Inversion Table for Herniated Disc and Bulging Disc
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Inversion tables are an efficient and inexpensive way to treat pain of multiple causes. One common cause of back pain that inversion tables are particularly effective in treating are disc injuries.(1, 2)
Bulges and herniations are common injuries to the discs between each spinal vertebrae. They can be caused by trauma, poor posture and lifting mechanics, aging, or excessive pressure on the spine. The injury occurs when the inner layer of the disc pushes up against or through the outer layer and puts pressure on surrounding structures of the spine.
People with disc injuries may experience pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the lower extremities, decreased range of motion, and difficulty performing everyday activities. Using an inversion table for herniated discs and bulging discs can help treat these symptoms and even reduce the severity of the injury by relieving pressure on the affected areas.
Many inversion tables come with additional features that can make them even more beneficial in treating bulging discs and herniated discs. We recommend the following features for those with disc injuries:
- Lumbar support (lumbar pad) to maintain natural curvature of the spine and encourage spinal extension
- Heat and massage features to facilitate muscle relaxation
- Extended ankle mechanism to ease getting on and off
- Teeter EP-970 Ltd.
- Premium Features & Quality
- Innova ITM5900
- Heat & Massage Function
- IRONMAN Gravity 4000
- Comfort & Stability
This article will first discuss the best three inversion tables for herniated and bulging discs. Next, we will detail the anatomy of a disc injury and expand upon the common symptoms and limitations these people typically experience. Furthermore, we will discuss the most common treatment methods, including the use of an inversion table and how they may help you return to living your best life.
3 Best Inversion Tables for Herniated and Bulging Discs
1. Teeter EP-970 Ltd.
If you’re not bothered about spending a few extra dollars, the Teeter EP-970 Ltd. offers a great way of dealing with herniated discs. The removable lumbar pad offers additional support and assisted traction. Also, the optional heat and massage pad helps promote a deeper decompression and the return of the disc fluid into its natural space.
- Premium quality and features
- Excellent ankle holder
- Long handles
- Easy assembly
- High Price
2. Innova ITM5900
Also a great pick for users with a herniated disc is the Innova ITM5900, with a built-in heat and massage backrest. These functions allow a greater decompression of the spine and relaxation of surrounding structures, vital to the pain relief of the affected areas. The extended ankle-locking mechanism on this product also enables you to reach and adjust the holders without experiencing discomfort that comes with too much bending.
- Heat & massage functions
- Lumbar pad
- Long handles
- Heavy-duty frame
- Quality and manufacturing of some welds and components
3. IRONMAN Gravity 4000
There is a lot of comfort packed into Gravity 4000’s backrest design and use of material. The removable lumbar pad also promotes better decompression of the spine which in turn provides relief of the herniated disc and also helps the fluid find its way back into the damaged area.
- Reasonable price
- Inversion table stability
- High load capacity
- High-quality materials
- Comfortable ankle holder
- The high weight of the product makes handling difficult
- Insufficient support for heads of tall users
Can Inversion Tables Help Herniated and Bulging Discs?
As previously mentioned, using an inversion table for herniated and bulging discs is an effective treatment method. It will help to know more about the anatomy of a disc in order to understand why inversion tables are so effective.
The next section will also discuss common symptoms of disc injuries, common treatments, and how inversion tables help alleviate these symptoms.
What Is an Intervertebral Disc?
Intervertebral discs are structures that lie between all vertebrae in the spine and serve to provide shock absorption, protect the vertebrae, and allow for improved spinal motion. They are made up of a thick, fibrous outer layer called the annulus fibrosis and a gel-like inner layer called the nucleus palposus.
They are made up of the annulus fibrosis, which is the hard, outer layer, and the nucleus palposus, which is the center filled with gelatinous fluid.
The nucleus palposus is designed to allow the spine to withstand incredible compressive forces without injury and to allow smooth motion between vertebrae. The annulus fibrosus protects the nucleus palposus from leaking out into the spinal canal and evenly distributes the forces of the nucleus palposus throughout the disc.
Intervertebral discs are common places of dysfunction to the spine and may be vulnerable to several types of injury. As we age, it is common to undergo degenerative changes, causing the height of the discs to decrease. This may cause increased pressure on the vertebrae and other sensitive tissues of the spine.
Additionally, discs may sustain a traumatic type of injury known either as a disc bulge or a disc herniation. Details about these will be discussed in the following section.
What Are Bulging Discs and Disc Herniations?
A disc bulge refers to a condition of the disc when the nucleus palposus gets pushed up against the annulus fibrosis and causes the disc to protrude outward.
A disc herniation is similar in that the nucleus palposus pushes against the annulus fibrosis. However, in the case of a herniation, the nucleus palposus actually breaks through the outer layer and can extrude into the spinal canal.
These injuries may occur as a result of excessive compressive forces on the spine through poor posture, poor lifting mechanics, or a traumatic event like a fall or car accident.
In both cases, the protrusion can cause pressure onto sensitive structures of the spine such as nerves or joints which can cause a multitude of symptoms.
