even to exercise. Some prefer to do upside down exercises such as inverted crunches. These will really challenge your core musculature. However, most use an inversion table for sole purposes of relaxation, stretching, and back decompression.
How Do Inversion Tables Work?
Inversion tables work by providing a traction force throughout the entire body. This traction force is accomplished by your own bodyweight and the effects of gravity. By anchoring in your feet/ankles your entire bodyweight can be gently pulled while hanging upside down. Gravity will begin to work on all your joints, soft tissue, spine, and blood circulation. Inversion tables are even great to decompress the knees and hips, because they take so much compression throughout our lives.
We all experience the effects of gravity in our day to day lives. While we stand, sit, walk, run, etc. the forces of gravity are taking a toll on our spine and joints. The day to day effects of gravity are very compressive to our spine, hip, and knee joints. That is why unfortunately we see elderly individuals hunched over from the years of compression on their back. That is why it is beneficial to take advantage of an inversion table. Inversion tables are one of the best ways to combat this compressive force. While hanging inverted, our body is able to finally get relief from all that compression.
How Do I Use An Inversion Table?
Using an inversion table can be scary for the first time. However, it is best to be comfortable and fully relaxed when using an inversion table. First, you want to put your inversion table on a sturdy level surface. This will ensure the inversion table is balanced, and that you will be safe while inverting. Next, you want to set the height and set the angle of your inversion table. The pin at the bottom will allow you to adjust your height, which is just a guide to get started. The angle of the inversion table can be set for those who want to start inverted with a small angle to get the feel for it, and then you can progress to full inversion when you are ready. Before beginning to tilt back, carefully check to make sure both your ankles are locked in place.
To begin tilting back, you simply lift up your arms. This will counteract the balance of the inversion table, and allow you to slowly tilt back. Once you find the ideal spot, then just relax and let the effects of gravity begin to work! By relaxing you will help calm and release your back muscles allowing decompression of the spine. You can even grab the top or side of the inversion table, and gently pull to get a deeper stretch.
How Often Should I Use An Inversion Table?
To get the most benefits and relief for your back it is best to use an inversion table daily. You can even progress to multiple times per day to see the most results. Think about it, we are being compressed all day everyday by the effects of gravity. So to make long lasting changes you must use an inversion table daily. This is the best way to combat these compressive forces. An inversion table will begin to decompress your spine each session and release chronically tight muscles.
Some people use the inversion table every morning and every night. It all depends on your preference and schedule. I recommend trying to use the inversion table at-least twice per day. It will not take much time out of your day. Some even claim it is the best way to wake up in the morning! This is due to gravity causing blood circulation and nutrition to your brain which will stimulate your arousal in the morning.
How Long Should I Invert?
You should begin with once per day at about 1 minute per session while inverting. It is best to get a feel for it, and see how your body responds. Then, over a period of a few weeks you can progress that time to about 3-4 minutes. However, it is important for you to be comfortable and listen to your body. So if you feel best inverting for only 30 seconds that is perfectly fine! Everyone will respond differently to inversion, and some will prefer shorter or longer inversion times. Although, you can always progress your inversion therapy by doing it more often, rather than changing the time you stay inverted.
The 10 Best Inversion Tables For Back Pain
IRONMAN Gravity 4000 Inversion Table: Score 10/10
– AIRSOFT Ankle Holders
– 2.5inch Thick Memory Foam
– Removable Lumbar Pillow
– Somewhat Expensive
– Complaints of Missing Pieces
The IRONMAN inversion table is built like a true ironman. This thing is incredible, and my all time personal favorite. I really like how sturdy and durable the IRONMAN feels. Some inversion table feel like a piece of plywood, and not very stable. However, the IRONMAN is heavy duty and has an extra wide frame. So even as a big guy I feel stable and secure on this inversion table. Another thing I really like about this inversion table is the extra thick foam backrest. It is 2.5″ thick memory foam. If you are going to be hanging upside down, you need to at-least be comfortable! The extra foam allows you to really relax and be comfortable.
One of the main reasons IRONMAN is number one on our list is the Airsoft Ankle Holders. Believe me, if you have used a standard inversion table you will know it is not the most comfortable on your ankles. Most units pinch, and are not very padded on the ankle holders. However, the IRONMAN has Airsoft ankle holders that will not pinch or cause pain on your ankles while using the inversion table. This is the main plus for the IRONMAN. Also, it includes a lumbar pillow which is actually very comfortable to support your low back arch. If you buy this, you will see just why they call it the IRONMAN.
