Inversion Table for Neck Pain with Exercises

Introduction

While it’s quite normal to feel neck pains from time to time, especially when you get older, it’s quite uncomfortable and may disrupt your daily routine.

For instance, if you get a stiff neck when you wake up, you won’t be able to turn your head comfortably. This can hinder you from doing things like you normally do like mopping the floor or washing the car.

Inversion Table for Neck Pain

Most people would go for a massage or would apply some oil on the neck area to get rid of the pain.

However, one of the more effective methods of relieving neck aches is through the use of an inversion table for neck pain.

Common Causes of Neck Pain

You might probably be asking yourself right now what an inversion table for neck pain is and how it works.

In order to understand that, we must first understand how neck pains are formed.

Your neck is one of the strongest parts of your body and does a pretty tough job holding your head.

Such a thin structure is responsible for holding about 11 pounds on its top end.

That said, the neck definitely works very hard. This is why it’s not uncommon that the neck experiences strain from time to time, especially if it is not in a comfortable position for too long.

Bad posture happens to be one of the most common causes of neck pains and is experienced by people who like to slouch a lot when sitting.

Aside from bad posture, uncomfortable sleep also plays a factor in neck pain. If your pillow is too soft, too hard, or just simply uncomfortable, you might wake up with a stiff neck or with shoulder pains.

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This happens because you put some strain on your neck when it is supposed to be at rest. Due to this, the muscles get stretched or cramped too far.

Those who are stressed all the time may also experience neck pains often.

Whenever you get stressed out, let’s say, because of a problem at work, your neck muscles tend to harden and tighten up, causing strain. This strain causes your neck to hurt because it is in an uncomfortable situation.

Other common causes of neck pains include sports-related neck aches (like overwork or muscle twists) and carrying heavy shoulder bags for a long period of time.

Since the shoulder and the neck are closely connected, putting weight on the shoulder may also indirectly affect the neck.

What is an Inversion Table for Neck Pain?

Now that we got that out of the way, what exactly is an inversion table for neck pain anyway?

Inversion tables are special devices that are used for inversion therapy. If this is your first time hearing about inversion therapy,

Let me explain:

Inversion therapy is a type of back therapy that puts traction on the spine by hanging you upside down or tilting you at an angle.

As we all know, the spine and the neck are connected to each other, so one of the ways to treat the neck is to treat the back.

Inversion therapy makes use of gravity to force the vertebrae to straighten out. When you are tilted, the spinal discs spread out, straightening your back.

Also, the spinal fluid is more equally distributed in the other parts of your spine, making your spine feel more comfortable.

Of course, the spinal discs on your neck area are also spread out and straightened, relaxing your neck in the process.

The gravity also helps loosen up the muscles on the neck area to relieve the strain.

With that said, an inversion table is a table where you can lie down and tilt at an angle. 

The inversion table allows you to lie down in a straight position wherein you can turn upside down or in any angle you want.

With proper instructions, you can use this table to do inversion therapy in the comfort of your own home.

How Does an Inversion Table Work?

Most of the inversion tables that you can find in the market are made out of 4 main components:

  • 1
    The frame: The frame is what holds the table in place and consists of two safety handles. You will hold on to those two safety handles so that you don’t fall out. 
  • 2
    The backrest: Next, the backrest is where you lie down. Most are made out of very soft foam, making them very comfortable.
  • 3
    The ankle rest: The ankle rests, on the other hand, are where you place your ankles so that your feet aren’t hanging.
  • 4
    The angle adjuster: Finally, there’s the angle adjuster which allows you to control what angle you want to be in. For example, if you can’t take going upside down, you can try out a 90-degree vertical position first by setting the adjuster to that angle.

When you lie down, you’ll simply be reclining yourself in the angle that you choose. The handles will allow you to tilt yourself however way that you want. This allows you to start your inversion therapy.

Using Inversion Table for Neck Pain

Now, inversion tables are usually used for back pain, so most of the inversion therapy exercises are targeted to the back.

If you want to target the neck, you have to tweak your exercises a bit to suit neck aches. 

We’ll mention the specific exercises for neck pains later, but now we’ll just provide a short overview of how this device is used for neck pains.

The focus will be on trying to loosen up the neck muscles. While the whole back is affected by inversion therapy, try to feel the loosening of your neck instead of focusing on your entire back.

When you first tilt yourself, you’ll want to go slow so that you can steadily feel the difference in your neck.

As you tilt lower and lower, you’ll feel your neck start to hang a bit. This will loosen it, making you feel less strained in that area.

Does Inversion Table Help for Neck Pain?

While most clinics will tell you that there is no sufficient evidence to prove that this type of contraption works, many people swear by its effectiveness with neck problems.

There have also been a few studies that aim to prove the effectiveness of the treatment.

Among the studies, two very notable ones are the Dimberg/Volvo case study and the Sheffield case.

According to the Dimberg and Volvo study, a group of 116 people who were exposed to inversion therapy, reduced the number of sick days (due to back problems) by 33%. This meant that there was quite a good chance that inversion therapy is actually a good alternative to most other treatments for back pain.

Another study is the famous Sheffield study, which was done after the previously mentioned one. This one, on the other hand, studies 175 people who complained of back pain and couldn’t go to work. Through eight full treatments of inversion therapy, 155 out of 175 patients were able to resume their normal activities. This showed that inversion therapy had a success rate of almost 90% for this group of people.

While we can argue that medical science can’t prove the effectiveness of the treatment, we also can’t deny the number of patients who were able to really benefit from it.

First of all, if you would look at the reviews of most inversion table brands, you’d see a lot of positive responses from actual customers.

