Reviews and Ratings Of The Best Inversion Tables For Your Back And Joint Pain

Excruciating back or joint pain got you yelling F-bombs and being short with your coworkers?

An inversion table may help relieve your pain and stop you from treating that intern like crap.

Inversion tables are a way of achieving spinal decompression, or spinal traction.

Rather than your feet pointing toward the ground, inversion tables allow your head to point down, thereby inverting your body’s positioning.

The big point here is that rather than gravity pulling you down and putting all the pressure on your joints, spine, and feet, gravity will pull things “apart”, and give things in your body more space.

Many people find relief from general back pain, joint pressure relief, muscle tension, herniated discs, sciatica, and much more. Let’s dive into the differences between the top units and compare them to find you the perfect fit!

Rating The Top 4 Inversion Tables

Quick Note

There’s a lot of total crap out there on inversion tables that looks super sketchy. Videos that look like they’re from the 90s with people who make all sorts of scientific claims without anything to back them up...it’s a weird place on the internet.

We’re going to be honest with you. There’s limited scientific data to back up many of the claims made by proponents of inversion tables. There certainly are some, which is good, but just not many.

The bottom line is that while it’s not a replacement for longer term pain relief and fixing what’s actually wrong with your back, there are literally millions of people who use these things, and it seems quite a good majority of them believe that occasional use offers good short term pain relief.

We’re not going to try to make a load of claims about how perfect these are, because frankly we can’t back them up. But again, to us, the biggest thing these have going for them is simply the fact that yes, they feel good to use, and yes they can help lessen or relieve some forms of back and joint pain.

Alright, so inversion tables have been around for about 50 years, but the media blew a study out of proportion in the 80s and scared the pants off of everyone. Even though the study’s author came out and was like, “uh, hey guys, that’s not what we said and we actually don’t think inversion tables are bad”, the damage was done.

However, they’ve recently become popular again, as more health professionals, university studies, and even the US military find uses for inverting.

A study was done at the Regional Neurosciences Centre in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the UK that showed that patients awaiting surgery for pure lumbar discogenic disease were much more likely NOT to need surgery if they engaged in intermittent inversion as well as physiotherapy.

Not too bad, right? Clearly some benefit.

Some doctors say that inversion therapy doesn’t provide long-term relief from back pain, though. Basically that means that even though it makes you feel good after you’ve done it, it is not likely going to fix the root of the problem if you’ve got a bad back.

For anyone who’s experienced back pain, you know that even short-term relief from your pain can be a tremendous boost to your day and your mood. By using an inversion table a couple of times per day, you could be lessening the negative side effects of your pain issues and improving your quality of life.

Just a quick note that people who are pregnant or who have:

  • a hernia,
  • glaucoma,
  • retinal detachment,
  • conjunctivitis,
  • high blood pressure,
  • recent stroke,
  • heart or circulatory disorders,
  • spinal injury,
  • cerebral sclerosis,
  • swollen joints,
  • osteoporosis,
  • unhealed fractures,
  • surgically implanted supports,
  • use of anticoagulants, or
  • ear infection,

should probably not use a table. Just be smart! As always, consult your doctor before using if you’re unsure.

The Benefits Of Using An Inversion Table

Pain Relief

Like I said, inversion table has been shown to reduce back and joint pain, even if only in the short term.

As I write this, lying down or hanging partially upside down are the only things providing comfort. A poor movement on a deadlift has my lower back feeling a bit “off” right now, and it seems removing pressure is the only comfortable way to not want to scream. I’m also performing stretches given to me by a chiropractor which I know from experience helps this particular pain immensely. But, being inverted a bit certainly feels nice while it’s happening.

So if you’re suffering from lower back pain, sciatica, muscle tightness, or some other painful spinal injury, it’s likely that you can achieve at least a little while without pain.

Stress Relief

While pain relief is obviously the major reason you’d look into getting an inversion table, did you know that inverting and resting can be incredibly stress relieving and calming?

There is some evidence that even moderately angled inversion can help reduce stress in the muscles, which helps to release tightness and stress throughout the body.

