Do you suffer from lower back pain, hip pain, sciatica, or a pinched nerve? Having chronic pain can make every day a struggle.
Sometimes, over-the-counter medications aren’t enough while prescription medications might be more than you need. One alternative you might not have thought about is inversion therapy.
What Is Inversion Therapy?
Essentially, inversion therapy is a form of non-invasive, mild traction. It involves hanging upside down to counter the ongoing effects of gravity on your joints. One thing that’s really good about it is it doesn’t add any extra weight. You simply manipulate the effects of gravity on your body by hanging upside down by using inversion therapy tables or inversion chairs.
What Is an Inversion Chair?
To understand what an inversion chair is, it helps to first get to know a little about inversion tables.
An inversion table starts in a vertical position. At the top, there’s a supportive bed where you rest your shoulders, back and hips. These surfaces vary a bit from model to model.
Some have a wide cushioned, flat surface while others have rollers and ergonomic curves and supports. At the bottom are straps and rollers where you secure your feet and ankles. There are usually cushioned handles on the sides where you can hold on.
This platform sits on a frame. It’s usually an A-frame but there are a lot of different styles. Inversion therapy starts with the table upright. You get yourself into position by adjusting the table for your height.
Then, secure your feet and get your shoulders, back, and hips into proper position. When you’re ready to begin, the table is rotated so your feet are raised up in the air while you head angles down.
Eventually, your head will be by the floor, your feet in the air and gravity will be working its magic on your spine, joints, and muscles.
An inversion chair follows the same concept as an inversion therapy table, only instead of laying down, you’re seated. You begin by sitting in the chair, strapping yourself in with a seat belt, and securing your feet and ankles.
When you’re ready to go, the chair is rotated. Inversion chairs don’t put as much pressure on your feet, ankles, and knees and are a great option for anyone suffering from a lower extremity injury. You still get the same benefits to your spine but with less chance of foot and ankle pain.
Another thing to consider is that chairs are a much better choice for anyone who has mobility issues. It’s much easier to get into position by strapping yourself into a chair than by having to stand and position yourself on a table.
In short, inversion tables and chairs deliver the exact same benefits to your back but are much easier to use and can be more comfortable. You just won’t have the risk of as much joint pain with a chair as you do a table.
How Can I Use an Inversion Chair to Eliminate Back and Hip Pain?
By simply using an inversion chair, you’ll be stretching your spine, joints, and muscles. There’s not a lot to learn about how you’re supposed to use one of these tools, but people usually have a lot of questions regarding timing.
How long should you invert? How long should you stay inverted? And how long do you need to continue your inversion routine?
When you first start an inversion routine, start with 1 to 2 minutes a day for a week or so. Then, work your way up to 5 minutes, twice a day. Continue to add more time weekly.
There are no set parameters to aim for, but anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes once or twice a day is pretty standard. You should never do more than you feel comfortable with and it’s really important to listen to your body.
Work your way up to longer periods of time as slowly as you need to. Remember, any time you can spend inverted is beneficial, whether it is 5 minutes a day or 15.
In order to begin to feel the benefits of inversion, you have to invert at least 60 degrees to get maximum decompression. But you can’t just invert 60 degrees right away! Working your way up slowly is the only way to make sure you are giving your body time to acclimate to the therapy.
Start at about 20 degrees and work your way up to 30 degrees over the course of a few weeks. Continue to increase the angle as you feel comfortable. The benefits of inversion don’t really begin until your feet are above your head so make that your goal.
Start slowly, but don’t be afraid to keep advancing. Some people actually work up to having their feet straight up in the air to get a great stretch.
As for how often, once or twice a day should be your goal. Some people choose to invert once or twice a day, every day. It’s a great activity to work into your exercise routine. Inverting at the start of the day can help you go all day pain-free.
If you choose to invert before bed, it could help you get a better night’s sleep. Inverting is just like anything else. If you keep at it, it will become a part of your routine and you’ll wonder what you did before you got your inversion chair.
Alternatively, you can also choose to invert only when you begin having discomfort. While there is an argument that daily decompression could prevent the discomfort from returning in the first place, there really are no real rules when it comes to inverting.
The main thing is that you have to do what you and your body feels comfortable with. Take it easy and work your way up slowly. When you’re done, come back to an upright position slowly. Wait until your body acclimates before you attempt to stand up and get out of the chair. It’s important to be safe, slow, and pay attention to your body.