How Using An Inversion Table For Sciatica Can Help Your Back

Today I want to introduce you to using an inversion table for sciatica. An inversion table is my go-to method for back pain and specifically sciatic nerve pain relief. If you are looking for a noninvasive, drug-free way to find some much-needed pain relief, I encourage you to keep reading.

A lot of people, including myself, suffer from sciatic nerve pain. You know that awful sensation of burning, shooting, tingling pain that radiates down your leg. Yes, I know all too well about sciatica, I have been dealing with it most of my adult life.

Sciatic nerve pain is no joke and feels like an electric shock shooting down my leg. I have had pain so bad that it was difficult to walk.  At times, my foot has been numb due to sciatica. The pain is different for everyone; some people feel it in the butt, while others like me have pain much further down the leg.

See the pain travels along the path of the sciatic nerve, and this is why you can feel pain down your leg even in your toes like I have at times. Sometimes the pain is little more than annoying, while other times it can be debilitating.

When I have flare-ups, or worse, one method that I have found works well is using an inversion table for sciatica.  Before we talk specifically about inversion tables, let’s take a close look at sciatica.

What is sciatica?

If you are reading this, you probably have a pretty good idea what sciatica is, or at least you are familiar with the sensation, but here is a little background.  The sciatic nerve runs from the low back, through your butt, and down both legs.  This nerve is what supplies your legs with feeling and strength.  When there is pressure applied to the nerve, like from a herniated disc, you start to feel pain.

Sciatica is not a diagnosis, but a symptom of some other issue. Sciatica can be the result of a herniated disc, but can also bone spurs or spinal stenosis [1]. These conditions can put pressure on the sciatic nerve.  The pain that travels along the nerve path is called sciatica.

How can an inversion table help sciatica?

Inversion therapy gives muscles in your hips, back and legs a chance to relax and lengthen, which in turn lets your spine decompress. Decompression helps herniated discs heal naturally, without drugs or surgery.  When the disc is allowed to heal, there is room for the nerve to pass through, and pressure on the sciatic nerve is reduced.

This study has helped to support the benefits of inversion therapy.  Patients were divided into two groups.  One group strictly did physical therapy, and the other used inversion therapy in addition to physical therapy.  The group who used the inversion was over 70% less likely to require surgery.

So, that is an overview of sciatica, now let’s get into the good stuff.

Inversion table for sciatica

Unfortunately, I have quite a bit of experience using an inversion table.  You can check out my complete story here, but I can also give you the short version.

Back pain, sciatica specifically, has been a part of my life for about 20 years, and it wasn’t until about ten years ago that I was first introduced to using an inversion table. At the time, a doctor from the pain clinic told me to use one, but never gave me any direction on how to use it. I bought a used table and kind of fumbled my way through it.

The table I bought was just okay. I didn’t want to spend much money on it at the time.  I didn’t realize that using an inversion table would be part of my life down the road. A few years later, I injured myself by the simple act of picking up my 5-year-old daughter.  I heard a “pop” in my lower back.  I dusted off the used inversion table and decided to give it a go.

I ended up hurting myself worse because I didn’t know how to use the darn thing correctly. So I stopped using the table and went to see the doctor.  Eventually, after months and months of different treatment options, I was back on my inversion table and got better.  I later sold that table, not thinking I would need to use it again.

In 2015 I suffered a pretty severe back injury, and part of my recovery involved using an inversion table. At that point, I decided to invest in a quality inversion table, one that I would end up keeping for many years to come.

I tell you all of that to give you the back story on why I recommend Teeter inversion tables.  I own a Teeter, and I think they make an excellent inversion table. I will talk about each model and share with you what makes each one unique.

There are some features that Teeter inversion tables share, and there are differences as well further below.

  • Backrest
    Each of the Teeter FitSpine inversion tables has the FlexTech backrest, which is a great design.  The backrest is very comfortable to lie on and has built-in handgrips if you need an extra stretch in your upper back. The FlexTech backrest is, just like the name implies, very flexible and moves with you and is not restrictive. The backrest is also breathable and easy to clean.
  • Lumbar bridge
    For the small of your back, provides extra traction and support for your lower back
  • Acupressure nodes
    Give you pressure point relief in the places with those pesky tight knots. You can put them wherever you want, and they are very versatile
  • 5-year warranty
  • 3D interactive instructions
    Yes, some assembly is required.

Teeter FitSpine X1 Inversion Table

Dimensions: (Open) 81” L x 29” W x 87” H (Closed) 58” L x 29” W x 61” H
User Height: 4’8” to 6’6”
Max User Weight: 300 pounds

The FitSpine X1 is the entry-level model in the series, but don’t let that fool you.  This inversion table has a lot of great features that will help you enjoy your inversion experience.Teeter FitSpine X1 Inversion Table

We already touched on the backrest, so I will get into other features of this table.

Ankle lock system

The ankle locking system on an inversion table is essential in my opinion since this is what holds you in place when you are hanging upside down. The X1 has a comfortable set of ankle cushions but lacks a long locking/release handle.

For me, the longer handle is critical because that means less bending over when you are locking in or releasing from the inversion table. When you have a back injury, bending over can be really hard, so that is something to consider.

