It’s a question that seems to come up often from people who are considering inversion tables for relief; “What are the known inversion table negative side effects?”
Inversion therapy has been shown to have many benefits, especially for people with back pain, poor circulatory system, and bad spine health. In addition, research studies show that it can be safe.
However, some negative side effects come with using inversion tables if you have a known health condition, illness, or injury.
So you must know how to use an inversion table properly, or else it will be harmful.
This post will cover the basics of using an inversion table and some of the possible reactions you may experience. We’ll also discuss how long you should use it and what to do if you have any adverse reactions.
Let’s take a look at the risks to understand if an inversion table is the right way to go, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
What are The Dangers of Using an Inversion Table? – 6 Common Inversion Table Negative Side Effects
#1 Blood Pressure Increases
The most common effect of Inversion Therapy is that it can increase blood pressure. It’s because when you are upside down for a long time, your heart gets more blood than it would at one time.
It has to work hard to maintain the blood pressure and eventually loses its ability to pump enough blood around the body.
A study has been done to understand what happens to the blood pressure when a person is hanging upside down for 2 minutes.
They found that while inverted, both systolic and diastolic pressures increased. However, this is not an immediate threat to health because it is only for a short time.
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, heart condition, or taking prescription medications to control high blood pressure, then inverting can have adverse effects on your condition, so be careful!
#2 Decreases Your Heart Rate
When we are hanging upside down, the blood flow in our body reverses, and our heart slows down. If your heart rate goes below 30, you might not get enough oxygen to your brain.
It can make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, and out of breath. Blood can also pool in your heart chambers and cause congestive heart failure.
A study on people doing inversion therapy for 7 minutes showed that their heart rates went down after the initial inversion. But it did not go down to a dangerous level (Ballantyne et al., 1986).
Before trying an inversion table, ask your doctor. An inversion table could cause health problems if you already have high blood pressure or other related conditions.
#3 Puts Significant Pressure on Your Eyeballs
Hanging upside down can make you feel like your eyes are going to pop out of their sockets and fall on the floor. It might not happen, but it can cause temporary vision loss in some people.
Inversion therapy can increase eye and retinal artery pressure. One study showed that 60 people all had this happen. Many also had temporary visual field losses and eyelid hemorrhages.
Dr. Friberg had a presentation at the American Academy of Ophthalmology and talked about how these changes in the eye are not permanent.
Friberg does not recommend doing inversion therapy exercises for more than 10 minutes. Instead, do them for 2 minutes, and then stand up to do a break.
If you have problems with your eye, you shouldn’t do inversion therapy or use an inversion table.
#4 More Pressure on Your Lungs
It’s not only challenging to breathe but also risky to your lungs when hanging upside down for long periods.
When you are upside down, your lungs have to work harder because it is fighting against the weight of your liver, intestines, and breathing muscles. That’s why you feel short of breathe when inverting.
In 2009, a man in Utah was stuck upside down for 28 hours in a cave. Rescue workers tried to get him out, but they couldn’t because the passage was too narrow. He died from asphyxiation.
Inversion tables can help with back pain. Using them can also reduce muscle spasms in the back.
But inversion tables are not suitable for people who have a heart condition, high blood pressure, or people taking blood thinners because it puts more pressure on the lungs.
Talk to a doctor before trying it out at home if you are not sure that it is right for you.
#5 It Can Rupture Your Blood Vessels
It is not just the eyes, heart, or lungs you have to worry about when using an inversion table. Our bodies are set up to move blood around when we are standing up.
However, our bodies didn’t evolve to keep blood from pooling in the brain. If it does, this could lead to a rupture of blood vessels and bleeding in the brain.
You might be able to get some pretty effective back pain relief caused by spinal disc compression from hanging, but only if you do it in moderation and not for 10 minutes or more at a time.
It turns out that being inverted can cause your blood vessels to rupture due to gravity pulling on them when they’re too long.
Using inversion tables for shorter periods will still reverse the compression of gravity on the spine without risking ruptured veins!
#6 Increases Pressure to Your Inner Ear
New inverters may feel dizzy or sick. A change in the balance causes this, and it can happen if you go too fast or if your body is sensitive to changes.
Your sense of balance is based on your inner ear. When you are upside down, the pressure on your inner ear makes it harder for you to tell what gravity is doing.
That means that our central nervous system can’t keep us balanced. So we feel dizzy or off-balance.
If you feel like you will pass out or if your head starts to hurt, turn upright for a few minutes. If it gets better, try again.
You must be patient while taking inversion therapy because it can be hard on your body.
However, short sessions of inversion therapy multiple times a day will give you the best chance to train your inner ear for what the upside-down world feels like.
Who Should Not Use Inversion Tables?
If you are a patient with high blood pressure or a circulation disorder, glaucoma, or retinal detachment, do not use inversion devices.
When you are hanging upside down, you will experience the 5 negative side effects listed above. It will do more harm than good.
How Long Should You Hang Upside Down on an Inversion Table?
Your body needs to adjust before you invert longer or fully invert. For starters, do it at a modest angle (20°-30°) for 1-2 minutes.
After some time, when you feel comfortable, do it longer, 3-5 minutes. Do this for a few weeks or until you are comfortable.
When your body feels ready, try increasing your angle by 10° until you reach full inversion. It will give you better results.
Inversion Table Tips
Most patients will have better results when they do short sessions more often instead of long ones occasionally.
However, it would help if you tried to work them into your routine to do them several times a day.
When you do anything new that impacts your body, it might take some time for you to feel the results.
Some people feel better right away. Other people need more time. So stay patient and keep doing it!
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