Spinal Decompression vs Inversion Table: What is the Difference?

Spinal Decompression vs Inversion Table: What is the Difference?

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression and inversion tables are the two major techniques that can be used to cure you of back spasms and spinal issues. In other words, if you have any problem relating to your spine, your healthcare professional is most likely going to recommend that you take either of these treatments.

Hence, there is a need to know about these treatments.

In this article, we are going to discuss spinal decompression vs inversion table therapy and what they mean. We will also talk about the functions they perform, how they work, the benefits inherent in each type of treatment, the side effects and much more.

Furthermore, we will weigh them against each other. Therefore, if you are experiencing back pain and you’re suspecting you might need to go for either of these treatments, here is an opportunity for you to learn about them. Keep reading.

Anatomy of the spine

The human spine is made of up of a column of several short bones known as the vertebrae. There are 33 vertebrae in all. Among these vertebrae, the 24 in the upper part of the spine are flexible and allow movement while the lower 9 are fused (stiff and immobile).

Each vertebra is separated from the next by a thin layer of a ligament known as the intervertebral disc. These discs serve as shock-absorbers between two successive vertebrae, preventing them from coming in contact with each other. Due to a number of reasons, one of which is age, there could be changes to the pressure level in the spine.

These changes, in turn, can cause discs to get deformed. The deformity can take many forms. It could be in the form of the discs losing their flexibility, or reducing in thickness. The discs can even become slightly displaced from their natural position. When this happens, the individual begins to feel discomfort and general back pain and spasms.

However, discs cannot repair themselves easily because the blood supply to them is limited. Therefore, it might become necessary to resort to artificial therapy to rectify the anomaly. This is where spinal decompression vs inversion table comes into the picture.

What is spinal decompression? 

Spinal decompression is a therapy aimed at relieving you of back/spine problem. The therapy is made up of a series of sessions designed to reduce the pressure that has built up in your soft disc cushions (in the intervertebral discs). Spinal decompression is carried out on a decompression table by a licensed professional known as a chiropractor.

A chiropractor is a trained expert in matters involving the spine and you must be sure that the chiropractor whose services you will be engaging is registered and licensed to carry out the treatment. This is necessary because spinal decompression is a calculated therapy that requires a high degree of expertise. Also, accuracy is important in order for the therapy to be effective.

There are two forms of spinal decompression treatments, namely nonsurgical decompression and surgical decompression. The approach to employ will depend on the extent of your spinal problem as determined by the chiropractor.

Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression Therapy

Nonsurgical decompression involves the application of a kind of traction. A decompression table is connected to a computer which has been programmed using a series of meticulous calculations. The programmed computer controls the movement of the decompression table.

Hence, both of these gadgets make up the traction system. The traction system works by pulling the segments of your spine apart. You do not have to fear because the process is not a painful one. In fact, you will be very relaxed during the entire process.

This form of treatment is quite effective, with a nearly 80% success rate reported among patients who went all the way to complete the therapy. In addition, it is quite inexpensive compared to the surgical decompression method. It is estimated to cost anything between $100 to $200 per session. This means you will spend no more than $5,000 for a 25-session therapy.

Surgical Decompression

Surgical decompression is done in a hospital. If your condition is very severe, non-surgical spinal decompression may not work effectively and your healthcare provider or chiropractor may decide that surgical spinal decompression is more appropriate. Right now, there are no less than five different types of decompression surgeries. They all focus on the removal of parts of the discs, vertebrae or connective tissues.

Surgical decompression techniques are quite intensive. Also, they are financially demanding and surgeries costing more than $10,000 are not uncommon. These surgical operations can also have side effects which include blood clots, tissue damage and allergic reactions to the anesthetics used.

However, decompression surgeries are highly effective and have a higher success rate than nonsurgical decompression therapy. According to Cleveland Clinic, around 90% of the people who opt for this procedure reported significant relief to their spine.

What is an inversion table? 