This in turn already tells us that people are generally quite responsive to this type of therapy.

Let’s also not forget the studies that show its effectiveness too.

The two studies I mentioned above are only a small number of the other experiments and studies made for inversion therapy. 

While these studies aren’t complete with full and hard clinical data, to a certain extent they were able to show just how helpful inversion therapy can be for people.

So the quick answer to whether or not this table works would be yes. While it is not a permanent solution to neck pains (especially for those who have existing conditions prompting chronic neck pains), it is a great pain reliever.

Exercises for Inversion Table for Neck Pain

So once you’ve already purchased your inversion table for neck pain,

How do you use it to cure that splitting neck ache? 

Well, the great thing about inversion tables is that you can do a lot of stretches while you’re upside down-- most of which target the neck area.

We’ll provide some inversion table exercises that help ease your neck pain.

Warm Up: Let’s start with something light such as a warm-up. Just like regular exercises, you need to warm up so you can get your body ready for more movements. When you do inversion therapy, one of the most important things to do is relax.

First, lie down and try to just relax. Stretch your arms over your head slightly while lying down and put them back. Do that a few times until you feel ready for some more movement.

Beginner Exercises: Once you’ve had a slight warm-up, it’s now time to start with the exercises. Now, if you’re a beginner, it’s essential that you start off slow.

Don’t surprise your body by going on full angles. 

So from a horizontal lying position, tilt slowly to 30 degrees horizontal and hold the position for one minute. Try to feel the subtle movements of your neck as you tilt.

After one minute, return to the normal angle and hold that for another minute. After that, tilt again but this time to 45 degrees. 

You’ll continue to feel a bit of blood rushing to your head and your head hanging a bit. Make sure you are very relaxed while doing this.

You’ll notice that previous tension in the neck will leave the body, making you more relaxed.

If you can hold that position for 3 minutes, but if you can’t another one minute will do until you can increase. Repeat that for about 3 times per day.
As you progress, try to increase the angle at which you tilt down to. The goal is to be able to do a full inversion of 90 degrees.

Neck Twists: This next exercise is pretty much like the previous one but with a little twist to it-- literally.

Start off in the same position and tilt yourself to 30 degrees for one minute.

While tilting, put your right hand on your left ear and twist your head to the right. You’ll be feeling the tension of your neck loosening.

After a minute, return to the normal position and hold another minute. After that, go down again and repeat with the other side.

If you can hold the angle for about 5 minutes, do so. However, you can slowly work your way to five minutes so you won’t surprise your neck. Also, try to do this exercise until you can reach 90 degrees.

Side Stretch: This is another variation that works more on the shoulders than the neck but will get you ready for the next and fourth exercise.

To do this, tilt to 30 degrees once again. This time, do a side arch stretch going to the right side for 1 minute (3 to 5 if you can).

After that, go back up for one minute, then go down again.

Hold in 30 degrees and stretch to the left this time for a minute (3 to 5 if you can). Again, the goal is to be able to tilt to 90 degrees.

Full Body Stretch: The side stretch was a sort of preparation for this last exercise which is the full body stretch.

To do this exercise, start off again in a horizontal position and tilt to 30 degrees.

Hold the position and then raise one hand (either left or right). Try to stretch out your hand as far as possible. This will help align your back as a whole and also relax your neck.

Hold that for one minute then go back to the horizontal position.

After a minute, tilt to 30 degrees again and stretch the other hand. Once again, try to be able to tilt to 90 degrees gradually.

Now, when it comes to complete effectiveness, consistency is key. You can do your inversion therapy every weekend if you don’t have the time on weekdays.

Always remember to start gradually. 

The two aspects that you want to slowly work on is angle and direction. Always remember that you have to feel comfortable while doing this therapy. If you feel even the slightest bit of discomfort, reduce the angle.

Also, it helps if there is someone there with you while you do your exercises. You can get a family member or a friend to become your “spotter” just in case something happens.

Your “spotter” will also determine whether you’re tilting too much or tilting too little. Having a spotter is very much recommended for beginners or novices who have been doing this therapy for only a short period of time.

Conclusion

Inversion tables are very good for those who often complain about painful necks

These tables, coupled with the right type of inversion therapy exercises, will not only help relieve your neck aches but will also help you be able to relax your body as a whole.

If your body is consistently at comfort, you’ll notice that you won’t be so prone to getting those annoying neck pains anymore.

All it really takes is a little bit of consistency and a lot of practice.

Just like exercises, you have to gradually upgrade your “workout” if you want it to become more effective in the long run.

The target of your therapy is to always strive to do a perfect inversion of 90 degrees. This is the optimal angle at which your back and neck can totally align itself. 

Reference

https://patient.info/health/neck-pain
https://www.painscience.com/articles/when-to-worry-about-neck-pain-and-when-not-to.php
https://www.self.com/gallery/stretches-relieve-sore-neck-sitting-all-day
http://www.fulkchiropractic.com/5-movements-that-stop-neck-pain-fast-stiff-neck-treatment/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664516/
http://aim.bmj.com/content/acupmed/22/3/146.full.pdf
http://www.chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Chronic_Neck_Pain.shtml
https://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(12)00779-1/abstract
https://www.curejoy.com/content/home-remedies-for-neck-pain/
https://www.prevention.com/health/a20440645/quick-massage-for-neck-pain-relief/

Thomas J. Hazen
 

I am Thomas J. Hazen founder of the Elite Healthy. I have completed Master of Public Healthy. Retired Physician. Professional blogger for more than 5+ years. Mainly writing about Inversion therapy, Back pain, neck etc.

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