Teeter EP-970 Ltd. Inversion Table: Score 9.5/10
– FDA Registered Inversion Table
– Acupressure Nodes for Trigger-point Release
– Firm ComforTrak Surface
– High Price Tag
– Ankle Support may be Uncomfortable
Teeter is a trusted name when it comes to inversion tables. That is why this inversion table is a FDA registered medical device. The Teeter is the only inversion table that is an FDA registered device, so that speaks to the high quality standards that this inversion table delivers. One of the main features on the Teeter EP-970 is the acupressure nodes along the table. These provide trigger-point release while you are getting traction across the entire spine.
The Teeter EP-970 is one of the highest quality inversion tables on the market. Although, it comes with a heavy price tag, but you get what you pay for. This inversion table would be an investment for your health, and would last a lifetime. Another hallmark feature of the Teeter inversion table is the firm ComforTrak bed. This is a firm surface unlike the foam padded designs that most feature. The firm design is meant to provide a deeper traction and decompression compared to foam inversion tables. Even without the foam this inversion table is one of the most comfortable I have used.
Health Gear ITM5500 Inversion Table: Score 9.5/10
– 4 inch Memory Foam Backrest
– Vibrating Massage and Heat Pad
– Foldable for Storage
– Thick Cushioning could Takeaway from the Decompression
– May Not Want Heat/Massage Pad
The Health Gear ITM5500 Inversion Table comes with all the extra features. This inversion table includes a removable remote controlled full back vibrating and heat pad. So not only will you get the back pain relief from the traction, but you get heat and a massage at the same time. The added heat and massage is actually a really good feature. This will help relax and release tight muscles while you are getting the decompression from inversion. So this inversion table is one of the best on the market.
Health Gear ITM5500 is designed for users between 5’1 and 6’5, and supports up to 300lbs. Another really key feature about the health gear inversion table is the 4 inch memory foam backrest. This is one of the thickest foam backrest on any inversion tables. So, if you prefer extra cushioning and comfort then this is the inversion table for you. Lastly, it is foldable with built in transport wheels! That is a huge convenience for inversion tables, believe me. After every use you could fold it up and store it out of your living room.
“Best Value” Innova ITX9600 Inversion Table: Score 9/10
– Affordable Inversion Table
– High Quality Steel Frame
– Supports Up To 300lbs
– Not as High Quality Compared to Others
– Less Comfortable than Others
Fourth on our list is the Innova Heavy Duty Inversion Table. This inversion table is one of the most affordable on the market, and yet holds high quality standards. The problem with buying a cheap inversion table is they will not last long, and they won’t be very comfortable. However, the Innova inversion table is built from high quality steel that supports up to 300lbs. It includes a comfortable foam back pad-rest, and adjustable head support.
The Innova Heavy Duty inversion table is great if you are looking to buy your very first inversion table, and just want to get a feel for it. I know inversion tables can get expensive, but the Innova inversion table is very affordable. It may not include all the fancy features, but it will still provide traction to help decompress the spine. So even though it is simple, the Innova inversion table will be beneficial and help with your back pain.
YOLEO Inversion Table: Score 9/10
– Triple Protection Safety System
– Chest Safety Buckle Included
– Includes Shoulder Protective Pads
– Some Report Hard To Assemble
– May Not be as Heavy Duty Compared to Others
The YOLEO Inversion Table is a very good high quality inversion table. It features a unique safety mechanism built into the table. The table has a triple protection safety system, which includes an adjustable ankle locking system, chuck buckle, and a safety lock pin system. Most inversion tables only have a pin and lock and ankle locking system. So the added safety buckle around your chest is very unique to this table by YOLEO.
YOLEO inversion table is extra wide with a built in waist cushion and shoulder protective pads. I recommend this inversion table for those who like to have the extra safety features. The YOLEO inversion table is one of the safest tables on the market, because of all the added safety features. This is great for those who may have never used an inversion table before, or for someone who is afraid to invert.
EXERPEUTIC Inversion Table: Score 9/10
– Triple Protection Safety System
– Chest Safety Buckle Included
– Includes Shoulder Protective Pads
– Some Report Hard To Assemble
– May Not be as Heavy Duty Compared to Others
Next on our list is the EXERPEUTIC Inversion Table. Similar to the Health Gear Inversion table, this inversion table features adjustable vibration and heat massage lumbar support. The lumbar support has 2 massage options and 3 vibration intensity levels. However, these vibration and heat features only hit the lumbar area. Unlike Health Gear which covered the entire back.
