will an inversion table straighten my spine

Will an Inversion Table Straighten My Spine?

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Perhaps you’ve used an inversion table in your physical therapist’s clinic. You may have noticed that it relieved your back pain almost immediately, but will an inversion table straighten your spine?

Studies show that a 20-minute inversion therapy daily can help reduce neck pain and low-back pain. An inversion table is used to suspend a person upside down or at an incline, allowing gravity to stretch the spine and remove the pressure on the spinal discs and nerve roots along the spine. While it offers short-term relief from pain, there’s no proof that it can straighten the spine.

What Is Inversion Therapy?


a woman lying down on a horizontally inclined inversion table

The theory behind inversion therapy is that by shifting the body’s gravity, it lessens the pressure on the spine and elongates it.

It is beneficial to people suffering from chronic back pain, poor circulation, sciatica, and even scoliosis.

Read more to learn what inversion therapy and inversion tables can and cannot do, and whether it’s for you. Let’s start by understanding what inversion therapy is.

Inversion therapy is considered a type of alternative medicine that has been around since ancient times. Hippocrates was said to have prescribed it as a treatment for gout, rheumatism, sciatica (read about is walking on a treadmill good for sciatica ), and even cancer.

He believed that gravity could help cure many illnesses, and said, “Gravity is good for the sick, but not all illnesses are cured by gravity alone.”

Various positions that you can do on an inversion table

Inversion therapy is still widely used today but as a complementary form of treatment, used alongside conventional treatments.

For example, it might be recommended after surgery, while recovering from an injury, or for people requiring long-term medication.

Some doctors believe that it can also be useful as part of a healthy lifestyle. For instance, it can be helpful for treating  insomnia.

However, it is not advised for people suffering from hypertension, heart disease, or glaucoma.

What Is an Inversion Table?

An inversion table is a device used primarily to support the spine of people undergoing inversion therapy. The table has straps for securing the ankles and a rotating plane to suspend a person upside down and at different angles. It has handles on the sides to help you keep your balance.

Teeter FitSpine inversion table shown without a person using it

How Does It Work?

An inversion table reduces pressure to the spine and increases blood flow to the muscles and the major organs.

It is designed to allow the body to be inverted at different angles. You can either lie on your back or stomach, depending on your needs or your PT’s advice.


What Are the Benefits of Using an Inversion Table

People who have used inversion tables swear by the following benefits:

  • Reduces muscle spasms and tension
  • Relieves symptoms of insomnia
  • Helps with digestion and boosts metabolism
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves spinal health by decompressing the vertebrae, removing uneven pressures, and stretching the muscles supporting the spine
  • Stretches out the ligaments and other soft tissues around the spine
  • The stretching aids in relaxing the muscles, thus relieving tension
  • Eases pain and stiffness caused by arthritis or even scoliosis pain
  • Reduces inflammation and swelling, easing the effects of migraines and fibromyalgia
  • Helps people with diabetes by regulating insulin levels
  • Increases blood flow to the muscles surrounding the spine and tissues of the brain, spinal cord, heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and digestive system
  • Helps people with asthma, allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, and more
  • Improves circulation and lymph drainage, removing toxins from the body faster
  • Increases flexibility for people who have tight muscles and alleviates soreness after an exercise
  • Corrects poor posture and helps prevent back pain

Inversion Therapy & People with Scoliosis

In theory, inversion should help spinal health by creating more fluid around the spinal discs, removing waste products surrounding the spine, and decreasing inflammation.

Physician assessing the spine and back of a male adult patient

However, while there are anecdotal evidences of the success of inversion therapy, studies surrounding the effectiveness of inversion therapy remain inconclusive especially for scoliosis patients.

What Is Scoliosis?

A person with scoliosis has abnormal sideways spinal curvatures. Their spine is rotated sideways, making them bend forward or backward. Scoliosis causes pain because the spine is misaligned.

Structural scoliosis is not a posture problem but a condition that occurs when there is a problem with the bones or cartilage in the spine.

Does Inversion Therapy Help People with Scoliosis?

Adult male in an inclined position while supported by an inversion table

Inversion therapy is a form of treatment for relieving pain in adults with scoliosis.

It proves more effective for adults with scoliosis because inversion relieves the effects of skeletal maturity and gravity on the spine.

As mentioned, it helps relieve pain but doesn’t target the underlying conditions causing scoliosis. In other words, you cannot cure scoliosis with inversion therapy alone.


Inversion tables are used to stretch the spine, easing back problems by counteracting gravitational forces.

Although it may help improve posture, increase blood flow, and relieve pain, inversion therapy alone will not cure structural scoliosis or straighten the spine permanently.

How inversion therapy helps is by stretching out the spine and relieving pressure on the vertebrae. It is used in conjunction with other treatments to treat scoliosis, but it will not cure scoliosis.