This can be particularly useful to become more aware of how you are tensing your body through the day. If you invert and feel a loosening sensation in your shoulders, for example, you might only then realize how you have been tightening your shoulders throughout the day, leading to pain and more stress.

The first thing you need in order to make changes to your habits like this is awareness, so finding out which areas of the body are currently most stressed and strained is an important step in reversing it.

Joint Relief

Decompressing by hanging upside down may help lubricate your joints and help them become better shock absorbers by nourishing the cartilage.

Posture and Flexibility

Some people find that decompressing helps muscles loosen, as mentioned above, which can lead to greater flexibility and a better posture.

If you find yourself hunched over, and are able to invert a couple of times per day, it can allow your muscles to stretch out, and combined with the spinal relief you’ll get, you may well find yourself standing straighter and more tall after a few sessions.

As with the stress point, being made aware is the first step to changing something. So, not only can you finally get to grips with the realization that your posture is lacking, but you can feel exactly where you need to work on in order to get it back to the optimal position.

Fitness and Workouts

Ok, let’s be honest, if you’re getting an inversion table in order to turn it into your workout station, just stop. There are better ways.

But, did you know you can actually do a few quick exercises while hanging from your inversion table?

Things like inverted squats, inverted crunches and situps, and inverted rotations can help build core strength.

Again, while I don’t not recommend getting a unit just to be able to do these exercises, you may find that adding them into the end of your session, depending on your fitness level, is a good way to make sure you get a short workout in.

Our Reviews Of The Best Tables

#1. Teeter Inversion Table EP-960 (EDITOR’S CHOICE)

As they are proud to tell you, Teeter is the only inversion table manufacturer here to have been “cleared by the FDA to treat back-pain related conditions and symptoms” (including back pain, sciatica, muscle tension, degenerative disc disease, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spinal curvature due to tight muscles, muscle spasm & facet syndrome).

Now, this may be because it’s usually prohibitively expensive to get these kind of clearances, but either way, it’s actually pretty impressive.

They are clearly a leader in the space, and even have stand up desks and massagers, so they’re not just a one trick pony. I’d label them more as a back and posture health company rather than just someone who makes inversion tables.

The EP-960 is their top of the line unit, which isn’t completely different from the slightly cheaper EP-560, but has a few extra bells and whistles to make operation easier and potentially safer.

Vital Stats

Height Capacity: 4’8″ – 6’6″ (142 – 198 cm)
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
In-Use Height: 86″
Assembled Weight: 64.8 LBS
Warranty: Full 5-Year Warranty

Teeter appears to be the easiest company to trust. They show how they perform pretty rigorous testing (including tests that are only voluntary in the industry). They seem to go above and beyond when it comes to making sure they’re making a quality product, and for something I’m going to be hanging upside down from, that’s kind of important.

Say what you will about this coming straight from the company, but it’s pretty clear that they’ve put together an impressive product after watching this video.

>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<

The Teeter is easy to assemble, and you should have it up and running in about 15 minutes, and includes documentation so you know how to use it and get going right away.

Other than being a leader in the space and having legit products that are well made and that actually work well (honestly, we’re only recommending the best, so they all work), this model is all about comfort and convenience.

Ankle locks that you don’t have to bend down to engage.

Extra long handles to make it easier to pull yourself up and give you more flexibility (no pun intended) when determining how best to use it for your unique situation.

Preset rotational guides so there’s no guess work as to where you’ll end up and how many degrees you should be at.

Easy to recommend this as one of the few inversion tables out there to seriously consider.

>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<

#2. Innova ITX9600

The Innova is literally the best selling table on Amazon, which means an awful lot.

Did you know that quite a few people shop on Amazon? And quite a few people buy inversion tables on Amazon?

And that a ridiculous amount of people give it good reviews? Literally 7% of people gave it 3 stars or less. That’s insane.

So, for that reason alone, we’re interested and you should be, too.

Unlike the Teeter we mentioned above, there’s not a lot to this unit. They say they’ve got a patent pending cover, so I guess they’re trying to be innovative, but I’m not excited about a protective cover.

Interestingly it also has a 300 pound weight capacity, which actually surprised me at first because I thought for a cheaper unit, you’d only get 200 or maybe 250.

