Inverted Versus Horizontal Traction for Back and Neck Pain
One great advantage to inversion over traction in any other body position is that it is “progressive.” By that, I mean that while inverted, every joint is being decompressed by exactly the same weight that it has to hold when upright.
The average male carries 60% of his body weight above the lumbar (women are a little less). So when inverted, the large joints of the lumbar are decompressed by 60% of the person’s body weight, whereas the small joints of the neck are decompressed by just the weight of the head.
By comparison, any of the devices that apply traction in a horizontal position apply that one-size load across all the joints, with a few joints getting exactly the right load, others not enough and some potentially too much. If the horizontal load is controlled by a skilled operator and he or she knows exactly what joints to target, this can work reasonably well for the targeted joints. But with a Teeter, there’s no need to be sure of which joints to target because all joints get the right load!
Decompressing the neck is often not quite as simple as described above since many people carry a lot of tension in their neck and shoulders. Those tense muscles can be slower to “let go” compared to the lower back, hips and knees. Heat and stretching can be a big help. Try warming the neck muscles while inverted with a hot pad or rolled towel dampened with warm water. Facilitate relaxation with gentle stretching of the neck to each side, front and back or rolling the head in a circle while inverted. Often this process works to relieve tension headaches and in some cases can halt a developing migraine. My on-air model in Canada has been using inversion for over 12 years at home and credits regular use of her Teeter for virtually eliminating her otherwise frequent migraines. She is certain that inversion has made the difference because if she stops inverting for a period of time, the migraines come back. Prior to inversion, she relied on chiropractic adjustments, but now she relies on consistent use of her Teeter.