Another unique feature of the EXERPEUTIC inversion table is the AIRSOFT ankle holders. Which will prevent pinching or pain while you are inverting. One of the best things I like about this table is the 3 angle adjustable cross bar. This adjustable cross bar makes it easier to adjust the angle of inversion and body positioning. Also, it can be used to pull on for a deeper stretch and traction. Using the crossbar for deeper traction on this inversion table would definitely be beneficial for back pain relief.
Innova ITM5900 Inversion Table: Score 8.5/10
– Step Up From Innova's Classic Model
– Includes Vertical Massage Pad for Entire Back
– Integrated Lumbar Pad for Heat and Massage
– Hard to Assemble
– Reports of Little Heat and Massage
Here is another version offered by Innova. The Innova ITM5900 Inversion Table is a step up from their classic ITX9600 design. It is a little more expensive, but comes with extra features that the classic ITX9600 version does not have. The ITM5900 includes a unique vertical massage pad to cover the entire back. It is integrated with a lumbar pad that provides heat and massage for the low back. This is very helpful to provide extra relief, because most of the time back pain originates in the low back (lumbar area).
I really like the quality and innovation that the Innova inversion tables provide. They are high quality inversion tables that are heavy duty and provide a more comfortable inversion experience. I recommend this inversion table for those who want a step up from the classic Innova model.
HARISON Heavy Duty Inversion Table: Score 8.5/10
– Heavy Duty Steel Frame
– 3D Memory Foam Backrest
– Supports Up To 350lbs.
– Reports of Poor Packaging
– Uncomfortable Ankle Straps
The HARISON Inversion table is one of the most heavy duty inversion tables available on the market. This inversion table is constructed of heavy duty material with increased welding support, and is capable of supporting up to 350lbs! Most inversion tables typically only support up to 300lbs, so this inversion table is for larger individuals who want to get the benefits of using inversion therapy. You can just tell by looking at it, how sturdy this inversion table is.
HARISON includes a 3D memory foam backrest for comfort and muscular release. I recommend this inversion table for anyone who wants a very heavy duty table. You will feel the thickness and sturdiness of the steel frame when using this table. The HARISON inversion table is perfect for larger individuals who want to get the back pain relief of inversion therapy.
IRONMAN IFT 4000 Inversion Table: Score 8.5/10
– Infrared Heating Element
– Supports Up To 350lbs
– Heating Element Covers Entire Back
– Reports of Unreliable Heating
– Ankle Straps Can Pinch
Next on our list is another inversion table offered by IRONMAN. This is the IRONMAN IFT 4000 version, which includes infrared therapy. Meaning, the backrest is built-in with an infrared heating element to cover your entire back. The infrared heat is designed to penetrate deeper into the muscles for a more natural heat compared to regular heating pads.
So if you want a heating feature on your inversion table, then the IRONMAN IFT 4000 is perfect for you. Most of the other inversion tables that provide heat, do not cover your entire back like this one does. This inversion table supports up to 350lbs which is impressive. The heat would definitely be an added bonus feature to help with back pain while using your inversion table.
Invertio Inversion Table: Score 8/10
– Very Affordable
– Foldable Design Fits in Closet
– Great Inversion Table for Beginners
– Not as Comfortable As Others
– Not as High of Quality
Last on our top 10 list is the Invertio Inversion Table. This is actually a really great affordable option. Invertio is one of the cheapest available on the market, but comes with a trusted fan base who like this simple option. You won’t find any of the special features on this table, however it will still get the job done. You can still get great decompression from this inversion table to help relieve back pain.
The Invertio inversion table has 8-position options for the ankle support which is great for users of all size. This table supports up to 300lbs and users from 5’1 to 6’6 in height. I recommend this inversion table for those who want to experience inversion therapy without the extra features such as heat or massage. Also, this makes for a great beginner inversion table.
I know there is a ton of options when it comes to buying an inversion table. You must take into consideration several things when shopping for the best inversion table for your back pain. You need to consider durability, comfort, price, and size. Listed above are the best inversion tables on the market, and will provide the most decompression for back pain relief. I recommend spending the extra money to get a high quality and durable table, because it will last your a lifetime. For example, the Teeter EP-970 is expensive, but is the Rolls-Royce of inversion tables and will last forever! It is an investment towards your health and longevity. Also, if you want added heat or massage make sure to grab an inversion table with these features. The heat is a great bonus for relaxation, and to release tight sore muscles.
If this is your first time using an inversion table, make sure to take it slow and build up your frequency and duration. You want to start slow and allow your body to adjust. If you are nervous, purchase an inversion table with added safety features like the Yoleo Inversion Table. However, with any of the inversion tables listed above you will be safe. Use inversion therapy daily, and you will be on your way to more healthy body and pain-free back.