Temporary lengthening of the spine and alleviation of pressure are two benefits of using inversion therapy for back pain, according to SpineUniverse. Other benefits include stretching muscles and ligaments, reduction in muscle spasms, better blood circulation and improved flow of lymphatic fluids that rid the body of wastes.
The theory behind inversion therapy involves using gravity to increase the space between vertebrae to alleviate back pain, explains Mayo Clinic. While this therapy provides temporary relief for some, reliable studies indicate inversion therapy does not offer relief over the long-term.
Inversion therapy is risky in some cases, warns Mayo Clinic. Spending long periods of time in a head-down position is problematic for people with glaucoma, high blood pressure and heart disease. After several minutes in an inverted position, blood pressure rises and the heartbeat slows. In addition, there is a significant increase in pressure within the eyeballs when people assume this position.
Use of inversion therapy may also be contraindicated for those who have implanted devices, bone fractures, spinal injuries or osteoporosis, as well as women who are pregnant and people with a hernia, detached retina or middle ear or eye infection, notes SpineUniverse. It is best to consult with a doctor before using inversion therapy to alleviate back pain.