An inversion table is one type of equipment that can be used to perform inversion therapy. It is a well-padded table that is attached to a metal frame in such a way that it can rotate around the hinges and tilt over a wide range of angles. It can even flip over so that it is aligned horizontally.

Inversion therapy itself is another method that is employed in the treatment of back pains and problems relating to the spine. It is different from spinal decompression therapy in a number of ways which we will examine later. If you are undergoing inversion therapy using an inversion table, you will be positioned in such a way that you are hanging down at an angle. The treatment is exactly true to its name, as involves you being inverted.

Inversion therapy is thought to work on the principle of reverse gravity. It is believed that when an individual is inverted in such a way that their feet are up and above their head, the effect of gravity on the spine can be reversed. It is known that gravity leads to the gradual compression of the spine and this could cause chronic back pain. Inversion therapy is quite popular among people experiencing pain at the lower part of their backbone.

It ideally uses your body weight to stretch your spine and depressurize your spine. If you are inverted, the load pressure on the lower part of the backbone is relieved. It is believed that inversion therapy can help to decompress the spine and provide relief to the patient. Hence, this method could be appropriate for you if you have lower back pain.

Also, it is not uncommon to see individuals who perform inversion therapy on their own. However, this is not safe. Inversion therapy is better carried out under supervision.

Benefits of Inversion Tables

There are several benefits that you can derive from using inversion tables. The benefits even go beyond relieving the pressure in the spine and pain in your back. Some of them are listed below

  • Rehydrate Discs

Your discs are important shock absorbers. Therefore it is imperative that they are well moisturized. The pressure on the lower spine as a result of the weight of the upper part of the spine on it will cause the spine to become decompressed, which will, in turn, reduce the space in the discs.

This will force the fluid in this space to escape to neighboring tissues. The result is that you will experience reduced flexibility, and the shock-absorbing abilities of the affected vertebrae will be greatly inhibited.

However, when your body is inverted, the lower spine is free from the load and the pressure is reduced. This will allow fluid to flow back into the space created, thereby increasing the nutrients in the discs and improving their shock-absorbing abilities.

  • Correct Misaligned Vertebrae

The pain you experience in your back could be due to some discs that have slipped slightly out of their natural position. A little misalignment of the bones in the body is enough to cause a great deal of pain for you.

Your day-to-day behaviors and activities, for example, the way you sit, could play a huge role in building up stress in your spine.

It is usually difficult for the vertebrae of the column to readjust themselves once they come out of place. However, using an inversion table tilted at an angle of about 60° can go a long way in readjusting the vertebrae. A little stretching and easing of the pressure on the vertebrae, which an inversion table allows you to do, can correct the anomaly.

  • Helps to relax your Tense muscles

Your muscles will be slightly stretched when you make use of an inversion table. This leads to an increase in circulation which will, in turn, help to reduce tension.

  • Alleviate Stress

As said earlier, inversion therapy will not only help to relieve your back pain, it can also help do a number of other things. One of these is that it can help ease your stress. When inverted, you are made to feel relaxed.

  • Enhance Fitness

Inversion tables will help build up your fitness levels. Inverting can help you strengthen your core. The muscles that make up your core are essential in supporting your upper body. Hence, it invariably helps to build your fitness.

Risks Associated with Inversion Therapy

Although a number of people have reportedly achieved success using this method, there is very little scientific evidence to back up the efficacy of the method and a lot of medical experts are skeptical about it. They have raised a few points which suggest that inversion tables are not ideal for relieving spinal pains. In fact, the procedure is known to carry some risks, which include:

  • During an inversion therapy session, there is a surge in blood pressure. The pressure on the eyes (glaucoma) also increases when you’re turned upside down. As a result of this, the inversion table is very dangerous, especially for people suffering from glaucoma, high blood pressure and heart-related diseases.
  • It is not safe to hang down for too long as it can cause blood to pool to the head. This can lead to a coma or even death. You should not stay inverted for too long at a time. Ideally, a session should not last for more than 30 minutes.
  • Furthermore, if you’re not careful when strapping yourself to the table, it can be dangerous because you can fall off the table and hit your head against a hard object. Hence you need to be careful and meticulous.

