Harvard Women's Health Watch

By the way, doctor: Do inversion tables work?

Q. What do you think about using inversion tables to relieve back pain?

A. Inversion tables are one type of "inversion therapy," which involves adopting an upside-down posture to reverse the effects of gravity on the spine. The head is tilted downward on a table, allegedly to relieve pressure on the discs and nerve roots in the spine and increase the space between vertebrae. Proponents claim that inversion table therapy not only relieves back pain but also improves posture, preserves height, increases flexibility, stimulates blood flow to the brain and scalp, corrects the position of abdominal organs, and relieves varicose veins. None of these assertions has any scientific basis.

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