Inversion angle adjustment

The FitSpine X1 uses a tether strap, which allows you to invert at any angle you need.  A tether strap differs from pushpin system which has preset inversion angles. The pushpin system is foolproof, and as long as you are okay with preset inversion angles that might be okay.

With a tether strap, you are not limited to any particular angle, and I think this is the better way to go.  Sure, it may take a few times to get the angle just right, but once you find the right angle you are good to go.

The tether strap on the X1 does not come with any premarked inversion angles as the other two models do. If that is important, then you may want to consider the X3 or the LX9.

User height adjustment

Setting the user height is pretty easy as well; you can see my article here for more information.  The general idea is to get the height setting on the main shaft set for your height, and you should be able to rotate in and out of inversion using your arms.

You can see my complete review on the Teeter FitSpine X1 here.  If you are interested in purchasing the X1 or would like more information, click here.

Pros:

  • FlexTech Backrest
  • Comfortable ankle cushions
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Short locking/release handle
  • No preset marks on the tether strap

==> See complete review here <==


Teeter FitSpine X3 Inversion Table

Dimensions: (Open) 81” L x 29” W x 87” H (Closed) 58” L x 29” W x 61” H
User Height: 4’8” to 6’6”
Max User Weight: 300 pounds

The mid-level FitSpine X3 has a lot to offer and is loaded with great features.  We touched on the backrest earlier, so now we will get into the other great aspects of this inversion table.Teeter FitSpine X3 Inversion Table

Ankle lock system

One of the features I have talked about that I look for in an inversion table is the length of the handle. At times in my life, back problems have prevented me from bending over, so using an inversion table with a short locking/release handle was really difficult.  In fact, I owned a used table years ago, and I had to have my wife help me with the handle because I couldn’t bend over to lock in or get out of the table.

The FitSpine X3 has a long handle, so it’s easy to get in and out of and that is a definite plus in my book.

The ankle cushions themselves are very comfortable with contoured cups that fit nicely around your lower leg.  You want to feel secure when you are hanging upside down, and the ankle cushions fit snug and comfortably.

Inversion angle adjustment

Similar to the X1, the FitSpine X3 uses a tether strap to hold the inversion angle.  The difference with the X3 is that there are preset marks sewn into the strap for easier adjustment.  The EZ-Angle tether has marks at 20, 40 and 60 degrees, which also makes it easier to find angles between these marks if you need a different angle.

User height adjustment

Same thing here with the X1, there are height adjustments on the main shaft, and you can use the setting that is appropriate for you. Again, depending on your body type, you may need to set the height a little bit differently to get it just right.  Once you have the user height setting correct, you should be able to rotate in and out of inversion using your arms.

Pros:

  • Preset marks on the tether strap
  • Long locking/release handle
  • Includes acupressure nodes

Cons:

  • Awkward to move

==> See complete review here <==


Teeter FitSpine LX9 Inversion Table

Dimensions: (Open) 82” L x 28” W x 87” H (Closed) 61” L x 28” W x 57” H
User Height: 4’8” to 6’6”
Max User Weight: 300 pounds

Ankle lock system

The Deluxe EZ-Reach Ankle System means less bending over, which is great if you are recovering from a back injury.  The long handle is easy to reach, so locking and releasing yourself from the inversion table is a snap.Teeter FitSpine LX9 Inversion Table

The ankle cushions are comfortable and secure, so you can rest assured when you are hanging upside down.  The cushions are contoured to fit securely on the front and back of your lower leg.

Inversion angle adjustment

Same as the X3, the FitSpine LX9 uses a tether strap with sewn inversion angle markings, which make it easy to set your preferred angle.  The preset angles are 20, 40, and 60 degrees.  If you need to set a different angle, you can easily do so in between these marks.

User height adjustment

Adjusting the inversion table for your height is easy using the main shaft with preset markings.  You should start with your height, and if you need to make adjustments, you can go from there. Depending on your body type, and center of gravity, you may have to adjust the user height up or down.

To rotate in and out of inversion, you should be able to use your arm movements.  If not, then you will need to make an adjustment.

Pros:

  • Loading platform
  • Storage caddy
  • Easy to get in and out of

Cons:

  • Most expensive model

==> See complete review here <==


Summary

These are some great options if you are looking to use an inversion table for sciatica.  Now, if I had to choose one that would be a difficult choice.  I recommend the FitSpine X3 as a great option, here’s why.  You get all of the great features of the LX9, minus the boarding platform and storage caddy.

With the X3, you also get the longer locking/release handle and the preset marks on the tether strap, which the X1 does not offer.

If you need a budget model, by all means, check out the X1. If budget is not a concern, be sure to check out the LX9. If you are looking for a happy medium, then the Teeter FitSpine X3 is your best option.

Thank you for tuning in.  I know this was a lot to read and I hope you found this article informative.  If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Steve

BuildingStrongerBodies.com

 

Teeter FitSpine

9.5

Support

9.5/10

Comfort

9.5/10

Design

9.5/10

Pros

  • FlexTech Backrest
  • FDA Registered
  • Quality Construction

Disclosure: Some of the links in this review are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.  Click here for details.

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