Contemplating using an inversion table for sciatica? We have you covered. We know the suffering when you are dealing with the lower back pain that travels all the way down to your leg. It can be quite irritating and debilitating. Right?
We think the same, and that is the reason we have brought up this post for you. As a matter of fact, many people believe that there is nothing non-invasive that you can do to get rid of it. However, we think otherwise.
Besides surgery, there are many available treatments that you can seek to bid farewell to sciatic nerve pain. One such treatment is via inversion tables. If you are looking for a justification to buy one, we have you all covered. This post covers everything that you need to know about inversion tables for sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is more than just back pain. It is a set of symptoms that cause irritation, inflammation, and entrapment of the sciatic nerve.
Sciatica nerve is a major lower extremity nerve located in one’s lower back and extends all the way down to the legs and into the feet.
Surprisingly, sciatica is not a condition itself but a symptom of an underlying condition. However, if left untreated, sciatica can develop into the full-blown chronic pain that shoots across the buttocks and might radiate towards the legs. Both the legs might be affected in this condition, but that varies from person to person.
Just like that, the symptoms of sciatica vary widely from person to person. But the common ones being observed, include:
- Numbness in the legs
- Weakness in the legs
- Leg pain
- The burning sensation that might extend towards the toes
- Leg cramps
- Shooting pain in the leg while standing or sitting
In addition to that, a person suffering from sciatica might also feel difficulty in moving feet, toes and bending the knees. These symptoms, however, can be resolved by using inversion tables. But before we dive into the use of inversion tables, let’s see what they actually are and how do they work.
What Is An Inversion Table?
As the name implies, inversion tables are meant to help you with inversion. These tables are designed to help a person to hang securely, upside down with their back resting on the bed. This position helps to stretch the lower back while relieving sciatica, increasing the blood circulation and promoting decompression in the spine.
In addition, the benefits of an inversion table don’t end there. Regardless of your age and fitness levels, the following benefits are also being offered by an inversion table.
- Inversion tables help to relax
- They help to stretch after exercise
- They help to strengthen the core and kick-start your mornings
How Does Inversion Tables Help With Sciatica?
Now that you have known what the inversion tables are and what are their benefits. Let’s discuss how inversion therapy and inversion tables help with sciatica. There are different theories being suggested about how inversion tables help with sciatica. These include:
Spinal Decompression is the term used to refer to the use of distraction forces. These forces help to increase the space between the vertebrae. That is where the sciatic never originates. This force helps increase the spaces between the vertebrae, that can temporarily improve the disc height, decrease muscle hypertension and facet joint spaces.
This helps to reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve, thereby decreasing the symptoms caused by sciatica.
In addition to spinal decompression, another way through which inversion tables help with sciatica is improved circulation. The inverted position also helps to improve blood circulation towards the back and sciatic nerve. This helps to increase the oxygen flow in the body while providing all the nutrients necessary for an ache-free body.
Stretching is another important approach that is being followed by inversion tables to help you get rid of sciatica. It helps with the stretching of the sciatic nerve that helps to improve posture and reduces the pressure on the nerves.
Also, the stretching helps to relieve the pain while improving flexibility and strength. There are also many other exercises that you can do with the help of the inversion table, not only to reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve but also to get many other benefits being mentioned above.
Moreover, inversion therapy is also thought to provide a gentle massage or physical manipulation. That will allow the people to find relief from the symptoms and pain of sciatica.
What Are Some Inversion Table Sciatica Exercises?
While you can use the inversion table as it is to relieve sciatica, however, there are some suggested ways through which you can get more out of them. These include specific exercises to decrease the symptoms and improve overall mobilization.
There are several exercises that you can perform on an inversion table. These exercises are:
This one is the simplest exercise that you can do with an inversion table. It not only decompresses the spine but also stretches the lower back muscles to improve mobility. For this, what you are going to need to do is:
Simply lie on an inversion table and set it on the desired angle.
- Then, reach your right arm across the body and grab the sidebar on the left
- Hold it for about 5 to 10 seconds.
- Now repeat the same thing for the other side.
- Perform 10 reps for each side which will help to ease the pain
Another easy to do exercise on the inversion table is the pelvic tilts. This one works on the flexion and extension as well as control the lumbar spine. To perform this,
- Get to the full inversion via your inversion table
- Engage your core muscles and try to flatten your back and hips against the table
- Now arch your back in the opposite direction for manual decompression
- You can go back and forth in order to wiggle the hips.
- You can also do little circles using your pelvis on the table.
- This will loosen up all the muscles in the lower back, thereby allowing the sciatic nerve to relax.
Most of the people with back pain do not engage in deep breathing. However, proper diaphragmatic breathing offers core stabilization and helps to relieve back pain. In order to achieve core stabilization and strengthen the sciatic nerve,
- Simply invert the table while lying over it
- Put one hand on the stomach and one on the chest
- Now breathe mindfully
This exercise will not only help to relieve the symptoms of lower back pain but also helps you to reduce the stress and helps you to reduce weight.
This stretch is another best way to bid farewell to your sciatica. For this,
- Set the table on the desired angle
- Reach the right arm over the head and then towards the left side
- Use a gentle stretch and hold it for around 5 to 10 seconds.
- Repeat the stretch for both the sides and perform 10 reps.
- This way you will add additional spinal decompression that will help relax nerves.
This exercise helps to promote overall abdominal stability and strength of the lower back. In order to perform it,
- Set the table to the full inversion
- Put your hands behind the head or over your chest
- Contract your abdominals
- And crunch your shoulders off to the table
- Perform this exercise for at least 20 reps and then take a break.
Also, ensure breathing throughout the exercise that will further improve the symptoms of sciatica and lower back pain.
How Long Should I Be Using The Inversion Table?
When you are using an inversion table without any professional to guide you, it is required for you to follow a strict timeline. We recommend starting by using the table for only 1 to 2 minutes per session. However, if you feel discomfort even before completing a minute, stop immediately and don’t force yourself too much.
What are the inversion table negative side effects?
There are certain conditions in which full or partial inversion is not at all recommended. These conditions are:
- High blood pressure
- Heart Diseases
- Ear Infections
- Spinal injuries
- Cerebral Sclerosis
- Pregnancy Herniated Disk
So it is recommended to always speak to your doctor first before practicing inversion as it could be incompatible with your health.
What Happens If My Back Pain Is Worse After Using Inversion Table?
The nice stretch that you get from an inversion table might get your symptoms and pain worse. And if you are feeling an increased pain anywhere in your leg, back or glutes, it is recommended to stop immediately. Also, consult your chiropractor to seek advice.
Inversion tables can be the best treatment for sciatica unless you use it under the supervision of a professional. Besides treating sciatica, it can offer a ton of benefits. And if you are curious whether this therapy will help you treat your condition, we recommend talking to your doctor first. Your professional will rule out any potential problems.