FAQ Friday: Aching when I return upright from inverting. Is this normal?
If you are feeling some aching in your back when you return upright from inverting, there could be several causes for this. As we discuss a couple of the possible causes of this, it may be a good idea to re-familiarize yourself with the Use Instructions (or Instructional DVD with some models) to assure you are following all of the suggestions to effective and safe inversion.
You did too much too soon: If you are new to inversion, your body is not used to being inverted (chances are you haven’t hung upside down since the monkey bars in 2nd grade!) By inverting too much too soon, you are probably going to be a little sore. You can liken inversion to beginning any new exercise program. If you over-do it on the first day, you will probably pay for it later. Do what you can and stick with it! Not everyone will experience immediate relief, but most due through consistent inversion. At first, only invert to about 20 degrees or a little more than being parallel to the floor, and only for a couple of minutes. Progress as you feel your body is adapting to inverting.
You returned upright too fast: When inverted, your vertebrae have a chance to separate and the discs can decompress. This action reduces pressure on the nerves that run through your spinal column. When you ascend (return upright) on the inversion table, your spine “re-compresses”, meaning that the vertebrae return to their normal position and the pressure on the discs increases again. If you come up from inversion too fast, you might place sudden pressure on the nerves that run through the spine, which can cause some pain. Instead, you should invert to a mild angle (30-40 degrees) for a just few minutes. Come back up so your head is only slightly above your feet, just past the horizontal position (lying flat). Remain here for a couple of minutes to allow your spine to slowly re-compress, then slowly come up the rest of the way.
Always listen to your body. If you experience extreme pain, or if you always experience pain while inverting, you should discontinue inversion until you have had a chance to talk with your doctor.
If you are in a lot of pain before you invert, your pain may not go away instantly if you invert for a few minutes. While some people experience dramatic popping or feelings of their back loosening, for many, the feeling of decompression is more subtle. You may invert at night and still have a sore back, but wake up the next morning and feel great.
If you want to help yourself get the most out of inversion, you can also try to make sure your muscles are relaxed before you begin inverting. If you take a warm shower or use our Vibration Cushion, you can loosen your muscles before you invert. This can help your body decompress like it needs to and it can reduce the possibility of reoccurring back pain later on. Also, inverted stretches will help your muscles relax and allow your spine to naturally realign itself. When you are kind to yourself, it is likely that inversion will be kind to you