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Side effects of inversion tables

Updated June 13, 2017

During inversion therapy, during which inversion tables sometimes feature, patients hang upside down, usually as a means of providing relief for back pain. Practitioners theorise that inversion therapy increases the area between vertebrae, taking gravitational pressure off nerve roots and disks in the spine. According to MayoClinic.com, inversion therapy fails at providing long-term relief for back pain. Side effects of using inversion tables do exist, including muscle spasms, aggravation of blood pressure conditions and stroke.

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Muscle Spasms

According to Arizona Pain Specialists, patients utilising inversion therapy, including use of inversion tables, commonly report muscle spasms as a side effect. Overstretching or tearing muscles can result in inflammation which causes a muscle spasm. Treatment for localised pain from muscle spasms includes rest. Physicians recommend making sure pressure on the shins and ankles is minimised to avoid muscle spasm.

Blood Pressure Condition Aggravation

According to MayoClinic.com, hanging upside down on an inversion table may cause problems for anyone with high blood pressure. Blood pressure increases after an inversion time exceeding a couple of minutes, making inversion therapy potentially dangerous for those with cardiovascular disease. The Healthy Back Institute reports inversion therapy impacts blood pressure in the opposite way in some patients, lowering the heart rate and blood pressure beyond even the normal resting rate. Patients should seek advice from their doctor before trying inversion tables for therapy if they have any blood pressure condition.

The Healthy Back Institute lists stroke as a possible side effect of using inversion table therapy. The American National Stroke Association lists strokes as the third leading cause of death in the United States and one of the top causes of adult disability. A stroke, also called a brain attack, occurs when normal blood flow to the brain is interrupted due to arterial blood clots or damage to blood vessels.

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About the Author

Nicki Wolf has been writing health and human interest articles since 1986. Her work has been published at various cooking and nutrition websites. Wolf has an extensive background in medical/nutrition writing and online content development in the nonprofit arena. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English from Temple University.

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