Inversion Therapies: An Overview

Inversion therapy can be practiced by persons of all ages and while most patients find it relaxing and pleasant, it is undeniable that some enjoy it more than others.

Inversion therapies are a type of spinal decompression and are often used after cervical or lumbar traction. Common to all of the treatments is either partial or total inversion and using the patient’s own weight to create the traction force. Greater forces can be generated with total inversion than partial inversion making it more effective but also more dangerous. Most patients will not tolerate the forces generated by total inversion without a period of gradual adjustment, but is also unnecessary.  The standard dose of inversion is between 45 and 60 degrees for 10 minutes a day

This type therapy can be used both therapeutically and prophylactically. Therapeutically, inversion therapies are most useful in cases where traction has either been only partially effective or more often when the beneficial effects of traction are not long lasting. Prophylactically, the gentle or moderate pull on the spine greatly can promote disc healing in a more physiologic position and decreases the chance of a relapse and extends the interval between recurrences.

Inversion therapy can be practiced by persons of all ages. Most patients find that it is a pleasant and relaxing part of their day.  Common methods of inversion are gravity boots, slant boards, inversion tables and of course the ever popular and readily available monkey bars.



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