Do Inversion Tables Work? 8 Studies Say Yes!

Do Inversion Tables Work?

We understand why many people are still sceptical about the positive benefits of inversion tables. We completely understand. In today’s plunging economy, we want to squeeze out every penny’s worth. After all, it is our hard-earned money.

And if you’re thinking about buying an inversion table but wants concrete proof of its effectiveness, here are 8 studies conducted by different doctors and researchers. These reports will finally answer your question “Do inversion tables work?” once and for all!

1. Effects of Gravity-facilitated Traction of the Lumbar Spine in Persons with Chronic Low Back Pain at the Workplace

This study was conducted to assess the impact of inversion tables on the number of absences of employees due to lower back pain.

In this experiment, 116 employees whose average age is 44 years old (77% of which are men) were separated into three groups. Two groups were instructed to use inversion tables at varying frequencies while the remaining group served as the control variable. The study lasted for 12 months.


Dimberg and his colleagues found out that employees on groups 1 and 2 decreased their absences due to LBP by 33% or around 8 days for each individual. The team concluded that “inversion is an efficient and cheap way to improve employee health and possibly reduce sick day costs to the employer”.

Do inversion tables work? According to Dimberg’, the answer is a resounding yes!

2. The Effects of Oscillating Inversion on Systemic Blood Pressure, Pulse, Intraocular Pressure, and Central Retinal Arterial Pressure

This study was conducted by Goldman. It found out that full inversion using the oscillation technique is not harmful to overall healthy people. However, it is still best to ask your doctor if you can use an inversion table.

3. Intravital Dynamic Pressure Measurements in Lumbar Discs

Body Champ 2

This one is quite dated (the research was published in 1970) but still one of the revered studies on inversion therapy.

Nachemson and Alf’s experiment answered the question “do inversion tables work?” by measuring the internal disc pressure in the 3rd lumbar disc as it experiences different activities (standing, vertical, inverted, and sitting traction). The study found out that a traction load of just 60% of the body weight is enough to remove at the forces of gravity on the backbone. In simple terms, this means inverting for at least 60 degrees is sufficient to decompress the spine.

4. Effects of Gravity-facilitated Traction on Intravertebral Dimensions of the Lumbar Spine

This study was conducted by Kane (not the pro-wrestler) and was published on the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy.

The study basically found out that inversion (or “gravity-facilitated traction” as the study calls it) is effective in separating the discs in the lumbar spine. The study also discovered that “intervertebral separation”, a.k.a spinal decompression is an effective technique for relieving lower back pains.

5. Inverted Spinal Traction

In this research done by Nosse, the correlation between EMG (muscle pain indicator) and spinal decompression was observed. The study found out that EMG activity decreased by as much as 35% just after 10 seconds of inversion – that’s fast! And because it is a known fact that inversion decompresses the spine, the experiment concluded that there is an inverse relationship between EMG activity and spinal length – as spinal length increases, EMG activity declines.

6. Inversion Devices: Their Role in Producing Lumbar Distraction

This study was performed by Gianakopoulos (what a mouthful of a name!). It found out that “gravity-facilitated traction” with the help of inversion tables really decompresses the spine especially the lower lumbar area.

7. Adaptation of Tilt Table for Lumbar Traction

Dr. Sheffield was one of the pioneers of the inversion tables we know and love today. During his time, he used weights and pulleys in his inversion therapy sessions but soon realized that inverted or gravity-assisted traction is actually better (and cooler) than mechanical traction.

In his study, he used 175 patients that were unable to work due to various back illnesses such as herniated discs and sciatica. After the patients were given 8 inversion treatments, 155 of them went back to their jobs – full time. The study finally concluded that the stretching of the vertebra as well as the ligaments and muscles on the back were the main reason for the drastic improvement of the patients’ diagnoses.

Do inversion tables work? Yes, claims 155 happy patients.

8. The Effects of Inversion Traction on Spinal Column Configuration, Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, and Perceived Discomfort

Quite simply, Ballantyne and Byron’s work further proved that inversion is an efficient and effective method of decompressing the spine.

Convinced Yet?

Do inversion tables work? According to the 8 studies above, the answer is quite clear – YES, inversion tables work!

Of course you’ll still find web articles or forum testimonials saying that inversion tables are just a waste of money. However, we here on Mission Inversion believe hating or loving this inversion equipment is just a matter of personal preference – some people may feel the positive effects while some people may not. What’s more, inversion tables have their limits too – some back issues are just too much for a home remedy machine to handle.

So, before you go to Amazon and purchase your backbone’s new best friend, hold your horses and try one at your doctor or chiro’s clinic. But rest assured that they do work…and they do work.