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Inversion tables are devices that raise your feet above your head, altering the effect gravity has on your back. When sitting or standing, gravity causes the joints and discs of your spine to compress. Inversion therapy relieves this compression, which may reduce back pain.

Several small studies, including one from 2012 and another from 2013, suggest that inversion therapy may reduce the need for back surgery. It may also provide temporary pain relief from the following:

Online reviews suggest that using an inversion table provides noticeable pain relief and relaxation.

When and why not to use inversion therapy

This treatment may not be right for everyone, including pregnant people. Inversion tables are not meant for use by children.

Inversion therapy slows down the heart rate and increases blood pressure. It also increases pressure within the eyes.

In addition, it may worsen the following conditions:

When using an inversion table, safety is a top priority. With that in mind, we only included tables that come from trusted, reliable manufacturers and retailers.

We looked for risk-free return policies and manufacturer’s warranties.

We also checked out the reputation of each manufacturer on sites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot. We did our best to ensure that the products we list below don’t have a track record of poor customer service or injuries.

Best for beginners

Innova ITX9800 Inversion Table

Price: $

This table comes equipped with shoulder and waist straps that provide users with extra safety and comfort while in an inverted position. It also has an ergonomic ankle holding system. The headrest is padded and oversized for added comfort.

This table has a six-position adjustable pin system, making it easier for you to find your center of gravity.

Since it can’t be locked in an upward tilt, this table isn’t a good choice for certain inversion table exercises, including situps.

It comes with a manufacturer’s 1-year warranty.

Health Gear ITM5500 Advanced Technology Inversion Table

Price: $

This padded inversion table comes with a removable heat and vibrating massage pad. It features four inversion levels and a side inversion pin system. It also locks in place so that you can do inversion table exercises, including situps, safely.

Built-in transport wheels make it easy to move from one location to the next.

It comes with a manufacturer’s 30-day warranty.

Teeter Fitspine LX9 Inversion Table

Price: $$$

This inversion table is registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a 510(k) medical device, which demonstrates a product’s safety and effectiveness.

It’s made from high-gauge, heat-treated steel for durability and long-term safety.

It arrives at your door 85 percent assembled, which may make setup easier.

Several accessories are included with purchase, including:

  • a storage caddy
  • lumbar bridge
  • a head pillow with acupressure nodes

Online reviews mention that this table is very plush and a good choice for inversion table exercises.

The Teeter Move App provides coaching and instruction on how to use the table. There’s also an online video library you can use.

The table comes with a manufacturer’s 5-year warranty.

On the Better Business Bureau website, Teeter has a small number of filed complaints about customer service.

Best for people with more weight

Ironman Gravity Highest Weight Capacity Inversion Table

Price: $$–$$$

This inversion table can accommodate people up to 350 pounds.

The ankle holders use air pockets to comfortably cradle each ankle without pinching.

The ankle holders and equipment mat are optional accessories that will increase the price of the table to over $250. According to some online reviews, these accessories provide significant added comfort and stability, making them worth the extra expense.

The table comes with a removable lumbar pillow for extra back support.

The safety handles are extra long, making it easier to return to an upright position after inverting.

Nonskid floor stabilizers add safety by preventing accidental movement during inversion.

Best for budget

Body Vision IT9550 Deluxe Inversion Table

Price: $

If you’re looking for a smaller, less expensive inversion table, this model may be a good fit for you.

It’s budget friendly and designed for people weighing up to 250 pounds.

This table has a space-saving design. It’s smaller in size and more lightweight than some other inversion tables.

It has a four-position rear adjustment bar for 20, 40, 60, and 90-degree inversion angles, and an easy-to-use height selector rod.

It features a removable headrest pillow and lumbar support pad, as well as foam leg rollers to eliminate calf pinching.

Online reviews mention easy assembly that takes about an hour from start to finish.

You may be tempted to nab a used inversion table at a garage sale, but this may not be the safest option. If possible, gauge the table’s history. A used device may not be as sturdy or as safe as you’d like.

Inversion tables can be pricey, but buying a used one won’t be a bargain if it falls apart, especially while you’re on it. If you’re buying a used table, make sure all the parts and instruction manual are included.

Most inversion tables accommodate people weighing 300 pounds or less, though their height ranges vary somewhat. Be sure to check if your height is within the table’s range. The typical table height ranges between 5 feet, 1 inch to 6 feet, 6 inches.

Features to look for include:

  • sturdiness
  • ergonomic, comfortable ankle support
  • number of inversion angles
  • head and backrest padding and thickness
  • strength and stability of the inverting mechanism
  • shoulder or waist straps
  • type and number of handgrips
  • extras, like heating and vibrating massage pads

Inversion tables are large and heavy, often weighing 60 pounds or more. If you plan to store your table between uses, look for one that folds and comes with wheels for easy storage, positioning, and transport.

Be sure to purchase from a trusted retailer that provides information about the manufacturer’s warranty and shipping costs or returns.

If you’re seeing a healthcare professional for back pain, ask them how often you should use an inversion table. Some users say they get optimum relief from two to five daily sessions that last for 1 to 5 minutes each.

Also ask about the right inversion angle for your needs. Starting at a mild incline is a good idea while you acclimate. Ultimately, you want to invert enough so that your heart is over your head.

Work up to the inversion angle that gives you the most relief. Starting at full inversion can cause dizziness if you’re not used to it. Some users mention feeling motion sick if they invert too quickly.

It’s also a good idea to have someone watch you while you’re using the table, especially at first.

Always strap or buckle yourself in.

Don’t use your inversion table for exercising until you’ve gotten used to it and trust your safety on it.

Inversion tables can be used to reduce or eliminate back pain. Several small studies, including one from 2012 and another from 2013, indicate that these tables have benefits for conditions such as sciatica and slipped discs.

When using an inversion table, take it slow and listen to how your body feels that day.

If you have glaucoma, GERD, high blood pressure, or arthritis, you may want to avoid inversion tables.

Corey Whelan is a freelance writer and reproductive health professional who specializes in health and wellness content. She has spent much of the last two decades educating people about infertility and family building options. Whelan is a science nerd, and her heroes span the gamut from Temple Grandin to her wonderful mom. She shares her life in Brooklyn, NY with her all-grown-up, fascinating children and their wacky shelter dogs. Follow her on Twitter.