What Are Symptoms of Bulging Discs and Disc Herniations?
Common symptoms of disc bulges and herniations include the following:
- Pain in the back or in the lower extremity along the affected spinal nerve pattern
- Numbness or tingling in the affected spinal nerve pattern
- Increased pain or radicular symptoms when sitting, and decreased symptoms with standing or walking
- Pain with bending over or lifting objects
- Pain or numbness in the lower extremity when driving
- Tightness or stiffness in the lower back and lower extremities
- Weakness in the muscles innervated by the compromised spinal root
These symptoms may be present in both disc bulges and herniations, but are often more pronounced in the case of herniations since the injury is worse. The severity of the symptoms may vary based on the significance of the injury as well.
Although it can seem like a daunting task to overcome these injuries, discs have the capacity to heal, and the healing can be expedited by the methods discussed in the next session.
What Are Common Treatments for Disc Injuries?
There are several methods that can be implemented to treat disc injuries. These methods are on a broad spectrum of conservative measures to more aggressive interventions. Here is a list of common treatments for disc bulges and herniations.
- Specific Exercise
Specific exercise is the least invasive way to treat disc injuries. Because of the direction that discs typically protrude, the exercises needed to treat the injury usually involve extension of the lumbar spine. This is because extension of the lumbar spine decreases the pressure of the disc near the protrusion and encourages the nucleus palposus to recede back into the center of the disc.
Exercise can completely relieve pain experienced from a disc injury. However, it is highly recommended that you seek that assessment of a qualified healthcare provider like an orthopedic doctor, physiotherapist, or chiropractor, as doing the wrong exercises can actually worsen the condition.
Pain medication can help reduce or rid the symptoms you may be experiencing as a result of a disc injury. Reducing pain may help with improving overall movement which will alsoresult in continued reduction of symptoms and improved function.
Although helpful in many cases, sometimes medication does not target the root cause of the symptoms and can have many undesirable side effects. It is for this reason that it may not be the best option for everyone.
In severe cases when more conservative measures have failed, surgery may be necessary to correct the problem. Often, the procedure performed is a discectomy, in which the loose disc material pressing on the spinal nerve root is removed.
Recovery time from this surgery is usually quick and the success rate is higher relative to many other back surgeries that are performed. However, there are still significant risks involved and it should only be considered if all other conservative methods have failed.
- Traction by Using Inversion Tables
Traction is another common form of treatment for disc injuries. Traction is the use of a distraction force to gently pull on the spine and relieve the compressive forces going through the vertebrae.
With disc injuries, the distraction force can create a vacuum effect in which some of the protruded material can recede back in towards the center of the disc. This in effect reduces the pressure on the surrounding structures of the spine.
Traction can be accomplished in various ways from manual distraction, mechanical distraction, or using gravity to provide the distraction forces. The most common and convenient way to provide gravity induced distraction forces is by using an inversion table.
Using an Inversion Table to Help Bulging and Herniated Discs
The use of an inversion table for herniated and bulging discs is a great way to provide beneficial traction forces. They provide variable amount of pull through the spine using gravity in order to reduce the pressure through the injured area and surrounding structures.
The decreased pressure on the spine can cause a reduction in pain, tightness, radicular symptoms, and more. Additionally, as discussed in the previous section, the distraction forces can encourage movement of the nucleus palposus back into the center of the disc. This will further decrease pressure on the spinal nerve root.
There are several advantages to using inversion tables to treat disc injuries:
- First of all, they are convenient and easy to use. An inversion table can be easily set up within the home and within seconds of setup, you can be on the table experiencing symptom relief.
- Secondly, inversion tables are safe. There is very little risk involved in using an inversion table and they require no supervision. There are also very minimal possible side effects that could come with their use.
- Finally, they have the ability to be adjusted to whatever height is comfortable for you. This allows you to get the most out of the stretch without worrying about overdoing it. The ability to change the pull also allows you to adjust to your sensitivity levels throughout the healing process.
If you have a disc injury and are struggling to find relief from your symptoms, consider using an inversion table to help your recovery.
Disc bulges and herniations are conditions in which the gel-like center of an intervertebral disc protrudes onto or even breaks through the thicker outer layer. This can cause pressure on sensitive spinal structures like nerves and joints.
People who have bulging discs or herniated discs may experience a wide array of symptoms, including pain, numbness, tingling, weakness in the lower extremities, and difficulty performing many daily activities.
Discs have the capacity to heal naturally, but can be aided by many treatment methods. One such method is the use of inversion tables.
Using an inversion table for herniated discs and bulging discs provides a convenient and safe way to consistently use traction forces. This may reduce pain and other symptoms you may be experiencing from a disc injury. They may also physically reduce the amount of disc material that is protruding into the spinal canal, further decreasing pressure on sensitive spinal structures.
If you have not yet used an inversion table to help your disc injury, it may be time to give this effective and convenient treatment method a try and return to living your life the way you want!