Did you know that, centuries ago, Hippocrates (yes, the Father of Medicine himself) used to hang his patients upside down on a ladder? This wasn’t simply a form of comic relief … it was done to help decompress his patients’ spines.
Think about it. Every day, whether you’re standing or sitting, the force of gravity is pulling down on your spine, compressing the discs in your back, taxing your ligaments and putting pressure on your nerves.
Over time, this can lead to back pain, stiff shoulders and neck and spine-related conditions like spondylosis and pinched nerves. The problem is incredibly widespread, as evidenced by the incredible number of Americans suffering with chronic back pain. Yet, the solution is remarkably simple …
Decompress Your Spine!
When you decompress your spine you increase the space between your vertebrae, relaxing the pressure on your discs, ligaments and nerve roots. Increasing intra-vertebral space means reducing pressure on the nerve roots, which means less back pain and less likelihood of nerve root damage. When you oscillate up and down while in a decompression position, it creates a pumping action for the fluids around your spinal discs. This forces waste out and draws in fluid around your discs.
Other benefits include:
- Relaxing muscles and increasing blood flow
- Helping to realign your spine when used in the long term
- Improved circulation, flexibility and mobility
- Better posture – which is key to healing and preventing more back problems in the future
Inversion Therapy works for back pain:
- A study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that inverted positioning for short periods significantly increased spinal length and reduced EMG activity (indicating the amount of muscle pain in participants) by 35% – in as little as just 10 seconds after becoming inverted.[i] This study was done over 30 years ago, but many are still missing out on these pain-relieving benefits!
- A study of 175 people who were experiencing back pain bad enough that they were unable to work found that after just 8 inversion treatments, nearly 89% were able to return to their jobs full-time. Improvements in a variety of conditions, including spondylolisthesis, herniated discs, lumbar osteoarthritis with sciatica and others, were reported.[ii]
- A 1985 study on the effects of gravity-facilitated traction (inversion) found the therapy produces significant intravertebral separation in lumbar spine. Researchers concluded, “If increases in intervertebral dimensions play a role in the relief of low back syndrome, then gravity-facilitated traction may be an effective modality in the treatment of this condition.”[iii]
- Preliminary research from New Castle University found that patients who were told they needed sciatic operations who performed inversion therapy were 70.5% less likely to require back surgery.[iv]
One of the most popular methods for spinal decompression is an inversion table, which essentially allows you to hang upside down (or nearly upside down). And for some people, this method is great. However, not everyone is comfortable when in an extreme inverted position. In particular, it can in some cases lead to, or exacerbate, joint pain. If you want the benefits of inversion for spinal decompression without actually inverting, there is another wonderful option …
Back Ease: Decompress Your Spine With No Inversion or Kneeling
If you struggle with joint pain, Back Ease is the solution for spinal decompression that will not stress or hurt your joints; it’s like inversion therapy without going upside down. Instead of turning you upside down, the Back Ease — Spinal Decompression System lets you comfortably decompress your spine by simply leaning into the device.
It really couldn’t be any simpler …
- Step forward until the belt fits comfortably against your waist.
- Raise the two handles to bring the pad up to your chest and rest the back of your arms on the arm pads.
- Relax forward into a gentle stretch. Hold for 2 or 3 minutes then rest and repeat.
As you lean forward in the Back Ease (there’s no kneeling required, either), it decompresses and stretches your spine, creating a separation in your vertebrae, relieving pressure on your spinal discs and nerves. The separation allows nutrient-rich fluid to circulate within the vertebrae (which your body then uses to heal itself) and allows your discs to “re-absorb” the water gravity is sucking out of them. The result is short-term (sometimes instantaneous) pain relief coupled with long-term maintenance and healing.
The Back Ease is a device I personally recommend everyone use (even those without back pain) due to its amazing ability help improve and maintain mobility, correct alignment from your shoulders down through your spine to your hip as well as heal and strengthen your spine over the long term.
[iv] Newcastle General Hospital, Inversion Therapy in Patients with Pure Single Level Discogenic Disease: a pilot randomized trial