This article originally appeared on Live in the Now.
A study out of Newcastle University’s Regional Science Center in England indicated that, in many cases, inversion therapy not only eliminated back pain, it eliminated the need for painful and invasive surgery.
The clinical trial included 22 participants, both men and women, who were told by their doctors that they needed back surgery. Half of the group received traditional physical therapy, while the other half received inversion therapy in addition to traditional physical therapy.
At the end of the trial period, the group that combined physical therapy with inversion therapy reported that only 23 percent of them still needed surgery, while 77% of them no longer needed surgery. On the other hand, 78% of the group that underwent only physical therapy still needed painful and invasive back surgery.
Confirming the results of the Newcastle University’s study, a more recent clinical trial found that “intermittent traction with an inversion device resulted in a significant reduction in the need for surgery” among patients with pure single level lumbar discogenic disease. More than that, the authors indicated that their results “suggest a role for this intervention in disability reduction.”
If inversion therapy can reduce the need for surgery, imagine what it could do to eliminate general back pain.
Inversion therapy has been used as a treatment for back pain as far back as 400 B.C. and continues to be a viable treatment for back pain for many people to this day.
Inversion therapy constitutes hanging upside down, or at an inverted angle, for a period of 10-20 minutes with the intention to reduce back pain. But, many believe the health benefits of inversion therapy don’t stop there. In addition to alleviating back pain, inversion therapy is thought to improve circulation throughout the body, boost brain health and improve the lymphatic system.
How Does Inversion Therapy Work?
Inversion therapy works by slightly increasing the space between spinal discs, thus reducing pressure on spinal nerves and discs. In the upside down position, the joints of the spine are able to decompress, allowing gravity to naturally and safely lessen pressure on the back. Spinal decompression also allows for improved shock absorption and increased flexibility, and may promote better posture and proper spinal realignment as well. As an end result, all of these benefits combine to greatly lessen or even eliminate back pain.
Critics of inversion therapy argue that the results are temporary, pointing to OCT drugs, prescriptions or worse, surgery, as a better solution. The irony couldn’t be more obvious — relief from drugs is ALSO temporary. But back pain can be managed in a way that is safe and all natural. And like many other alternative therapies, inversion therapy provides health benefits far beyond its most common use.
Additional Benefits of Inversion Therapy
Boost brain health: On top of the benefits inversion therapy offers for back pain sufferers, it may also boost brain health. In the inverted position, the circulatory system is able to more easily supply the brain with blood, increasing the availability of valuable nutrients and antioxidants to your brain. Many who practice inversion therapy regularly report improved memory, clarity and energy.
Improve lymphatic system: Similarly, this position may assist the lymphatic system in its goal to remove waste products from the body, and thus promote recovery. Ultimately, this enhancement of the lymphatic system can also decrease soreness, as lactic acid may be more efficiently removed from the muscles.
Is Inversion Therapy Right for You?
While inversion therapy is a natural remedy for back pain, it may not be suited for people with certain complicating health factors. In particular, people with high blood pressure, heart disease or glaucoma may be at an increased risk of injury due to increased amounts of pressure caused by inversion. Acid reflux may also be aggravated in an upside down position, so inversion therapy may not be worthwhile for people affected by this condition. As it is often wise to do, people with these conditions, and women who are pregnant, should consult a doctor prior to beginning inversion therapy.
The benefits of inversion therapy remain disputed by some, but for millions of people affected by back pain, it is a simple, natural remedy for aches and pains that cause serious problems.