Inversion Chairs For Back Pain
'Making The Crazy, A Bit Less Risky'
The Short Answer –
The invention of inversion chairs for back pain are a relatively new addition to the marketplace, providing another less extreme alternative to hanging vertically during inversion therapy.
Both inversion chairs and inversion tables have different benefits in trying to achieve the spinal decompression that is thought to bring short term back pain relief to sufferers.
In this article we look at what inversion chairs add and why inversion chairs are a safer, but equally effective option for relieving back pain.
A Quick Background – Inversion Therapy For Back Pain
I covered what is inversion therapy both when looking at how inversion tables might help with back pain and when asking the question ‘does inversion therapy really work’, so I’ll just include a very brief summation in case you haven’t read the other articles.
Inversion therapy is based on the concept that, over time, gravity pushes down on your body and gradually compresses it.
This can cause your spine to compress and shorten, putting pressure on the nerves that run through your spinal cord.
‘Hanging like a bat’
It is proposed that one way to release this pressure is to suspend yourself upside down – thus using gravity effectively against itself.
The pull downwards in theory will straighten your spine, alleviating the reason for the back pain and allowing you to continue relatively pain free.
There are also other key benefits considered to be achieved with inversion therapy – mostly associated with increased blood flow and better lymphatic drainage, both covered elsewhere on this site.
There are however a number of very important downsides –
- Relief is typically only short-term (the spine will recompress quickly), so ends up being a continual process,
- There are a long list of conditions where it is not considered safe to be suspended upside down (see other articles)
- Being fully inverted can carry significant risk of alternative injury, especially to your ankles/ pelvis.
- You risk serious cardiovascular/ blood pressure problems, if not conducted properly including heart attack or stroke.
- With many methods, you need someone else with you, just in case you incur injury or are unable to re-establish yourself upright.
How Inversion Used To Be Done
Traditionally, inversion would be carried out simply by suspending you upside down.
This might be by tying your ankles up and pulling you upside down with a rope and pulley system or doing headstands.
Then special bars and boots came out that allowed you fix a bar up somewhere and then hook your boots to the bar to achieve inversion.
However, both of these methods were very much ‘all or nothing’. Inversion tables offered the chance to break into inversion therapy slowly – altering the angle gradually as you felt more comfortable.
Studies then came out that showed you didn’t actually need to be completely upside down to achieve the full benefits of decompression.
Finally, inversion chairs were launched that offered a similarly less extreme option for inversion therapy. There chairs also had some small benefits over inversion tables, which we will look at next.
What Is An Inversion Chair?
An inversion chair is basically a chair that you can strap yourself in that reclines to beyond that of standard sofa.
An inversion chair will tilt upside down to up to 70% vertical – enough to achieve the full considered benefits of inversion therapy, without some of the downsides.
Inversion Chairs For Back Pain – Is There Any Difference To Other Methods?
Absolutely yes – perhaps the biggest consideration, and one not often mentioned by sites selling inversion tables, is that you don’t need someone with you when using it.
An inversion table can reach more extreme angles, but it is always recommended that you have someone else with you.
Being upside down can cause a lot of things to wrong including…
- passing out when the blood
- rushes to your head
- heart attack or stroke caused by increased blood pressure
- pulled muscles
- ankle/ pelvis injuries from taking most of your weight.
In any of the above cases, it is essential to have someone with you to pull the table back and release you, while phoning an ambulance.
Left upside down with no-one around, inversion can be fatal.
This was always one of the main issues with inversion boots – after hanging upside down for 5 minutes, you frequently needed help to get back down.
An inversion chair will typically only reach to approx. 70 degrees. This has been proven to be clinically sufficient however to still reap the full benefits of inversion therapy.
But this also has the added benefits of –
- Allowing for much better balance recovery
- Much safer, gradual equalizing of blood pressure
- Reduced pressure of ankles, that frequently took a lot of pressure when hanging upside down – when strapped to a table by them.
- Extra support for your back/ hips.
- A safer transition from inversion back to normal.
Add up all of this and it is plain to see why an inversion table may be a safer and easier option even than the very popular inversion tables.
Because of all the added safety, it is NOT considered essential to have someone with you while using an inversion chair – giving it a massive convenience boost over inversion tables or boots.
Inversion Chairs For Back Pain – What to Look For.
As with any significant purchase, there are a wide range of inversion chairs on the market – from the high price to the low price and from good value to poor value.
There are however 3 key things to look for when buying an inversion chair to relieve your back pain –
Level of inversion.
Most chairs will drop by up to 70 degrees. This was always considered plenty for the effect of inversion/ decompression to kick in. However, not all chairs are the same.
One of the big advantages of a chair over a table is comfort, but it is still worth making sure there is plenty of padding and support.
Make sure there are plenty of straps to secure yourself with and that the chair doesn’t tilt back both ways and bend your spine like a banana.
Some chairs fold-up, some don’t. The pain relief from inversion is typically very short-term, so it is likely you will want to use it regularly.
For this reason, unless you have a dedicated room, you may want to consider a folding version.
The Final Word –
Inversion therapy works for some people. Fact. Advances in care have led to the development of inversion tables that are now the most common form of inversion therapy.
However, recent developments have seen the launch new inversion chairs for back pain – an even safe and potentially much more convenient method of undergoing inversion therapy.
Would you want to try inversion therapy? That is up to you, but if you do it is perhaps worth considering an inversion chair as the first choice for home therapy in 2020, rather than the older, more extreme inversion tables.
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