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Numerous studies have confirmed that back pain is the price of mans’ ability to walk upright. Spinal compression, herniated discs, and other maladies can all be linked to the persistent compaction associated with a vertical posture. While injury and body type certainly contribute to chronic discomfort, day in and day out, gravity is the one force constantly trying to bring us down. An inversion table simply reverses that pressure to temporarily open vertebra, relieve pinched nerves, and stimulate blood flow. But the latest models take the concept a step farther with the addition of heat pads, massagers, and contoured pads that make inversion tables more relaxing than ever.

Top Pick

This model has a 2.5-inch thick memory foam backrest for extra comfort. IRONMAN

Inversion tables are not for everyone. Advocates maintain that even a few minutes of hang time relieves tension. Others find the increased blood flow to the brain uncomfortable. But if you do decide it’s for you, look for a table that is infinitely adjustable up to 180 degrees. Even a gentle angle of decline can offer relief without subjecting someone to the more dramatic effects of complete inversion.

Great Value

A pin system allows you to change the positioning to accommodate different heights. Innova

Persons of average height and build should have no problem finding a table comfortable for their size. However, if you are over 6′ 4″, or above 250 pounds, make sure the table has the adequate weight capacity and dimensions to fit your body type. Your body’s inversion tolerance is an acquired sensation, so you need to remain inverted for increased periods to receive the full benefit. A table with well-padded ankle supports, a lumbar cushion, and an adjustable headrest makes it easier to stay inverted longer.

Also Consider

This model has a contoured lumbar pad for better support. Innova

If you want the full-spa treatment, consider a table with integrated heat and massage functions. Even when not inverted, the warmth and vibration can help relieve tired muscles and stiff joints. But note that technological improvements come at the expense of portability and weight. Where space is at a premium, a more basic table or one that folds flat for storage may be a better choice.