A question I often get from people is whether or not to buy a used inversion table. If you are in the market for an inversion table of your own but are not sure if you should buy new or used, please keep reading.
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Back problems have unfortunately been a considerable part of my life for the past 20 years, and using an inversion table is one treatment option that has helped me with some pain relief. I have been using an inversion table for many years, and I have owned both new and used.
First, let’s talk a little bit about inversion therapy and then get into inversion tables. If you are considering purchasing an inversion table, I highly recommend speaking with your doctor or chiropractor first.
What exactly is inversion therapy?
In a nutshell, inversion therapy is hanging (suspending) upside down to stretch your spine and help to relieve back pain. By using gravity to your advantage, inversion allows the discs in your back a chance to rejuvenate and hydrate by taking the pressure off of them.
Benefits of inversion
So, does inversion therapy really work? Let’s take a look at some research and see.
This study looked at a sample of 47 people with chronic low back pain and inverted for 3 minutes at a time at different angles. The study showed that inverting at a 60-degree angle reduced back pain after 8 weeks. Not only did the study reveal decreased back pain, but also an increase in flexibility and strength of the torso.
Another study showed that folks with lumbar disease decreased the need for surgery after 6 weeks of inversion therapy.
But, according to the Mayo Clinic, most studies find inversion therapy ineffective.
Anyway, despite these studies, back pain is a very complex problem, and inversion is certainly not guaranteed to work, but some people like me have success.
The amount of research on inversion is pretty limited, there isn’t much scientific evidence of long-term benefits. Look at it like this. Inverting is a recovery and maintenance type of program. To keep getting the benefits, inverting is something you need to do continually.
Over time as your back recovers inverting will be something you will need to do less of, but if you quit all together then you may end up right back where you started.
In essence, the long-term benefits come from inverting regularly and incorporating this into your daily routine. For me, it only takes a few minutes each day, so I invert pretty much every day.
Should you buy a used inversion table?
As I mentioned, I have owned both new and used inversion tables, so I have some experience with both. So now let’s take a look at both options and get into a new vs. used inversion table.
Are all the parts there?
If you turn to your local online marketplace like Craigslist, or OfferUp, etc., you will most likely find inversion tables for sale. People have different reasons for getting rid of an inversion table which you can read about here.
Some people stop using the table after recovering from an injury or get tired of dusting it off from lack of use. Whatever the reason, there are definitely used tables to be had out there.
One thing to watch out for though is whether or not all of the parts are included. When I was looking for my very first table, I didn’t really know what I was looking for, or what parts should be included. I ended up buying a table, got it home, and realized one of the ankle cushions was missing. How could I miss something that now seems so obvious? Well, I didn’t really know what I was getting or looking at to begin with.
Anyway, the point is, when you buy something used, you don’t always know what you are getting. When you are hanging upside down, you want to be confident you are not going to end up falling on your head.
Quality may not be as good
I have seen a lot of cheap inversion tables for sale online, and a lot of times they tend to be the ones that were more inexpensive when bought new. With less expensive inversion tables, you will probably not get as many features, and the quality may not be as good as more expensive models.
Again, when you buy anything used, sure you may be getting a better price, but you also don’t know the history or how it has been used.
No instructions on how to use it
The other thing, the used table I bought didn’t have an instruction manual, so I had no idea how to break it down for storage, or how to put it back together when I wanted to use it. Again, these are things I have learned over the years as I am much wiser now :).
I was also new to inverting at the time, and having some instructions would have been great. The doctor who recommended I try an inversion table didn’t explain how to use one, and I never really gave it a second thought, you just hang upside down right? You can read my post about using an inversion table here.
Someone else has used it
Okay, here we go, you have no idea how the other person used the inversion table, or what they did with it or to it. Was the person you bought it from a super sweaty workout guy who never wore a shirt when he inverted and worse yet, never wiped it down afterward?
This can be especially troublesome with a foam padding backrest on the inversion table. Foam can soak up a lot of “stuff.” Some of that stuff you may never be able to get out.
Without getting into too much detail, I think you probably get where I am coming from. Or maybe I am just an overly sensitive clean freak, and that shouldn’t bother me which is certainly a possibility as well. Okay, moving on…
What happens if something breaks?
With a used inversion table, you are out of luck. You get the unit home, as I did, find out something is missing, or broken and you are up a creek so to speak.
If you buy a new inversion table, you can contact the seller or manufacturer, and most likely there will be some type of warranty to fall back on.
With a new inversion table, you have the joyful experience of assembling the table yourself (sarcasm), or you can pay for assembly. Some tables can take a couple of hours and a friend to help you build it.
When you buy a used inversion table, most likely it’s already put together, all you have to do is take it home and start using it.
To recap, here is a breakdown of a new vs. used inversion table
New inversion table pros:
- You will get a fresh, out of the box table that has never been used before, by anyone, stinky or otherwise
- The table will come with some kind of a warranty, in some cases up to 10 years
- If you have any questions or problems (missing parts, etc.), the manufacturer or seller will help you out
- You can find some pretty affordable new inversion tables
New inversion table cons:
- You will have to build it or pay for assembly
- More expensive than a used inversion table
Used inversion table pros:
- It’s already assembled
- Cheaper than a new one in most cases
Used inversion table cons:
- Could be lacking parts and/or accessories
- Might have some funky smells
- You don’t know the history or how it has been used
- You don’t know if it is structurally sound until you use it
I have owned both new and used inversion tables. When I started out, I had an injury, and my doctor recommended I start using an inversion table. I turned to my local online marketplace (Craigslist) and found a pretty inexpensive table.
I used that table until I had recovered from my back injury and then I turned right around and sold it on…you guessed it, Craigslist.
I then had a pretty severe back injury in 2015, and it took me a solid 6 months to recover. At that point, I bought a brand new Teeter inversion table that I plan on keeping for a very long time.
Conclusion: Should you buy a used inversion table?
As you can see, there are pros and cons to new and used inversion tables. My advice is if you are just starting out and are not really sure if you are keeping the table long-term, maybe you are recovering from an injury; see if you can find an inexpensive used inversion table.
If you are looking for a long-term solution, I highly recommend buying a high-quality, new inversion table. A good table will last you for many years to come.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below, and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Or feel free to contact me directly.