Vital Stats

Height Capacity: 4’10” – 6’6″ (147 – 198 cm)
Weight Capacity: 300 lbs (136 kg)
In-Use Height: 63”
Assembled Weight: 62 LBS
Warranty: 1-Year Warranty

It has a predetermined slot system that allows you to pick what angle you invert to, from 15 to 85 degrees. The backrest is quite wide and soft, which isn’t necessarily the case for all of the other tables out there. Otherwise, it’s pretty slim on features.

But, it seems to work.

A few things that may make you want to buy this include your desire to have a flatter, more cushioned backrest, an adjustable headrest, and one of the cheapest – but still useful – units on the market.

If that sounds like you, we (along with basically everyone on Amazon) can recommend this.

>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<

#3. IRONMAN Fitness Gravity 4000

The beast of the bunch, the Ironman unit can handle up to 350 pounds. If you’ve been reading this thinking, “man, these wimpy things only handle 300 pounds, what the flip am I going to do?”, this is what you’ve been waiting for.

Otherwise, it is pretty well made in terms of covering the basics. Non slip floor pads, waterproof material on the backrest, wide base, etc.

One thing we did like was it’s really easy to engage the ankle supports and like the Teeter above, you don’t have to bend down to adjust them. If you’ve got a bad back and you have to bend down to adjust them, you’re probably going to be upset.

OK this isn’t directly related to this unit, but can we just agree that companies who make inversion tables are some of the most uninspired brands out there? It’s all about tiny features that partially make them different than their competitors.

Well, they’re all pretty much the same, they shouldn’t do all that much (they’re designed to hang you upside down, don’t screw with it by adding too much stuff), and the brands behind them are so corporate. Between the videos, the horrible websites…it’s hard to not want to just buy the first one you see to stop the pain of going through any more.

HOWEVER, that’s what I’m here for. I’ll give you the run down on a couple more units just in case you have a really specific need (i.e., you’re over 350 pounds…then, get this Ironman one). Then I’ll let you know what I recommend as the best of the best. Alright, let’s carry on.

Vital Stats

Height Capacity: 4’10” – 6’6″ (147 – 198 cm)
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs (159 kg)
In-Use Height: 65”
Assembled Weight: 75 LBS
Warranty: 1-Year Limited Warranty

Since it can handle more weight, it’s heavier than the other units, and wider than the other units.

The Ironman is really your unit if you want a pretty good table that can handle a lot more weight.

>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<

#4. Ironman IFT 4000 Infrared Therapy

Alright, this is quite similar in terms of look and features to the Ironman we talked about just above, but it’s equipped with remote-operated Infrared Therapy to provide a bit of warmth and relief for your back as you use the table.

Vital Stats

Height Capacity: 4’10” – 6’6″ (147 – 198 cm)
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs (159 kg)
In-Use Height: 65”
Assembled Weight: 75 LBS
Warranty: Lifetime frame warranty, 1-Year Limited Warranty on most other parts

As most things are the same on this as the previous unit, it will really come down to whether you’d like the extra heating element to help relieve your back pain.

Some people believe infrared technology helps significantly, with things like infrared saunas taking off in popularity, but it’s another one of those things that definitely feels good but lacks significant studies that absolutely prove it’s the best of the best.

Basically, if you’d buy a car with heated seats, buy this versus the normal Ironman unit above.

>> Click Here To Learn More And See Prices <<

What To Look For

Quality is probably the most important thing you can look for, since you’ll be relying on the table not to drop you as you dangle by your ankles. You think your back hurts now, just wait until your inversion table gives out on you and you come crashing down. No thanks!

Also make sure you’ve got the ceiling height for it. Some of these are higher than others, and many are significantly higher when they’re folded up and out of the way. So if you think it’s going to be close, make sure you measure your ceiling height and make sure it’ll fit.

If bending down is difficult, choose one of the non-bend-over ankle locking mechanisms.

All of the unit we’ve covered here have great reviews, serve a purpose, and could work for you, so it comes down to basically your price sensitivity, how much additional tests mean to you (the Teeter backs up their quality claims), and whether or not you need infrared therapy in your unit.