How to Use Inversion Tables

  • Find a fairly large space to put your inversion table

Ensure you position your inversion table in a place that is spacious. It is necessary for space to be around the table as a matter of safety precaution because this will eliminate any potential danger that may result from you hitting any obstacle when using the table.

  • Set the table to your height

The height of all inversion tables is adjustable in order to provide the specific height requirement of every individual. There is an adjustment knob that you can use for this purpose. Use the adjustment knob to regulate the height of the table so that it suits your taste. Ensure that you tighten the knob when you’re done with the height adjustment.

  • Strap yourself securely

Once you’ve set the table to your height, climb onto it and strap yourself properly and securely to avoid an accident. Lay your back on the table and allow it to recline so that you’re looking at the ceiling. Remain in this position for some time.

  • Incline the table

It is important to do things a step at a time. Begin your foray into inversion by inclining the table gently at low degrees of inclination – about 10° is good enough for a start. Be careful not to incline the table at a steep angle because it can cause dizziness and headache for you if you’re a rookie. Ask someone to supervise you when you make use of it.

  • Increase usage with time

Improve on the tilt angle and the time spent for each session. Also, partake in inversion therapy sessions more often. You can invert as many times a day as you want.

Similarities between decompression and inversion tables

  • Both are methods are used to treat pain in the spine.

Differences between decompression and inversion tables

  • Decompression therapy requires a certified professional (chiropractor) to carry out the therapy but this is not necessary for inversion tables.
  • Decompression therapy can focus specifically on the affected disc/vertebrae but an inversion table has a rather general treatment which broadly covers the entire spine.
  • An inversion table provides short-term relief but decompression therapy provides relief for a much longer period. Evasive decompression methods are more or less permanent.

Best Back Pain Relief Exercises on an Inversion Chair

best back pain relief exercises on an inversion chair

Whether you’re sitting in a chair or walking around for an extended period of time, back pain can be an annoying and cumbersome thing to experience on a day-to-day basis. You’ve probably tried to combat it with back exercises, yoga, weight training, or any other solution out there, but with no visible results. Maybe you’re even considering surgery to correct your back pain. Well, before you go that far, try giving one last thing a try you probably haven’t yet considered: an inversion chair.

How do inversion chairs work?

Inversion therapy with the use of an inversion chair offers a comfortably seated area that can flip you upside down, thus taking the weight of gravity off your back. It’s been shown to improve back pain by stretching out the discs and muscles that standing upright compresses. Thus, with an inversion chair, you can give your back a stretch you’ve never given it before, and thus get results you’ve never felt before. And, with coupled with effective exercises, you could see results in a much quicker time.

Why use an inversion chair for back pain relief?

  • Eliminate potential back pain surgery. If you’re back pain is getting to the point where you’re considering surgery, an inversion chair may be just what you need to save a thousand of dollars and months of recovery. An Inversion chair costs, at most, $1000–$2000 and can be used regularly to reduce back pain. Therefore, there’s no need for surgeons or doctors when you can just use an inversion chairs and do subsequent exercises on it.
  • Improve your circulatory system. Inversion therapy can help the heart can relax a little because it doesn’t have to work against gravity to circulate blood around the body.
  • Improve mental functioning. Like when using inversion therapy tables, when flipped, you increase the amount of blood to the brain, thus improving cognitive abilities and mood. You might even be able to improve symptoms of depression or anxiety with an inversion chair. With less back pain, you’re definitely going to be feeling happier anyway.
  • Align the spine and speed up recovery after exercise. While exercising brings a multitude of health benefits, it can cause the discs and muscles in your spine to compact. However, with an inversion chair, you can seat yourself in the proper position to put the spine back where it should be. Feel better and recover in no time.
  • Gain height. Since you will be stretching out your spine, you will be giving yourself a couple centimeters or an inch of height that you haven’t had before. Reach things you’ve never thought you’d reach before (quite literally).

