Inversion Table Exercises for Neck Pain Relief

Neck pain is usually a consequence of tension in and around the neck and upper back muscles. This tension could be due to long periods spent in the same position or bad posture e.g. working at your computer, driving, etc.

Inversion therapy can help to decompress your neck and upper spine, releasing the tension accumulated in these muscles.

These exercises will give you instant pain relief. I also recommend that you combine these exercises with this other 5-minute stretching routine.

In addition to these exercises, stretching, and inversion table therapy, I also recommend you check out my complete article about neck pain to find other natural ways alleviate this all-too common problem.

5 Exercises to Relieve Neck Pain

1. Intermittent Inversion

intermitten inversionLet’s start with a warm-up. Balancing on your inversion table will allow your spine to decompress and increase blood circulation.

Although this exercise is not specifically designed for neck pain, it helps to get your body and mind ready before we start to specifically work on the muscles where you feel all that pain and tension.

Inversion therapy works by reversing the effect of gravity on your spine and stretching and relaxing your muscles. It helps to release the pressure on the discs of your spine, hydrating them and increasing your blood circulation.

But, a very important aspect of inversion therapy is relaxing your mind. An agitated mind leads to hard and tensed muscles, which is your body’s response to stress.

While doing this and the following exercises, always try to calm your feelings and emotions. Focus on the effect of the exercises and how your body changes. If you wish, put some relaxing music on and focus on that.

Try to empty your mind of all distracting thoughts, including any tasks you have on your to do list. Empty your mind of all thoughts of work and relationships, and just focus on the sensation of the exercise you are performing. Remember; a relaxed mind leads to a relaxed body and less pain.

Beginners

Starting at a horizontal position, move slowly to 30 degrees. Stay there for one minute. Focus on the feelings and sensations produced by the exercise. Do you feel different? Do you feel better? Has the pain in your neck begun to subside? Focus on these small changes and avoid thinking about anything else.

Return slowly to starting horizontal position. Stay here for one minute. Feel the difference after coming from slight inversion to horizontal position.

From zero degrees, horizontal position, move slowly to 45 degrees.  Stay here for one minute. Again, relax your mind, calm your emotions, and focus on your body. Notice how your body is changing, and the effects of the inversion on your body.

Notice how your body relaxes, and your thoughts start to quiet, leaving you free from tension and at peace. Focus on the tension in your neck and the pain produced by it. Now imagine that tension melting away and flowing out of your body. As the tension subsides, so too will the pain. If you feel comfortable, stay here for longer than one minute, and up to three minutes.

See Also  Does Inversion Therapy Really Work?

After, move very slowly back to the horizontal position. Stay here for one minute. Notice how different you feel from the inverted position to the horizontal position. Remember to concentrate on nothing other than relaxing and breathing, and feeling your blood circulation increase.

More experienced users

Go slowly to 45 degrees, and stay there for three to five minutes. This is plenty of time to relax your mind and enjoy the sensation of being inverted. What can you feel in your head, back, neck, and shoulders? Has the reduction of gravity affected your body as well as your mind? Focus on these changes.

Return very slowly to the horizontal position. Stay there for one minute. Compared to when you started, how to do you feel now? What are the differences?

Go very slowly to 60 degrees, and stay there for three to five minutes. How has the increased inversion angle changed the pressure on your back, neck and shoulders? Let your body relax by relaxing your mind.

Go back to horizontal position, and stay there one minute. How different do you feel after finishing the exercise?

High-Intensity Level 

Only do this if you are comfortable with inversion table therapy, and have completed the previous levels of intensity.

Move very slowly to 60 degrees, and stay there for five to seven minutes. Relax your mind and calm your body. Enjoy the benefits of a nice 60-degree inversion.

Slowly go back to horizontal position. Stay here for one minute. Notice the differences in how your body feels before inverting again.

Go very slowly to Full Inversion, 90 degrees. Stay here for five to seven minutes. The effect of gravity on your back, shoulders, and neck will now be fully reversed. What changes do you feel?

Try to focus on all the tension around your neck and shoulders. Picture the hard muscles melting, and the tension flowing away. As the tension leaves your body, imagine peace and relaxation flowing back into your body in its place.

2. Neck Stretch (Light to High)

Let’s get a nice neck stretch to release and unblock all those tense muscles.

Pick the level that suits your experience and comfort zone.

nech stretch inversion table exerciseLight (30-45 degrees):  Start at 30 degrees for one to three minutes. When comfortable, move to 45 degrees, and stay 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.

