Inversion Table Exercises for Back Pain Relief

There are dozens of different exercises you can do using an inversion table. Here are the ones have I found to be the best for treating back pain.

This routine is effective as it provides your lower back muscles with a deep stretch, including mild torso rotation, and also spine decompression.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor, and nor am I trying to be one. I’m simply sharing the exercises that I have found to be the most effective for relieving my own lower back pain. Every situation is different, and I always recommend you check with your doctor, and always listen to your body.

Each exercise has three different levels: Light, Moderate and High. The angle of inversion and the duration of the exercise make it more or less intense. Go slow, and remember that every position produces its own benefits. If this is your first time doing these exercises, carefully read the instructions for each one.

To relax and stretch your body, you need to relax your mind. Stress, worries, the things on your to-do list – thinking about these things will stop you getting a good stretch and getting the most from each exercise.

Instead, focus your mind on the sensations you experience during the exercises. Feel your muscles stretching and relaxing, your spine decompressing, and pain and stress leaving your body. Think about your breathing and also consider listening to relaxing music.

Do your best to empty your mind, and you will get more from each exercise. Only by quieting your mind, can you start can start listening to your body.

5 Exercises for Back Pain Relief

1. Intermittent Inversion

This is a good exercise to warm up. Inverting in different positions allows your body to get used to inversion therapy and to start relaxing your back muscles.

The idea is to go from the horizontal position to a variety of angles. You should move slowly, and spend time in each position. This allows your body to relax as you get used to being inverted, and increases blood circulation.

There are three different levels: Light, Moderate and High. From 0 up to 60 degrees. 3 Positions: 30, 45 and 60. Staying from 1 minute up to 10 minutes in each position, depending on your experience.

inversion table therapy exercises - Intermittent Inversion

Beginners

Start. Stay in the horizontal position for 30 seconds. Relax and try not to think about anything except the exercise you are doing. Feel your body relaxing and your muscles releasing their tension. Let gravity do the rest.

Light. Go slowly and gently to 30 degrees. Move slowly to avoid dizziness. Once you are there, stay for one minute. As before, relax, and feel the blood moving through your veins. Calm your emotions to allow your muscles to relax. Try not to think about anything. Just focus on feeling all the muscles of your back, shoulders and neck relax. After, return very slowly to the horizontal position, and stay there for 30 seconds.

Light Plus. Go to 45 Degrees.  Move slowly, relax, and avoid thinking about anything other than the exercise and the muscles you are stretching. Try to feel every part of your body and avoid any thoughts that will distract you. Stay in this position for one minute. On completion, slowly go back to the horizontal position and stay there for one minute.

If you feel comfortable at 45 Degrees, you can then try 60 degrees.

Moderate. Go very slowly to 60 degrees. Stay there for one minute. Make sure you are comfortable as any discomfort will create unwanted tension, and that will stop you from relaxing and stretching. Picture any muscle tension you can feel as water, and imagine it flowing away. After one minute, slowly return to the horizontal position to allow your spine to realign.

See Also  Inversion Table Exercises for Neck Pain Relief

More experienced users

Slowly go to 30 degrees. Stay here for one minute. Quieting your mind is very important. A busy and stressed mind will not allow your body to relax. Clear your mind, release the tension, and allow the stiffness to go away. After one minute go back to horizontal position.

Slowly go to 45 Degrees. Slowly move to the next position. Stay for one to three  minutes. Clearing your mind of thoughts isn’t easy, and they’ll come creeping back in if you aren’t careful! Keep them away by focusing on the changes in your body. Notice how your muscles and spine stretches and relax, and how the pain goes away too. Picture your tight muscles relaxing and lengthening, and imagine the pain flowing out and away,

Slowly go to 60 Degrees. Stay for one to five minutes. Again, relax your mind to allow your muscles to follow. Emotions like anger, sadness, disgust and fear produce tension, resulting in tight muscles. Quiet your emotions, and let your mind go for a few minutes to provide your brain with some relief, and allowing your body to heal and recover. If you feel comfortable, stay in position for five minutes or more. Once you’re ready, slowly return to the zero degrees, horizontal position.