So, now that you know how an inversion chair can improve your life, what exercises should you do to make the chair even better? While there are a lot of exercises that you can do on the inversion chair, there are a few simple exercises that you probably already know how to do and can do on the chair, giving you the simplest and best results for your time.

Inverted Crunch

Again in an inverted position (choose the degree to how hard you want to push yourself), lie with your back completely flat against the chair. Put your hands behind your head and look straight in front of you, making sure that your neck is relaxed. Then, lift yourself up with only your abdominal muscles until your shoulder blades are completely off the chair. Hold that position for a second then lower yourself down, but don’t relax your abs. Keep them taught and engaged, and do ten reps before relaxing. Do two or three sets. Strengthening your core also strengthens your back muscles, so you’ll be on your way to less back pain the more you do inverted crunches.

Inverted Sit-up

A sit-up is like a crunch but pushed harder, thus training your back and abdominal muscles more. Lie down in the similar starting position as the crunch (completely flat, hands behind your head), then pull yourself up with only your abs until your body makes a 90-degree angle. Then lower yourself back down, but don’t disengage your abs. Do this ten more times and take a break. Do two or three more sets of inverted sit-ups per exercise session. Some people say that one inverted sit-up is equal to ten regular sit-ups, so just imagine how much you can improve your body by doing exercises on an inverted chair.

Inverted Twists

When in the inverted position, twist your body so that you face either the left or right position. Then, twist the other way. When added to an inverted sit-up, this exercise is known as a Russian Twist and is a great way to improve not only the back but the obliques as well.

Inverted Squats

A squat is great at working your glutes and thighs, and now they can be great at working your back too. To do an inverted squat, suspend yourself upside down or at a slanted angle with your feet properly secured in the foot bar. Then, pull up your body using only your glutes and legs. Your body should look like an inchworm—knees bending outward before you slowly straighten your legs and lower yourself back down. It will be challenging at first, considering how your body isn’t used to working in a different orientation and going against gravity, but you’ll be a champ at inverted squats before you know it.

There you have it, some of the best inversion exercises for you. Say goodbye to back pain and spinal discomfort. Once you get your chair and do some of these exercises, you’ll notice a change soon after starting. Keeping going at it, slowly increasing the amount of exercising you do and your back pain may completely go away. The inversion chair is a great tool for strengthening and improving back health, after all, and will lead you to better health that doesn’t require surgeries or medication. Get the results you want cheaply with an inversion chair and get there faster with inversion exercises.

What Conditions Can You Use Gravity Boots to Treat & 3 Affordable Pairs You Can Own Today

What Conditions Can You Use Gravity Boots to Treat & 3 Affordable Pairs You Can Own Today

Gravity boots are a new concept for many people. Most people haven’t heard about them, much less seem them. Gravity boots provide one of the most efficient exercises for the abs.

Gravity boots allow you to hang from a pull-up bar upside down. The boots are also called inversion boots because the body is in an inverted position. This picture illustrates how they look.

They offer an innovative workout that would be hard to replicate elsewhere. When compared to other exercises for the abs, the boots provide for a better range of motion. You cannot use the other parts of the body to assist with workouts because you’re hanging upside down.

Each boot has a hook that is used to fasten yourself to the pull-up bar before you hang upside down. Gravity boots are not new inventions. They were first popular in the late 70s when movies such as Rocky and American Gigolo presented them to the attention of the public.

Sadly, the fad died. The boots are not a useless fitness gadget. Using gravity boots is more effective than most exercises done in a gym. The lack of use is likely that they are intimidating to those who have not used them.

Most people haven’t hung upside down since they were kids. Using gravity boots is exercise suited for progression. When unweighted reps become easy, additional weight can be added by holding a dumbbell.

