Friday, July 22, 2011

Inversion therapy for Back Pain

From the moment we are born, our bodies are at the mercy of gravity, a force that continuously creates pressure and stress on all of our muscles, bones, joints and ligaments.

By far, the part of the body that is affected most by gravity is the spine. The combination of gravity and muscle imbalances shove the vertebrae together, pressing on the discs.

The inner core of your discs consists of jelly-like material that acts like a shock absorber system, providing flexibility and cushioning when you are sitting, standing or exercising.

Image from, check out that site for more information on spines and anaotomy.

During your normal daily activities, gravity causes fluid to squeeze out of your discs into adjacent soft tissue.  With less space between the discs, you lose some height.
When you sleep, some - but not all - of the fluid soaks back into the discs.

During a typical day, you can lose as much as ¾ inch in height!  And because there's only a partial recovery at night, the average person loses ½ inch to 2 inches in height by their senior years.

Insufficient distance between the vertebrae can result in nerve root pressure, which in turn causes pain.

To make matters worse, very often the pressure on the discs is not distributed evenly.  Your discs were not designed to cope with such uneven pressure, and sooner or later it will be too much for them to withstand. The discs will bulge, herniate, causing spinal damage and likely, a life with chronic pain.

Even the slightest increase in spacing can be enough to allow a herniated disc to pop back into place or relieve pressure from a compressed nerve.

Most doctors are too busy treating the symptoms of back pain with treatment like anti-inflammatory medications, electrical stimulation, ultrasound and cortisone injections, and they simply ignore what is one of the biggest factors contributing to back pain.

This contributing factor is spinal compression - which can ONLY be addressed through inversion therapy.

I had a friend who was working as a brick layer in Sydney. This young fellow, (21) named Adam, had his own Inversion equipment at home, and when he would get home from work he would strap himself in and hang inverted for a while before getting cleaned up for the day.  He swears the inversion helps him continue with his work and has helped him to become a very successful brick layer.

Obviously, labour and lifting intensive jobs like a Brick layer puts an enormous amount of Pressure on the spine and over time will cause damage.

A new medical study conducted by the head of Neuroscience at Newcastle University shows you are 70.5% LESS LIKELY to need surgery if you use inversion therapy.

Other benefits of inversion:

    * Maintains your height. Regularly inverting will help you avoid the "shrinkage" others your age are showing because of the cumulative effect of gravity over a lifetime.
    * Improves circulation. When you're inverted, your body can circulate your blood aided by gravity rather than having to work against it.  In addition, with inversion, gravity helps the lymphatic system clear faster, easing the aches and pains of stiff muscles.
    * Relieves stress. A full-body stretch feels rejuvenating! And the teeter inversion table makes that relaxation easier to attain than climbing on a jungle gym or taking a yoga class.  Many people sleep better with regular inversion therapy.
    * Heightens mental alertness
. Any upside-down activity increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, which many authorities believe helps you maintain mental sharpness.
    * Increases flexibility and range of motion
. With inversion, your joints stay healthy and supple, so that you can easily remain as active as you were in your younger years.
    * Improves posture. The stretch that comes with reversing the direction of gravity helps you sit, stand and move with more ease and grace.
    * Realigns the spine after workouts. Running and other aerobic activities inevitably compress your spine, frequently unevenly.  One-sided activities like golf or tennis often pull the spine out of alignment.  During inversion, minor misalignments often correct themselves naturally.

Beginners should start slowly: invert for only 1-2 minutes during the first week or two until you become comfortable, and then work up to longer periods of time, if you feel they're necessary. Most people will invert for 5 - 15 minutes once or twice a day. Do not overdo it... this is not a "no pain, no gain” situation.

Inversion can relieve back pain, decompress the spine, stretch muscles and ligaments, relieve stress, improve circulation and help maintain overall good health.

However, inversion is not for everyone. If you have any of the following health conditions, please do not invert without your licensed physician's approval (this is not an exhaustive list - it is intended only for your reference.)

Anti-Coagulants (Use of): Blood-thinning drugs to reduce clotting of the arteries and blood vessels. The use of anti-coagulants signals people at risk for circulatory problems. Speak with a physician before inverting.

Bone weakness, recent fractures, skeletal implants: Having a person's weight pulling down when inverted may exacerbate these conditions. Osteoporosis is a calcium deficiency disease in which the bones become porous, brittle, and very weak. Speak with a physician before inverting.

Conjunctivitis - (Pink eye): An inflammation of the transparent membrane that covers the front surface of the eyeball and the inner surface of the eyelids caused by bacterial or viral infection. Speak with a physician before inverting.

Glaucoma: A condition of elevated pressure within the eye because of an obstruction of the outflow of the clear, watery fluid circulating in the chambers of the eye. The resulting pressure (which is imperceptible without an eye exam) kills cells in the optic nerve, which can lead to a gradual loss of vision. Anyone with an eye condition should speak with a physician before inverting.

Heart / circulatory disorders: Any person having a condition involving the circulatory system should speak with a physician before inverting.

Hiatal hernia, ventral hernia: A hiatal hernia occurs when intra-abdominal pressure increases cause a portion of the stomach to move into the chest cavity through a weakness in the diaphragm. A ventral hernia develops at the site of previous surgery, usually along vertical incisions. It may also result from weakness in the abdominal wall. Speak with a physician before inverting.

High blood pressure, hypertension
: A common disorder in which the heart is pumping blood through the circulatory system with a force greater than that required for normal blood flow. An elevated blood pressure exceeds 140/90. It is true that certain people should not invert if they have uncontrolled high blood pressure. However, inversion can cause a state of relaxation that results in a drop in heart rate and BP (sometimes even lower than at a resting state). Some doctors have used inversion as a treatment for high BP. Speak with a physician before inverting.

Middle ear infection:
The middle ear helps equalize air pressure in the ear. A person may feel discomfort or disorientation during inversion. We advise speaking with a physician before inverting.

Obesity (extreme): In some people obesity can be associated with the undetected onset of many of the circulatory and eye problems mentioned above. The weight capacity of each of the inversion products should not be exceeded.

Pregnant women should exercise caution while inverting. It is advisable to talk with physician first.

Retinal detachment: A separation of the retina, the thin, delicate membrane covering the rear portion of the eye, from the optic nerve. Usually results from a hole in the retina that allows the vitreous humor fluid to leak. Treatment is almost always surgical. A retinal hemorrhage, in most cases, can heal by itself. Anyone with an eye condition should speak with a physician before inverting.

Spinal injury: Any severe spinal cord trauma requires a person to consult their physician before inverting.

Occurs when a blood vessel in the neck or brain becomes blocked or when a vessel in the brain bursts open. Symptoms include paralysis, difficulty speaking, memory loss, and impaired thought processes. It is advisable to talk with physician first.

Transient ischemic attack:
Often called a "mini stroke," a TIA occurs when the blood supply is temporarily interrupted to a part of the brain due to a blockage. Often precedes the onset of a full stroke, and requires immediate action.

Total Hip and Total Knee Replacements: Anyone with a THR or TKR condition should speak with a physician before inverting.

Any Spinal Surgery
: It is advised to speak with your physician before inverting, its not that you can not invert... but you need to be sure it is safe for you.

1 comment:

  1. While reducing your low back pain is your main reason for considering inversion treatments, there are a number of extra advantages many people experience with a frequent plan of inversion.

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