Finish the exercise in the horizontal position. Stay there for one minute to allow your spine to re-align.

2. Decompression (Light to High)

After the warm up, let’s do a full back decompression. If this is your first time there is no need to worry; there is a light intensity level for you to start with.

This exercise reverses gravity to reduce the pressure on your spine and vertebrae. This will eliminate tension around the vertebrae and also take stress off the intervertebral discs.

These levels are only a guide. Listen to your body, and don’t rush to increase the angle. This is not a race. Enjoy the inversion and feel the benefits.

Light (30-45 degrees): Start at 30 degrees for one to three minutes. When you are comfortable, move to 45 degrees and stay for one to three minutes.

Moderate (45-60 degrees): Start at 45 degrees, and stay for three to five minutes. When comfortable, move to 60 degrees, for three to five minutes.

High (60-90 degrees): Start at 60 degrees for five to ten minutes. I don’t recommend this level for beginners. It’s only here so you can see how, in the future, you can increase the intensity by increasing the angle of inversion and the duration of the exercise.

Start Position: 30, 45, 60 or 90 degrees, depending on the intensity level you’ve picked.

Place both hands around your head or hold the top of the table bed. Feel the complete stretch of your back and torso. Breathe deeply, allowing your muscles to relax, for a more effective lower back stretch.

Relax and Enjoy: The first time you try this exercise, do it for just one minute and then stop. If you feel good, do it for another minute. After that, stop and then do it again later in the day.

Really commit to the exercise. As you feel gravity stretch your muscles and decompress your spine, make sure you breathe slowly and evenly. Clear your mind of distracting thoughts, feeling the tension drain out of your muscles. As the tension goes, peace and tranquility will replace it, and as you relax, you will experience pain relief.

See Also  Inversion Table Exercises for Beginners

This exercise is perfect for those who, like myself, suffer from low back pain.

Decompressing the spine increases the space between vertebra, allowing your discs to rehydrate.

3. Rotation (Light to High)

inversion table therapt - rotation exercise

Rotation – click for full size

This exercise stretches your torso and upper back muscles. It’s perfect for relieving upper back pain.

For beginners, I recommend you start with Light intensity level.

Light (30-45 degrees): Start at 30 degrees for one to three minutes. When you are comfortable, move to 45 degrees and stay for one to three minutes.

Moderate (45-60 degrees): Start at 45 degrees, and stay for three to five minutes. When comfortable, move to 60 degrees, for three to five minutes.

High (60-90 degrees): Start at 60 degrees for five to ten minutes. I don’t recommend this level for beginners. It’s only here so you can see how, in the future, you can increase the intensity by increasing the angle of inversion and the duration of the exercise.

Start Position: 30, 45, 60 or 90 degrees, depending on the intensity level you’ve picked.

Place your left arm across your torso and hold on to the table. Rotate your torso and hips to the same side. Keep the center of your body centered on the bed table. Place the other arm around your head.

Pull with your left arm to stretch and elongate the torso muscles.

Relax and Enjoy:  Start with one minute. As you get more comfortable, increase the intensity level. Continue for up to five minutes.

Once finished, do the same for the other side.

4. Low Back Stretch (Light – High)

Low-Back-Stretch inversion table exercise

Low Back Stretch

This exercise is perfect for relieving lower back pain. By stretching the lower back muscles, the muscles will relax which reduces both tension and pain.

I do this exercise at least three-times week to manage my back pain. It’s very effective, and I’m sure it will work well for you too.

Pick your intensity level. Beginners should start with the light level.

Light (30-45 degrees): Start at 30 degrees for one to three minutes. When you are comfortable, move to 45 degrees and stay for one to three minutes.

Moderate (45-60 degrees): Start at 45 degrees, and stay for three to five minutes. When comfortable, move to 60 degrees, for three to five minutes.

