When living with back pain, there are many methods for finding relief, and some people may go to extremes to alleviate their pain. When using an inversion table, a person must be strapped down while lying flat on the table’s surface, then the table is turned so the person hangs upside down. The expected outcome of this method is that the spine is stretched, which in theory results in the correction of painful disc and nerve compression. Though inversion therapy may offer temporary relief, the spine returns to its previous position after the person is released from the table. Many spine surgeons in Beverly Hills have voiced concerns about the risks imposed by maintaining an unnatural position on inversion tables. Here are a few of the potential dangers to consider.
Pain in the Muscles
The last thing you’ll want to occur if you’re already living with back pain is experiencing additional pain as a result of attempted treatment. Staying on an inversion table for too long can result in pulled muscles, leading to more pain than before therapy was started. Stretching the spine and moving the structures of the vertebral column could also cause back pain to worsen. People with inguinal or abdominal hernias shouldn’t use inversion tables, as the weakened muscle may bulge out further and cause a larger hernia. Anyone who is pregnant or overweight should also avoid inversion tables, as they are at higher risk for injury.
When hanging upside down for an extended period, the heart rate slows and blood pressure rises. If you have a history of high blood pressure, you should avoid using an inversion table. This treatment method increases pressure in the cardiovascular system, which can raise the risk of complications for people living with heart disease.
Ear and Eye Conditions
Inversion causes intraocular pressure, which could cause the eyes to bleed and has been known to worsen glaucoma, retinal detachment, and other serious conditions related to vision. In addition, the ears may experience elevated pressure levels, resulting in pain as well as issues with the eardrums.
Bone Disease-Related Fractures
If you have degenerative disc disease, osteoporosis, or another condition that affects bone health, you shouldn’t use an inversion table. Inversion therapy exerts pressure on the spinal canal, which could cause fractures along the vertebral column.
Even though using an inversion table is perfectly safe for some patients and even helps them find relief, it’s important to speak with a physician before attempting any type of alternative treatment, especially one that could exacerbate your pain. Consider speaking with a spinal surgeon about the option of decompression or spinal fusion surgery. Reach out to The Spine Institute today at (310) 828-7717 to request a consultation with a board-certified spine physician.