There is no limit to the progression of gravity boot crunches. The exercise belongs in a class of its own when compared to conventional ab exercises such as regular sit-ups and crunches.

Besides offering an ab workout that is phenomenal, gravity boots allow the body to stretch out and decompress following hours behind a computer screen or after a long workout.

Throughout the day many people work or move in positions that compress the spine. Gravity boots can aid in alleviating some of that compression that people subject their bodies to on a regular basis.

Physiotherapists have prescribed inversion therapy to help with ailments such as back pain. Using gravity boots is inversion therapy. After a workout, hang for a few minutes, relax, and give your body a long stretch.

Here are the steps to take when using the gravity boots.

  • Find a pull-up bar that is suitable
  • Strap the boots on
  • Hook to the bar
  • Do inverted sit-ups
  • Carefully dismount

You want a pull-up bar high enough to allow hanging from the ankles without the head hitting the floor. Parallel pull-up bars found in some gyms can be used if you do not have access to a conventional, straight pull-up bar.

Most gravity boots have a two-buckle system. The boots should be snug but not cut off circulation. Be sure the hooks are directly forward. To get into position approach the bar as though you were doing hanging leg raises.

Lift the legs up to be in line with the bar. Deliberately hook each boot to the bar. Do not attempt to do both boots at the same time. Your ankles will comfortably support you.

Focus on doing crunches toward your ankles. You may want to touch the floor after each rep. It is not unusual to swing until you master stabilizing the lower body properly.

After completing a set, hang for a moment to establish your bearings.

To dismount, do another crunch to grab the bar with both hands. You can also use your hands to climb your legs to reach the bar if you are tired. It is a faster method that ensures you won’t remain dangling. One by one, unhook the boots from the pull-up bar. Lower the legs down to the floor.

Recommended Gravity Boots

Below are three recommended gravity boots to try.

Missyee Inversion Boots

They are top-of-the-line boots according to the Inversion Helper website. They are quite versatile. The boots are designed to work with bars other than those manufactured by Missyee.

missyee inversion boots

A chin-up bar that you already have at home is an excellent choice. No manual is needed to attach the Missyee Inversion Boots.

The boots come with a money back guarantee, Advantages of this gravity boot include:

  • Allowing quick recovery from compression fatigue caused by weight training, bicycling, stepping, aerobic training, and jogging
  • They counteract gravity’s pull which provides relief from many forms of back spasms and pain associated with the gravitational pull on muscles, discs, and spines.

Tonyko Inversion Gravity Boots

tonyko inversion gravity boots

The best inversion boots do not have to cost a fortune. Tonyko Inversion Gravity Boots are an excellent choice.

They are among the most reasonably priced and as versatile as you like. The Tonyko Inversion Gravity Boots perform various exercises.

They relieve and prevent a variety of diseases caused by standing or sitting for long periods like cervical spondylosis, lumbar, and cardiovascular disease. Those recovering from compression fatigue can recover quickly.

It takes only a few minutes each day to spread apart compressed discs causing pain. For your safety, the boots are made of high-strength stainless steel and have double easy installed locks.

The boots can hold over 300 pounds. The comfortable padding offers a contoured fit and ensures the ankles do not hurt during inversion. The sturdy boots and buckles ensure the feet remain in place while inverted.

Teeter EZ-Up Gravity Boots

teeter ez up gravity boots

These gravity boots are a compact inversion solution. Besides the standard inverted stretching and decompression, the Teeter EZ-Up Gravity Boots allow comfortable inverted exercise performance that includes leg workouts and core strengthening.

Thick foam liners are covered by a light, durable shell. The boots surround each ankle and secure them with self-locking, adjustable ratchet buckles that provide a customized fit.

They are the perfect solution to elevate comfort while inverted. The Teeter gravity boots offer forgiving, flexible support with optional calf loops that assist by causing a slight knee been that eliminates uncomfortable feet and knee loads. These gravity boots have a five-year warranty.