Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    Inversion Tables before and after back surgery
    pooh5724 posted:
    I was brought to this page in bing search of inversion tables and clicked on one labeled--'Do inversion tables work'......and the post I was reading on says it is from 4 years ago! I would like to know of any new folks that have used inversion tables, whether before or after back surgery, or no back surgery and how they helped them, or didn't in the long run. I am personally going to be having a very major back surgery in the near future, while I await my disability, as required by my surgeon, as it will be quite financially expensive, requiring help, besides my having daily pain with my disc degenerative disease, along with now severe scoliosis....basically my bottom 5 disc are gone in my spine. Please advise if you have used an inversion table, which ones, as I do have trouble even to lie on my back, so looking for ones with cushion or ones that maybe I can lie on with my actual spine not being forced to lie on hard surface. Thanks to ANYone or everyone that can reply to me and possibly giving me some insight about inversion tables. In some of my readings, some say not advisable to use after surgery, so don't want to invest in a really nice/expensive one, if I cannot use it after I have this massive surgery that is due in my future. Thanks!!!
    bj1208 responded:
    Hi Pooh5724 -

    I can tell you that I have a Fusion (L5-S1) and there is no way that I can ever use an inversion table - not just me - but anyone who has a fusion - as there should not be any pulling stretching etc of the back so that no damage can come to the plate etc.

    Hopefully more members who use this and that it has helped will post their good results -
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    pooh5724 replied to bj1208's response:
    Thanks BJ! This is part of what I'm wondering, as I know I will be having multiple fusions done with my back surgery, and although I'm not sure when this will take place...., after disability kicks in, I quite smoking, financies are arranged etc. But in hearing so many talk of the pain relief the table does give, I fell I should purchase a low end/price one as I may not be able to use after my surgery. I hope also, that more members come thru with their personal experiences on them on here.

    Again, thanks for your response!!!
    pooh5724 replied to pooh5724's response:
    I really want to hear from some other of you folks, that have had experience in using an inversion table for you back pain and/or problems, whether good or bad.....please, and thanks!!!
    dianer01 replied to pooh5724's response:
    Hi pooh,

    I have had L3-s1 fused and was warned against using an inversion table or boots because of the pressure it will put on the disks above the fusion.

    I do have a friend who has scoliosis and has used one for many years and it has helped with pain relief. She has never had any type of spine surgery.

    You might want to talk to your doc before trying this.
    pooh5724 replied to dianer01's response:
    Thanks, yes my Dr said it would be fine to use now, and I'd already read and heard of not being able to use after I have many fusions and other things in my surgery......glad to hear your friend, also with scoliosis, says it has helped with their pain. That is all I need now is the ease in some of the pain hopefully and any other benefit it may give me at this time. I actually did find a top of line used one today and just got it home. Anxious to try first time tomorrow. Thanks Diane!!
    bj1208 replied to pooh5724's response:
    Hi Pooh5724 - again!

    I would be very careful as you stated the bottom 5 disc are no longer there. depending on how long ago this happened your discs could have fused together (sometimes happens) and they may not be very sturdy. using the inversion table may cause more damage to those discs.

    please keep us posted how you are doing~~
    ~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~

    Take care ~~ God Bless ~~

    ~~ Joy ~~
    djg1351 replied to dianer01's response:
    I think there nay be a misunderstanding about inversion. With inversion you are upside down and the load on the discs above the fused area is decompressed if you are inverted - they are loaded w hen you are sitting and standing.
    davedsel2 replied to djg1351's response:
    Using an inversion table is something that MUST be discussed with a spinal orthopedic surgeon or spinal neurosurgeon before using. While they may help some people, they may cause further problems for others.

    I have been told by several spine specialists that I should never use one. Thorough research and consultation with a spine specialist are essential. Every patient is unique and must do what is right for them.
    Please click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


    trs1960 replied to djg1351's response:
    To add to Dave and help understand forces. As we stand upright our spine is compressed by gravity (32.2ft/s/s). Each step or bounce increases the forces with the gravity constant above. While I guess it's correct to say inversion "decompresses" the spine, it's more accurate to say that it reverses the direction of gravity 180 degrees. The spine is no longer in compression, but in tension. Think of an accordion as it is pushed in and pulled out. It takes force to move it either direction. A weak section may be damaged from pulling just as easily as pushing.

    Floating in water would be about the only way to remove gravitational forces.

    Now re-read Dave's comment.

    Good luck,

    davedsel2 replied to trs1960's response:

    Thank you very much for that very interesting and essential information. To me, inversion tables sound like a gimmick that could be dangerous.
    Please click on my username or avatar picture to read my story.


    trs1960 replied to davedsel2's response:
    Thanks Dave. I forget to mention the microgravity observed in space. Astronauts working in the space station grew 3% while away from the earth. If my math is right, that's 2.16 inches on a 6ft tall person!

    As I type this I'm sitting back in my recliner. It's been a long afternoon and I've been helping in the kitchen. The pain finally got the better of me so I'm taking a break. Taking the weight off my feet and reclining is my most comfortable position.

    georgia888 replied to trs1960's response:
    Hello Tim,
    Whenever water is mentioned, I must chime in!

    The benefits of aqua therapy cannot be stressed enough. Upon the onset of various symptoms resulting from moderate-to-severe OA of the spine (& left hip), spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, and fibromyalgia, I visited many a doctor looking for a diagnosis. They all recommended water exercise for my various musculoskeletal issues.

    Since taking an early medical retirement over three years ago, I joined a gym with a pool and visit it every morning to receive my best medicine. The buoyancy of the water allows me to move in ways I cannot on land, and also without the impact of land.

    Water aerobics have given me a better range of motion, more flexibility, and subsequently, improved mobility. It also helps in lessening pain. Of course, one's mental state benefits as equally from regular exercise.

    To those in this community my ongoing advice to you is, if your doctor agrees, and it is feasible, find a pool to use on a regular basis. If you're on Medicare, this can be quite economical.

    Happy New Year to all!

    trs1960 replied to georgia888's response:
    Yes water is the true low impact exercise. Since our bodies are mainly water our specific gravity is close to 1 which is the same as water. That's why we become weightless in water. We're not actually weightless, we're just in a fluid that has the same density as our bodies so the forces of gravity or effecting the water the same as our body.

    I'm not against inversion tables to stretch a healthy spine. I'm with Dave though, playing with inversion devices with an injured spine...makes me nervous as you can damage something by pulling it just as you can by pushing on it. If it's compromised it could be a problem. It would be a stressor on any hardware anchor points or fusion points.

    Like Dave said, professional advise from someone that is familiar with your injuries would be mandatory. While water is relatively safe.ive never heard a doctor say "be careful on the water!"

    Helpful Tips

    Steps For Getting Back Pain Diagnosed And Treated
    Many people come to this WebMD Back Pain Community looking for help in getting a diagnosis of a cause and relief from their back pain. Most ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    226 of 343 found this helpful

    Helpful Resources

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health Spine Center