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1. STABILIZE: The Essential
     Exercise For Your Back
2. Science of Back Exercises
3. Spinal Segmental            
     Stabilization
4. Ultrasound Imaging Of
     Deep Stabilizing Muscles
5. Integration of Inner &
     Outer Units
6. Roman Chair Back
    Exercises For Strengthening
7. Functional Exercises For
     Your Back
8. Back Stiffness: Exercises
    And Stretching
9. Inversion Table For
     Vertebral Distraction


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 Inversion Table For Vertebral Distraction
by Howard A. Knudsen, PT
Doctor of Physical Therapy

Inversion Table, the Apollo Inversion System

Inversion table therapy has a therapeutic effect that is comparable to physical therapy mechanical vertebral distraction on a traction table.  The upside-down or inverted position uses gravity instead of mechanical force.  Inversion tables are orthopedically approved for relieving pressure on the intervertebral disks which may help relieve sciatica or radicular pain down the legs.

Companies selling inversion tables promote other benefits of reversing gravity's effect on your body.  These other claims have not been substantiated.  In the physical therapy profession, mechanical traction is no longer used for general back pain, as it has not been found to be a helpful treatment unless the pain is discogenic (related to degenerative disc) or related to pinched nerves as they exit the lumbar spine through vertebral foramen. 

inversion table
Click here for more information on the Apollo Inversion Table by Kettler

A claim that suggests inversion therapy relieves non-specific lower back pain is not based on scientific evidence.  Unfortunately, there are many unethical advertisers of inversion tables making "snake oil" claims that are not valid...

Some contraindications to inversion therapy

  • Glaucoma

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Retinal detachment

  • Pregnancy

  • Recent stroke or transient ischemic attack

  • Heart and circulatory disorders

  • History of congestive heart failure

  • Dizziness or fainting

  • Osteoporosis, recent unhealed fractures or orthopedic surgeries, artificial hip joints, etc.

  • Traumatic brain injury

  • Acute spinal injury

  • Disoriented if upside down

  • Chronic sinusitis

  • Hiatal hernia

  • Extreme obesity

  • Use of anti-coagulants

  • Conjunctivitis - (pink eye)

  • Motion sickness or inner ear disorders

  • History of space-occupying brain lesion

  • Vulnerable areas of stress from recent surgery

This is not an exhaustive list, but these and any other medical conditions that would limit normal physical activity may be contraindications for inversion therapy.  As always, you are personally responsible for your own health.  So, please use good judgment and check with you doctor if you have any questions. 

Click here for more information on the Apollo Inversion Table by Kettler

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Last update:
 Wednesday March 19, 2008

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