Inversion tables are devices that raise your feet above your head and alter the effect of gravity on your back. When you sit or stand, gravity causes the joints and discs of your spine to compress. Inversion therapy relieves this compression, which can help relieve back pain.
Several small studies, including one from 2012 and another from 2013, suggest that inversion therapy can reduce the need for back surgery. It can also provide temporary pain relief for the following conditions:
Reviews online suggest that using an inversion table provides noticeable pain relief and relaxation.
When and why should I not use inversion therapy?
This treatment may not be suitable for everyone, including pregnant women. Inversion tables are not intended for children.
Inversion therapy slows the heart rate and increases blood pressure. It also increases the pressure in the eyes.
In addition, it can worsen the following conditions:
When using an inversion table, safety is a top priority. For this reason, we have only included tables that come from trusted, reliable manufacturers and dealers.
We looked for risk-free return policies and manufacturer warranties.
We also checked each manufacturer’s reputation on sites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot. We have done our best to ensure that the products we list below do not have a track record of poor customer service or injury.
Best for beginners
Innova ITX9800 inversion table
This table is equipped with shoulder and hip straps that provide the user with additional security and comfort in the reverse position. It also has an ergonomic ankle retention system. The headrest is padded and oversized for extra comfort.
This table has a pin system that can be adjusted in six positions, making it easier for you to find your center of gravity.
Because it cannot be locked in an upward incline, this table is not a good choice for certain inversion table exercises, including situps.
It comes with a 1 year manufacturer warranty.
Health Gear ITM5500 Advanced Technology Inversion Table
This padded inversion lounger comes with a removable heat and vibration massage cushion. It has four levels of inversion and a side inversion pin system. It also clicks into place so you can safely perform inversion table exercises, including situps.
Built-in transport wheels facilitate transport from one place to the next.
It comes with a 30-day manufacturer’s guarantee.
Teeter Fitspine LX9 inversion table
This inversion table is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a 510 (k) medical device, demonstrating a product’s safety and effectiveness.
It is made of high quality, heat treated steel for durability and long term safety.
It arrives 85 percent assembled on your door, which can make setup easier.
Various accessories are included with purchase, including:
- a storage caddy
- Lumbar bridge
- a pillow with an acupressure knot
Online reviews mention that this table is very classy and a great choice for inversion table exercises.
The Teeter Move app provides coaching and instructions on how to use the table. There is also an online video library that you can use.
The table comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s guarantee.
On the Better Business Bureau website, Teeter has filed a small number of customer service complaints.
Best for people who are heavier
Ironman Gravity inversion table for highest weight capacity
Price: $$ – $$$
This inversion table can accommodate people up to 350 pounds.
The ankle retainers use air pockets to comfortably enclose each ankle without pinching.
The ankle supports and equipment mat are optional accessories that add over $ 250 to the price of the table. According to some online reviews, this accessory offers significant added convenience and stability, making it well worth the additional cost.
The table comes with a removable lumbar cushion for additional back support.
The safety handles are extra long so that you can easily return to an upright position after flipping it over.
Non-slip floor stabilizers increase safety by preventing accidental movement when turning over.
Best for the budget
Body Vision IT9550 Deluxe inversion table
If you are looking for a smaller, more affordable inversion table, this model may be for you.
It’s budget-friendly and designed for people weighing up to 250 pounds.
This table has a space saving design. It’s smaller and lighter than some other inversion tables.
It has a rear adjustment bar with four positions for inversion angles of 20, 40, 60 and 90 degrees and an easy-to-use height selection bar.
It has a detachable headrest pillow and lumbar support, as well as leg rolls made of foam to avoid pinching the calf.
Online reviews mention a simple assembly that takes about an hour from start to finish.
You might be tempted to get a used inversion table at a flea market, but this may not be the safest option. If possible, measure the course of the table. A used device may not be as robust or secure as you would like it to be.
Inversion tables can be expensive, but buying a used one if it falls apart isn’t a bargain, especially if you sit on it. When buying a used table, make sure it includes all of the parts and the instruction manual.
Most inversion tables can accommodate people weighing 300 pounds or less, although their height ranges vary somewhat. Check that your height is within the table range. The typical table height is between 5 feet, 1 inch to 6 feet, 6 inches.
Some of the characteristics to look for include:
- ergonomic, comfortable ankle support
- Number of reversal angles
- Head and backrest padding and thickness
- Strength and stability of the reversing mechanism
- Shoulder or waist straps
- Type and number of handles
- Extras such as heating and vibration massage pads
Inversion tables are large and heavy, and often weigh 60 pounds or more. If you want to store your table between uses, look for one that folds up and has wheels for easy storage, positioning and transport.
Be sure to buy from a trusted retailer who will provide information about the manufacturer’s warranty and shipping costs or returns.
If you see a doctor about back pain, ask them how often you should use an inversion table. Some users say they get optimal relief from two to five daily sessions, each lasting 1 to 5 minutes.
Also, ask about the correct inversion angle for your needs. It’s a good idea to start on a slight incline as you acclimate. Ultimately, you want to invert enough that your heart is above your head.
Work your way up to the angle of inversion that will give you the greatest relief. When you start with full inversion, you may feel dizzy if you are not used to it. Some users mention that turning back too quickly makes them feel nauseous.
It’s also a good idea to have someone watch you while you are using the table, especially in the beginning.
Always buckle up or buckle up.
Do not use your inversion table for exercise until you are used to it and trust your safety.
Inversion tables can be used to reduce or eliminate back pain. Several small studies, including one from 2012 and another from 2013, suggest that these tables have benefits for conditions like sciatica and herniated discs.
If you are using an inversion couch, take it slow and hear how your body feels that day.
If you have glaucoma, GERD, high blood pressure, or arthritis, you should avoid inversion tables.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer and reproductive medicine specialist specializing in health and wellness content. She has spent much of the last two decades educating people about infertility and family options. Whelan’s a science nerd, and her heroes span the gamut from Temple Grandin to her wonderful mother. She shares her Brooklyn, NY life with her adult, fascinating children and her crazy shelter dogs. Follow her on Twitter.