Is An Inversion Table Safe?

inversion table therapy

An inversion table is a form of spinal traction (stretching) that might relieve back pain and sciatica sufferers (1-6). But inversion carries some risks, too, so consider these suggestions before you begin.


Don’t use an inversion table if you have any of the following:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Vascular headaches
  • Eye disease (glaucoma, detached retina, etc.)
  • Severe osteoporosis
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Heart or vascular problems – including an elevated risk of stroke
  • Are pregnant

Inversion can irritate some other pre-existing conditions. Talk to your doctor before starting if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Arthritis of the ankle, knee or hip
  • Compression fracture
  • Inner ear problems
  • Acid reflux disease
  • Any other condition of the heart, circulatory system, eye, bone, or balance system

Read the safety instructions for your specific inversion table before starting.

Have a spotter if you have trouble or need help getting back up.


Try before you buy. Inversion tables can be a costly investment. Ensure it works before investing dollars and floor space in a table.

Don’t lean too far back. Start at a 10- to 15-degree angle and set the safety strap to a max between 30 and 60 degrees. There is no need to hang upside down, especially for older adults.

Sliding off the table unexpectedly is the most common risk. Be sure to use the buckle system and hold onto the handles.

Move slowly into the inverted position.

Start by using the table a minute or two once per day. Eventually, work up to a couple of 3 to 5-minute sessions each day.


Recognize that inversion is not a magic bullet. It works best with other professional treatments, like chiropractic care and therapeutic exercises.

Whether seeking relief from chronic pain or simply aiming for optimal health, your Livonia chiropractor guides you every step of the way. Contact our office to schedule an appointment by Clicking Here or giving us a call today: 734-427-6333

  1.  Prasad KM, Gregson BA, Hargreaves G, Byrnes T, Winburn P, Mendelow AD. Inversion therapy in patients with pure single level lumbar discogenic disease: a pilot randomized trial. Disability and rehabilitation. 2012 Aug 1;34(17):1473-80. Link
  2. Kim JD, Oh HW, Lee JH, Cha JY, Ko IG, Jee YS. The effect of inversion traction on pain sensation, lumbar flexibility and trunk muscles strength in patients with chronic low back pain. Isokinetics and Exercise Science. 2013 Jan 1;21(3):237-46. Link
  3. Güevenol K, Tüzün Ç, Peker Ö, Göktay Y. A comparison of inverted spinal traction and conventional traction in the treatment of lumbar disc herniations. Physiotherapy theory and practice. 2000 Jan 1;16 (3):151-60. Link
  4. Kassay A, Soliman MA, Jhawar BS. Recommendations for inversion table therapy. Disability and Rehabilitation. 2022 Nov 28:1-4. Link
  5. Kane MD, Karl RD, Swain JH. Effects of gravity-facilitated traction on intervertebral dimensions of the lumbar spine. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. 1985 Apr;6(5):281-8. Link
  6. Mendelow AD, Gregson BA, Mitchell P, Schofield I, Prasad M, Wynne-Jones G, Kamat A, Patterson M, Rowell L, Hargreaves G. Lumbar disc disease: the effect of inversion on clinical symptoms and a comparison of the rate of surgery after inversion therapy with the rate of surgery in neurosurgery controls. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 2021;33(11):801-8. Link

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