Inverted positions, where you hang upside-down or lean against a wall, can have many overall health benefits.
However, getting into these positions can be tricky, which is where an inversion table comes into play.
These tables feature cushioned surfaces and straps that hold you in place so you can spend a few minutes suspended nearly vertically, with your head toward the floor.
However, if you’re overweight, you may want to double-check if there are any weight limits before purchasing or using an inversion table.
What are the benefits of an inversion table?
When you hang or lean upside-down, the movement can help to stretch your spine, allowing more spinal fluid to flow between the spinal discs.
Hanging upside-down can also help to increase blood flow in your back, particularly to the muscles around your spine.
Many people also believe this position can help to reduce inflammation and remove waste or buildup from around the spine.
Using an inversion table can often help to reduce back pain or fatigue, particularly in people with chronic pain.
The inverted position helps to relieve pressure on your spine, which makes you feel better while increasing flexibility and back strength.
Inversion can also help to reduce the risk of back issues, such as a collapsed vertebra.
Do inversion tables have a weight limit?
Most inversion tables have a weight limit of about 300 pounds. However, it’s important to check the specifications for any inversion table before you use it.
Some tables are only designed to hold a maximum of 200 pounds. Other tables are sturdier and can hold up to 600 pounds.
The table’s weight limit depends on the construction of the frame, but it’s also impacted by the type of straps and how strong they are.
How far you intend to tilt backward can also affect the weight limit.
Almost all inversion tables are made to be used by people between 4 feet 3 inches and 7 feet tall.
Can inversion therapy be dangerous if you’re overweight?
Although tipping backward and hanging nearly upside-down may seem like a simple, safe way to relieve back pain and increase spinal strength and flexibility, inversion therapy does have some risks.
Because it sends blood flowing back to your heart and head, this type of therapy can be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or anyone who is at risk for a stroke or heart attack.
People who are overweight are generally more prone to all of these conditions, which means that the risks relating to inversion therapy are higher for them.
If you have bone or joint disorders, particularly spinal issues, inversion therapy can aggravate these issues.
People who are overweight often have joint issues, particularly in their ankles, knees, and hips, and the way an inversion table uses your legs to hold you nearly vertically can increase these problems.
In general, inversion tables are not recommended for people who are obese. However, each person’s situation is different, so it’s a good idea to talk with a doctor before using an inversion table.
You should also start inversion therapy slowly, using a table for only one to three minutes before increasing how much time you spend on the table.
If you feel dizzy or your muscles feel strained, reduce how long you spend using the table.
Are there alternatives to inversion tables?
Although inversion tables are an easy way to practice inversion therapy, they can be expensive, and they can sometimes pose a health risk, especially if you’re overweight.
Yoga is an excellent alternative to inversion therapy. In yoga, inverted positions such as the plow or the shoulder stand can offer many of the same benefits as an inversion table.
These positions increase blood flow and stretch your spine, increasing strength and flexibility.
Because you use your own body, gravity, or a wall to hold you up, yoga is also much easier on your joints.
You can also perform each movement to your comfort level, which can help you work up to longer or more challenging inverted poses.
For people who don’t feel comfortable using an inversion table, inversion chairs are also available. These devices work similarly to inversion tables but allow you to sit, which can decrease pressure on your joints.