High (60-90 degrees): Start at 60 degrees for five to ten minutes. I don’t recommend this level for beginners. It’s only here so you can see how, in the future, you can increase the intensity by increasing the angle of inversion and the duration of the exercise.

Start Position: 30, 45, 60 or 90 degrees, depending on the intensity level you’ve picked.

Place your right arm overhead and your left hand on the left handle.

With your left hand, push away. While pushing, rotate your hips to the right.

Feel a complete stretch in your lower left back muscles.

Relax and Enjoy: Stay in that position for one to five minutes, depending on how comfortable you are, and which level are you up to.

Focus on clearing your mind of invading, distracting thoughts. Forget about to do lists, your job, relationships, and everything else. Instead, focus on what you can feel during the exercise. Try to feel every part of your body, locating tension and pain and feeling it melt away. If you get distracted, refocus your mind on your body, from the tips of your toes to your hair.

Your body follows your mind. A stressed and agitated mind will produce tense and stiff muscles as a defense reaction. Quiet your thoughts, let go of anger and frustration, and your body will relax and follow.

See Also  Inversion Table Routines & Exercises

Once you have finished, change arms and repeat on the other side.

Place your left arm overhead, and your right hand on the right outside handle of the table.

With your right hand, start pushing and, at the same time, rotate your hips to the left.

Relax your back muscles, and feel all the right lower back muscles being stretched.

Stay in this position relaxed for one to five minutes, depending on which level you have chosen.

5. Overhead Stretch (Light – Moderate)

Overhead Stretch inversion table exercises

Overhead Stretch

The last exercise of this routine is a complete back stretch!

Light

For your first time, go Light. Start with 30 degrees for one to three minutes.

When you feel comfortable, go to 45 degrees for three to five minutes for a more intense stretch.

Use your left arm to reach straight overhead and stretch.

Stretch for one to three minutes with one arm, and then change sides.

Breathe normally, making sure you feel comfortable on the table. Feel the stretch and your muscles relaxing.

Quiet your mind by focusing on the sensations produced by the stretch. Notice how the stretch changes your body, and how it feels.

Moderate

When comfortable at 45 degrees, go to the 60-degree position,

Stretch for three to seven minutes with one arm, and then change.

High

Go to full inversion at 90 degrees. Stay for up to five minutes each side.

Setting up your inversion table

Before you start, make sure you adjust the height of your inversion table, and make sure you also adjust the ankle locking system. Check that you also know how to fold your table away when you are finished, if necessary. I cover all this in my article How to Setup Your Inversion Table.

Are these exercises suitable for beginners?

All of these exercises are divided into three intensity levels: Light, Moderate and High. If it’s your first time, start with Light, and slowly increase the next intensity level when you feel you are ready.

Always remember to listen to your body, and don’t push beyond your limits.

Patience and regular practice are the keys to healing and recovery.

When do you do this routine?

I usually do sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I do two sessions per day, one before lunch, and another one before dinner. If I have a lot of work to do at the weekend, I try to do an extra session to prevent the back pain caused by sitting for long periods.

Are these exercises effective for back pain relief?

From my personal experience, yes.

Three days per week, two sessions per day, to total six sessions per week.

This routine has meant that my back pain has almost disappeared. I say almost because I often have to work very long hours at my desk, and those  14-hour days are hard on my back. That’s why I have started to work standing up, but I will leave that for another article, hopefully, to be published soon.

Which Inversion Table do you use?

I’ve used several different brands and models. Today, I use The Teeter. You can find the specific model I use and why I bought it in my article My Favorite Inversion Tables here. Besides the one I use, in that article, I also review and recommend two other high-quality and good value inversion tables.

Pictures Credit: The Teeter.

More Inversion Table Exercises and Routines

Specific routines for sciatica and neck pain. Also a routine for beginners. All organized here.

Inversion table exercises and routines post

Find the exercises here

This is the inversion exercises routine I do 3 times a week to help treat and relief my back pain.

About Author

Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m so happy that you’re here! I've shared my story here

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