Place your left hand on the right side of your head, and very gently pull your head towards your left shoulder.

Stay in position for one to five minutes, depending on the intensity level you have selected.

Relaxing tips: The pain in your neck is mostly caused by muscle tension, and a lot of that tension is caused by feeling stressed. Ease that tension by quieting your mind and eliminating any stressful thoughts. Place your mind in the tension you can feel in your neck, and then picture it flowing away. Don’t try too hard and don’t get angry. Instead, calm your emotions and focus on melting the tension out of your muscles and mind.

See Also  Neck Strengthening Exercises

Once you have finished, change sides and repeat.

3. Side Arches (Light to High)

This exercise stretches the external obliques, which are the muscles on the side of your abdominals, and also provides a nice shoulder stretch.

Again, depending on your experience and number of sessions, pick the level that best suits your body.

Side-Arches-inversion table exercisesLight (30-45 degrees):  Start at 30 degrees for one to three minutes. When comfortable, move to 45 degrees, and stay 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.

Place your arms overhead, and curve your upper body into a “C” shape. Starting at the waist, gently bring your hip and shoulder toward each other.

Get comfortable and stay for the time specified by your chosen intensity level. Remember to relax your mind so your muscles will relax too. Initially, quieting your mind is not easy but, with practice, it gets easier and I’m positive your body will greatly appreciate it. If you notice your mind is wandering, just gently bring it back to focus on relaxing.

Clear your mind of any thoughts about work, relationships, or anything else not to do with the exercise you are performing. Instead, focus on the sensation of your side abdominal muscles stretching and relaxing. Imagine those muscles gently lengthening, and how this stretch also helps your shoulders.

Once you have finished, repeat to the other side

4. Rotation (Light to High)

These levels are only for guidance. Listen to your body and don’t rush it.

inversion table therapy rotation advanced exercise zoom inLight (30-45 degrees):  Start at 30 degrees for one to three minutes. When comfortable, move to 45 degrees, and stay 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.

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 to 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.

As you do this exercise, concentrate on how it makes your muscles feel. Let the tension flow out of your muscles and mind, and let calm and relaxation replace that tension. Breathe slowly and evenly, imagining your muscles lengthening as you exhale. Quiet your mind and your muscles will relax more readily. Don’t allow stressful or annoying thoughts enter your mind.

See Also  Inversion Table Exercises for Beginners

Once finished, do the same for the other side.

5. Overhead Stretch (Light – Moderate)

Let’s finish this routine with a complete stretch using your arms. This exercise stretches the lower and upper back muscles, and it also stretches and decompresses your neck and shoulders.

It’s a full body stretch that re-aligns your spine, reducing the tension in your neck muscles.

For your first time, start at Light Intensity level. Start with 30 degrees, and stay there for one to three minutes.

Overhead Stretch inversion table exercisesWhen you feel comfortable, increase the difficulty for a more intense stretch. Move to 45 degrees for three to five minutes.

Reach straight overhead with your left arm and relax.

Stretch for one to three minutes with one arm overhead.

Breathe normally and feel relaxed on the table. Feel the stretch in your neck, shoulders, and back. Focus on every muscle of your body being stretched. Do you feel any changes to your pain? Try to locate any pain with your mind. Find that stiffness and then imagine that tension going away.

Muscles store and accumulate all the tension, anger, sadness in your life and all those emotion create tension and stiffness, which results in pain. Let go of all of these negative things so tension will leave your body, and it can finally start to heal.

Once finished, do the same for the other arm.

Moderate level.

When you are comfortable at 45 degrees, move slowly to the 60-degree position.

Stretch for three to seven minutes and then change sides.

High level

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

(Picture here)

How long should I do it for?

Always start on Light Intensity. Slowly increase the time and the inversion angle as you get used to the exercises.

Frequent sessions are always the best way to go.

Start with one minute sessions, and slowly increase the angle and the duration. You should feel comfortable throughout, and the exercises should be enjoyable. If you feel yourself tensing up, or are uncomfortable, reduce the angle, or the duration of the exercise.

I’m a beginner; can I still do these exercises?

Yes. Start on the light level to get used to the table and to the exercises.

As you do more sessions, you will naturally want to stay longer and increase the angle. There is no need to rush, listen to your body.

I don’t have an inversion table, which one you recommend?

I have three favorite inversion tables. You can read my detailed reviews and which one I currently use and why.

In my review, I will guide you with a set of questions to help you find the best inversion table for your needs and budget. Click here to start.

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

Specific exercises to help you stretch and relax the muscles around your neck and shoulders.

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