This post is written by chiropractor Dr. Carlos M. Gonzalez.
Most people, including many doctors, misunderstand what inversion is all about. They either think it’s a gimmick or they don’t understand the benefits of inverting. As a Chiropractor, I want to give you my professional opinion of when and why one should or should not invert.
Most people can safely invert. Inversion is one of those BEST KEPT SECRETS. I have inverted thousands of patients over the last twenty-one years of my chiropractic career. These were people who were injured in car crashes, injured due to improper lifting, sports injuries, slips and fall etc. Many of these people had been to medical doctors but were not getting pain relief through conventional medical treatments. These people were prescribed many different narcotics and injections for pain, and physical therapy provided little to no relief. They thought their next option was spinal surgery or their doctor told them to learn to live with the pain. In desperation to avoid surgery and in hopes to find natural pain relief – this is when most people turn to chiropractic care and/or inversion therapy.
As part of my treatment protocol, I introduce inversion to most of my patients. In my clinical experience, inversion is best for back or neck pain, sciatica, muscle spasms, herniated and/or bulging discs. Inversion helps tremendously and many times will completely get rid of the patient’s pain. When inverted, your spine and discs stretch and open, allowing relaxation of the muscles, alignment of the spine and re-hydration of the discs. When there is a bulging or herniated disc, inverting creates a negative pressure to the disc spaces forcing the bulge or herniation to retract back into its natural position.
When I introduce a patient to inversion, I typically perform a short demonstration on how to invert. Then I have them try it themselves with myself or one of my experienced staff acting as their spotter. It still amazes me how many patients tell me this feels really good, I feel no pain at all, this is so easy, or I’ve always been curious and wanted to try hanging upside down.
Inversion is beneficial to everybody, even if you have not had a back or neck injury. Gravity compresses on your whole body every day as soon as you wake up and get out of bed and will continue to compress your body, specifically your spine and discs, until you go back to bed. Sitting actually causes more pressure to your lower back than standing. This is why people who work sitting have more problems with their low back.
Inversion is excellent for anyone who works behind a desk or at a job that calls for a lot of bending, lifting and reaching because it allows your muscles to relax and your spine to realign and decompress. People in these types of jobs often report back that they begin to feel their body is enabled, this is because routine inversion is allowing them to reset their back by re-hydrating their discs and relaxing their muscles, which grants them better flexibility and range of motion. Maintaining flexibility and increasing core strength greatly reduces a person’s chances for an on-the-job back injury.
You should invert on a regular basis, not just when your back hurts or once in a while. Inversion is one of those things that if you just do it on a regular basis and then stop, you will start to feel the difference in a few days. Your muscles will start to tighten up and your body and spine will begin to feel compressed. By the end of the week, you will be saying, I need to get on my Teeter inversion table. Inversion also increases the blood flow to your brain which helps people wake up when they invert in the morning, relax and sleep better when they invert at night, or helps refresh the mind during a mid-day break. This is a fantastic benefit that many people don’t realize.
There are contraindications to inversion. The first thing I evaluate is if a patient is physically and medically able to hang upside down. Obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and glaucoma are the most common conditions that would signal a red flag as contraindications to inversion. There are other contraindications and you should always check with a qualified clinician who has experience with inversion therapy before inverting.
I personally invert just about every single day usually 2-3 times a day. I no longer suffer from that burning sensation at the base of my neck. My low back rarely gives me any problems unless I do hours of yard work or sit at my computer for hours without taking breaks. If you have ever been curious about inverting try it, you don’t know what you are missing until you know what you’ve been missing. You won’t be disappointed!
In my opinion, Teeter has the best educational website on inversion and showcases the many different types of high-quality inversion tables for the public and for healthcare professionals.
Dr. Carlos M. Gonzalez is a Nationally Board Certified Chiropractor and has been in private practice since 1991. Dr. Gonzalez has produced and hosted live radio talk shows, has appeared on local TV numerous times in El Paso, TX and testifies in court as an expert witness. Dr. Gonzalez has written over one hundred articles on wellness, inversion, fitness, pain relief, preventative care and many more topics. In addition, he has authored Hanging Out Pain Free and Hanging Out For The Health Of It: One Minute a Day to a Healthier, Happier, & Longer Life.