Gravity is known to be a major contributor to spinal altercations and painful experiences of the lower back. This is due to compressions on your body while maintaining an upright posture. The same gravity is responsible for curing back and spine related problems using inversion therapy. Inversion Therapy is a natural solution to back and neck pain caused by poor posture or small accidents. The beauty of this practice is that it is not as invasive or expensive as surgeries.
Getting involved with inversion therapy has its benefits but just like any other phenomenon, it also comes with a fair share of issues. It is important to get thoroughly conversant with the cons and pros of inversion therapy before immersing your efforts and time into this activity. This article gives you the entire truth about inversion therapy and whether you should engage in it or not. I suggest you pay attention.
What is inversion therapy?
Simply put, inversion therapy involves being suspended on an inversion table with your feet up and your head low (inverted position) in the attempt to align your body, more so, the lower back.
Traditionally, people used gravity boots to perform inversion therapy which would be quite aggressive as your whole body weight is supported by the boots. The inversion table offers a less aggressive alternative to inversion therapy. I will be talking some more about this in the next segment.
The bottom line is, inversion therapy is used to cure or reduce lower and upper back pain and discomforts.
About the inversion table.
An inversion table is a piece of equipment that enables its user to hang in an upside down manner only that in this case, your lower body is supported unlike with gravity boots. The beauty of using an inversion table as opposed to gravity boots is that you do not have to go straight into an inverted posture. You can slowly ease into it.
Start with a horizontal position. Then after a while, you can invert your body either completely upside down or at a degree say 15 degrees. An angle of 20 degrees would be a good starting point for a beginner, then build-up as your prowess and know-how increases.
The whole principle behind the inversion table is to give time for the joint of your body to be decompressed in the equal measures of which it was compressed when in an upright position.
Decompression in return provides, rehydration to the spinal disks, reduction of pressure off the nerves, spinal realignment and relaxation of tensed muscles. You can also do height adjustments to your inversion table to accommodate your height especially if you are tall.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF INVERSION THERAPY?
I can sing all day about the advantages of inversion therapy because they are that many. But since we are pressed for time, I am going to list the most obvious ones.
It promotes joint health.
As mentioned earlier, the inversion table works very well in decompressing the joints of the user. This often results in reducing the pressure on your joints and consequently lubricating them. Pressure alteration effectively enhances production and spread of synovial fluid that works well in reduction of friction between joints, nourishing of the cartilage and improves on shock absorption.
It is a safer alternative for relieving back pain.
Back pain is after all not as inevitable as many have been made to think. You can easily injure your back by something as basic as sitting or standing wrong. While medicine can help relieve pain, they are just a short-term solution to your problem. This is because they mask the pain for a while which may be hiding a much bigger underlying condition.
When the pain cannot be hidden anymore, severe damage will have been done and might need surgery to correct it. Surgery in itself can be draining both financially and mentally.
This is where inversion therapy comes in. By aligning your spine and decompressing pressure in your joints, you heal your back as opposed to covering up the pain. It is an easy process, inexpensive, natural and does not eat much into your time.
Tightness and stiffness in muscles and joint lead to general body imbalances and inflexibility. Inversion therapy enables your muscles to stretch naturally. Stretching results in muscles being elongated and joints being decompressed. The decompression and elongation process equals efficient muscles which result in enhanced flexibility and mobility.
Corrects the effects of poor posture and improves posture.
Muscles also have a tendency of taking after bad postures. Taking an example of slouching shoulders, they affect the muscles in the chest and end up shortening them while those in the back lean forward and lengthen.
Anti-gravity therapy helps in realignment and correction of this type of situation. It helps in stretching the muscles that had been shortened and bring it back to its normal state. Disciplined, continued use of an inversion table works and improves posture permanently.
Promotes fitness and core strength.
Adequate support of the torso needs strong abdominal and chest muscles. Sit ups and crunches are usually the conventional way of achieving this. Doing these exercises on an inversion table provides a twist, giving you a whole new experience and better results too.
Another exercise that can be performed on the inversion table is squats. Squats in an upside down position give a unique experience on leg workout. It adds strengths to the hamstrings and quads. At the same time, your glutes are sculpted.
While building your core muscles, a lot of care must be taken to ensure your back is not injured in the process. Consider practicing such workouts on an inversion table while under supervision until you are experienced enough to do them by yourself.
Disadvantages of inversion therapy.
Like any other phenomenon, there is a flip side to inversion therapy, and therefore it is important to seek medical advice before embarking on the experience. That said, here is the dark, ugly side of inversion therapy.
Inversion therapy is not recommended, in fact, it is strictly prohibited for anyone with high blood pressure or any heart condition. Inversion puts the body in an upside down position which inserts an incredible amount of pressure on the circulatory system. This could escalate some health problems especially those to do with blood circulation such as blood pressure.
It goes without saying that pregnant women should not use inversion tables as it involves too much risk. Obese people are the categories of individuals who are advised to avoid inversion tables due to the risk involved. They should be sure to seek medical advice before attempting this kind of therapy.
Pressure on the Eyes and ears.
Body inversion puts pressure on the head of an individual. Pressure on the head strains your eyes, leading to complications in the long run. People with problems related to the eyes are therefore advised not to take part in the inversion therapy. Glaucoma, retinal detachment, conjunctivitis are some of the eye problems I’m talking about.
This inverted position also increases the amount of pressure on the inner ear. Pressure on the inner ear then may lead to discomfort or great health issues such as partial deafness.
Inversion therapy is not for people with weak bones as it leads to bone traction. This can lead to relief to back pain but if you have weak bones, it might not go so well for you. You might even end up with some serious fractures. People with any kind of bone implants fall under the group of individuals with weak bones and should not attempt inversion.
The weakening of the diaphragm
As much as using an inversion table releases pressure from the spine, this pressure is sometimes displaced to other body parts especially if the inversion is done wrongly. Because of thrusting the upper body into an entirely different position, the diaphragm gets strained since it is not accustomed to bearing such pressure. As a result, your diaphragm thus gets weak.
This activity seems pretty easy and quite pain-free when you watch other people doing it right? Don’t be fooled by the calm faces. Inversion therapy strains your hands and feet especially if you stay inverted for long periods of time. Keep in mind that the more you stay inverted, the deeper the straps holding your hands and legs burrow into your skin. It can be a painful ordeal for a beginner. However, you can invest in a table with padded straps to solve this problem.
When all is said and done, the inversion table comes with a boatload of advantages, but the disadvantages cannot be ignored either. Some sound like grave endangerment to your health. This, therefore, calls for some serious precautions before and when performing this exercise.
For one, make sure you consult you physician (whether you have any of the conditions we have mentioned or not) before going for inversion therapy. If you get a green light from your doctor, who am I to stop you from inverting? By all means, engage in inversion therapy.
When care is taken, inversion therapy is a great tool for overall body health. The best part is that it is quite inexpensive and it will not take up much of your time.