Inversion therapy is a treatment that involves anti-gravity. A person’s feet are put into some sort of tight shoes, and the individual hangs upside down in search of pain relief. Does it work? Is it safe?
The theory with inversion treatment is that it reduces gravitational pressure from the spine such as on nerve roots and the disks. The intervertebral disk space is heightened during the anti-gravity therapy. Inversion therapy is in reality a form of spinal traction, with a person’s own body providing the traction.
Inversion therapy has been found to be effective for short term back pain relief. There have been some well designed research studies evaluating it for long term relief. Unfortunately these studies have shown it to be ineffective for longer relief. In conjunction with a comprehensive treatment protocol for back pain including treatment with phoenix chiropractors, inversion therapy may fit in nicely to assist with pain relief.
When people hang upside down for inversion treatment, it may increase blood pressure. So for individuals who have a problem with heart disease or blood pressure, it should not be tried. Otherwise, it looks fairly safe.
The same risk may hold true for glaucoma, which is a condition with elevated intra-ocular pressure in the eye. This may be exacerbated with upside down treatment.
Inversion therapy does not need to include a ninety degree angle, it can be done at less. The treatment may be done twice daily for 20 minutes or so. Those new to the therapy should probably start with a smaller angle, say 30 degrees until comfortable. Most individuals do not need to go beyond 60 degrees for excellent pain relief.
Will inversion therapy help with a bulging disk? Probably not. The inversion will pull arthritic joints and disks apart, allowing individuals to feel symptomatically better for a while. However, it is unlike intermittent traction with spinal decompression treatment where a negative pressure is created inside the disk. This negative pressure pulls in increased oxygen and nutrients to the disc space, allowing for potential healing.
Can inversion therapy help relieve sciatica pain? The answer is potentially yes. The reason is it can in fact pull the discs apart temporarily, which can relieve pain from a pinched nerve. But as mentioned, there is no real evidence that an inversion table sucks back in a herniated disc.
The bottom line is inversion treatment may provide short term relief for back pain, but long term relief has not been proven. The pain from sciatica may also be helped, but same as back pain it’s typically short term.
Preferred Pain Center is a Comprehensive Pain Center including Medical and Interventional Arizona Pain Doctors, Phoenix Chiropractors Treatment, Phoenix Physical Therapy, Spinal Decompression Therapy, and Manipulation Under Anesthesia.
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