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Inversion Table Risks & Benefits

Inversion therapy has been used since as early as 400 B.C. to maintain a healthy back, relieve stress from fatigued muscles and treat injuries. Inversion tables allow you to use the effects of gravity by hanging upside down, which applies gentle traction to the spine. Inversion helps the muscles relax and increases blood flow, decreasing painful spasms, which can improve neck and back conditions such as scoliosis and lordosis.

Core muscles, including those of the abdomen and lower back, provide support for the torso. These muscles maintain proper posture and efficiency of movement in the body. Weak abdominal muscles promote poor posture and allow for misalignment of the spine, making you vulnerable to injury. Strong abdominal muscles support the spine and relieve pressure on discs in the spinal column, improving athletic performance and day-to-day activities. Inversion tables may help to maintain and tone core muscles without loading the spine. Properly executed exercises performed from full inversion, such as crunches and back extensions, can condition the core with minimal risk of hyperextension or stressing the spine, explains Energycenter.com.

When inverted on an inversion table, your spine receives mild traction from the weight of your body. The spine is stretched and slightly elongated, which increases the spaces between the vertebrae and minimizes pressure on the intervertebral discs. Nerves run through the spaces between each vertebra. Reducing compaction on the nerve roots means less back pain, according to Sports Injury Clinic.

Kidney stones are small and rock-like, formed by chemicals that clump together in the body. Kidney stones can cause extreme pain in your back or side, blood in the urine, fever, chills and vomiting, according to American Kidney Fund. Inversion tables have been shown to reduce stones in the lower portion of the kidney, referred to as the lower pole. A study at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology investigated the effect of inversion therapy in the treatment of lower pole renal stones. Stone sizes ranged from 2 mm to 4 mm in 23 subjects who underwent inversion table treatment for three months. Researchers found 83.3 percent stone clearance without any cases of cardio-cerebral incidents using the inversion table. Conclusions published in the “Chinese Journal of Surgery” in February 2009 suggested that inversion table treatment is a safe and valuable method to assist the passage of stones in the lower kidney.

Inversion therapy can be dangerous in certain circumstances, warns Cure-Back-Pain.org. Always seek professional medical advice before using inversion therapy equipment. Inversion tables should not be used if you are pregnant, or have eye problems such as glaucoma or retinal detachment. Inversion therapy is not suitable for people with conjunctivitis, high blood pressure, heart conditions or circulatory disorders. If you have had recent injuries such as hernia, spinal injury, swollen joints or unhealed fractures, you should not use inversion devices.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.