That leads me to my final recommendations.

Best of Best

If you want the best, go with the Teeter. It’s the best unit for the money, even if it’s not the least expensive.

They go above and beyond in testing their units, they’ve been around for 30+ years, they’ve got a lot of documentation and customer support, and their products clearly work.

Add in a 5 year warranty when everyone else in the biz gives you 1, and it’s really hard to go wrong, even for the added cost.

>> Get The “Best Of The Best” Teeter Inversion Table <<

Best Bang For Buck

The Innova ITX9600 has far fewer frills, but if you’re looking for a good inversion table at the lowest price, the Innova seems like the way to go. 

Not only is it one of the cheapest options, but it’s the best selling option on Amazon, and as noted, almost no one hates it.

The ankle locking mechanism is a little old school, but if you’re not in absolutely debilitating pain, it shouldn’t be too much trouble to make sure it’s set up right.

It handles the same amount of weight as the Teeter and we actually liked the ability to adjust the headrest, so overall it’s a pretty solid piece of equipment.

>> Get The “Best Bang For Your Buck” Innova ITX9600 Inversion Table <<

How To Use An Inversion Table

This will depend on the individual table you buy.

However, you need to start by securing your ankles in the ankle locking mechanism. Ensure it’s tight so that it will actually hold you while you’re inverted, and not drop you.

Most units will have a strap or similar adjustment to make sure you can’t go beyond a certain angle. Unless you are used to doing a full inversion, ensure you have set this strap or dial so that you are not accidentally stuck in a fully inverted position.

Start slowly. Invert only 20 or 30 degrees at first, and do not stay on the table for more than 2 or 3 minutes.

Over the course of a few weeks, you may find that you are becoming used to the inversion and can slowly increase the angle at which you invert.

While inverted, you can simply relax and decompress, or you can do light rotations and lower back arches.

Either use your arms to bring you back to a non-inverted position, or use the handles, depending on the model you have, to pull yourself back up to a non-inverted position.

Based on our recommendation, here are two videos showing how to use the Teeter.

Safety Tips

Like everything you read on the internet, please consult your doctor before doing any of this.

Obviously make sure you have chosen a sturdy model.

Make sure your ankles are locked in securely. If you fully invert without a good lock on the ankles, you could slip out of the ankle hold.

Go slowly in every way you can think of. Time inverted, angle inverted, times inverted per day. Start very slowly and increase only after you are sure you are comfortable. Start with 20-30 degrees inversion for 30 seconds, and then come out of it. Then the next day, add a few seconds or a few degrees. Make sure your body is reacting well to it as you increase the intensity.

Always start with a spotter! Do not attempt to use this alone in case you fully invert by accident and can’t get out of it.

FAQ

How long should I hang?

Start with one or two minutes. The sweet spot seems to be working up over a month or two to three to five minute sessions, though some people hang for ten or fifteen. We think that’s a bit excessive. The rule here should be that you are comfortable while inverting, and if you become uncomfortable, it’s time to stop.

What angle should I use?

This depends on your comfort level, again. With the goal likely pain relief, you have to experiment to see what works with your body. Start a small angle, just barely past horizontal. As with the time of each inversion, you should slowly work up to a deeper angle. Anywhere between 30 and 70 degrees seems to work best, though the more you invert, the more of a decompression sensation you will feel.

Do I need to invert 90 degrees?

It’s not necessary, and companies like Teeter suggest that even just 60 degrees is a perfect angle for relief. However, some people do enjoy the feeling of being completely upside down, and if you can achieve this angle safely and with comfort, you can certainly try it out.

How often should you invert?

Start with one or two times per day. Once in the morning after waking and once before bed is when most people give it a try. Most people find that regular use is the best way to keep pain away. As noted by the doctor referenced above, it doesn’t seem to be a long-term solution to some back pain causes, but can help with the day to day pain. Therefore as long as you’re using it regularly or when you are feeling pain, you should be good.

How long before it works?

Like everything, this depends on your body and why you’re using the table. It could be the first 30 seconds, it could take a few weeks of regular use. The only way to know is to use it regularly and track how you are feeling.

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