Research and Medical studies of Inversion table therapy
A therapy that is being recognized by the public nowadays is the inversion therapy. This inversion therapy is the hanging upside down of a person while on an inversion table. The aim of this therapy is to relieve back pains and to help strengthen the back to prevent further recurrence of back pains. You might think this is just another one of those crazy new ideas that is bound to die eventually but the use of an inversion table and inversion therapy has been around for quite a long time. Even the US Army uses this type of training for their soldiers. They use an inversion table as part of their training program. By hanging upside down, the students perform exercises, from stretching to other more rigid training, like inverted sit ups. It is so effective that even chiropractors are recommending it to there clients to speed up recovery.
One reason why this type of therapy has not yet died down is because there have been testimonials of its effectiveness. Companies that sell products related to inversion therapy such as the inversion table and gravity boots also pass Underwriters Laboratories (UL) product safety certification. Because of this, it has gained public trust. So if you have lower back pain, sciatica, a bulging disc or a herniated disc then you might want to read on.
Quite a number of studies have been done on inversion therapy and the effectiveness of using an inversion table. One of these was way back 1964 by Sheffield on the Adaptation of Tilt Table for Lumbar Traction. This study was done on 175 patients who were not able to work because of back pain. Out of these 175, 155 were able to go back to work full time after 8 times of inversion treatments using the inversion table. The conclusion was that the stretching of the paraspinal vertebral muscles and ligaments improved their conditions.
Evidence of the effectiveness of Inversion therapy
Another study was done by Nosse, L. on Inverted Spinal Traction on August 1978. This study found that emg activity, an indicator of muscle pain, lessened to a notable 35% after just 10 seconds of inversion. It was found out also that the use of inversion table increases the spinal length. It was therefore concluded that with inversion therapy, pain is reduced and spinal length is increased.
Cyriax, J. did a study on the treatment of lumbar disc lesions which was published on the British Medical Journal on December of 1434-1438. According to Cyriax, ambulatory patients with symptoms of pulpy herniations opted for sustained traction. This provided for a shorter period for treating the symptoms than bed rest for weeks. The use of inversion table had two effects. First there is an increase in the interval between two vertebrae, which will then allow for the protrusion to go back to its original space. Second, the joint capsule is tautened. The result is relief.
A study on the physio-therapeutic treatment of myofascial disorders by McElhannon in 1984 described the use of traction as indicated for the “distraction of the vertebral bodies with enlargement of the intervertebral space producing an inward suction effect on the disk: stretching of muscles and ligaments with a tautening of the posterior longitudinal ligament exerting a centripetal effect on the adjacent annulus fibrosis: separation of the apophysial joints: and enlargement of intervertebral foramina.” His recommendation was the mechanical massage of the lumbar spine muscles before traction. For patients with more chronic problems, a pulling of 30 seconds followed by a release of 10 seconds is best and will bear the greatest results.
Sheffield, F., Adaptation of Tilt Table for Lumbar Traction, Arch Phys Med Rehabil 45, 469-472, 1964
Nosse, L., Inverted Spinal Traction, Arch Phys Med Rehabil 59, 367-370, Aug 78
Cyriax, J., The treatment of lumbar disc lesions, British Medical Journal, Dec 50, 1434-1438
McElhannon, J.E., Physio-therapeutic treatment of myofascial disorders, 1984
Ballantyne, Byron, et al. “The Effects of Inversion Table on Spinal Column
Kane, M, et al. “Effects of Gravity-facilitated Traction on Intervertebral
Goldman, R, et al. “The Effects of Oscillating Inversion on Systemic Blood