Feeling good and looking good are two different aspects of our lives that require time and attention if we want to maintain a happy and healthy life. Over the past 34 years, I have been an advocate for back health and the benefits of inversion therapy, often traveling the world to share my own experience. I have interacted with countless people who invest more into looking good rather than feeling good. Just think about the amount of time and money you spend to acquire healthy skin or maintain your hair. If you have a bad hair day, you can wear a hat…but if you have a bad back day, then you aren’t going anywhere! The aches and pains we experience as we age, or as a result of our physical activity or work, can often be traced to our spinal health. Pain in our hips, knees, neck and other load-bearing joints, limb numbness and tingling, back pain or muscle spasms are all linked to our spine and back health. To remedy these issues, here are three ways you can invest in your back, start feeling good again, and get back to doing what you love.
- Good Posture
The construction of your spine has four main elements: vertebrae, discs, the spinal cord and nerves. Vertebrae and discs make up the structure of your spine and protect the spinal cord and the nerves which reach every part of your body.
The American Chiropractic Association says that good posture is the body position which best resists gravity. You can’t escape gravity, so walking and sitting in good posture allows you to minimize its impact on your spine. When I asked Dr. William Tontz, an Orthopedic Surgeon in Yuma, Arizona, to describe how our discs are impacted by gravity, he explained, “The discs between each vertebrae are fluid-filled shock absorbers like you have on your car. When you get up in the morning, you may be 6’ 1”. When you go to bed at night, you’re actually about 6’ ½”; you lose about ¼ to ½ inch of height as those shock absorbers get squeezed and the fluid is expelled.” Daily height loss is noticeable during even the simplest of activities: you may notice that you have to adjust the rear-view mirror down when you drive in the evening. You are actually shorter because your discs have lost height.
Compressed discs can result in reduced flexibility and can cause muscle tension, as well as contribute to the circumstances which cause herniated discs, misalignments and pinched or aggravated nerves. Pills may cover up the symptoms of these issues, but they don’t address the root cause. Physical therapists and chiropractors can help restore good posture, but you can also do it in the comfort of your own home and with less cost with an inversion table.
- Daily Inversion
Inversion has been around for 3,000 years, was documented as a medical treatment by Hippocrates around 400 BC, and much later became re-popularized in the U.S. in the late 1970’s-early 80’s. After inversion relieved my own longtime struggle with debilitating back pain, my wife and I decided to start our own inversion company, Teeter Hang Ups, in 1981. By inverting, you use your body weight and gravity to naturally relax your tight muscles and decompress your load-bearing joints and spine, allowing your body the chance to realign itself. Since starting Teeter Hang Ups, we have heard from thousands of the over 2.5 million people who invert using our products, and they all have amazingly similar stories about how inversion has helped them regain their back and joint health.
I’ve been inverting for over 30 years, and I attribute being virtually pain-free to making time to invert once a day (twice if needed), as do a good number of people who have found back pain relief with inversion. Dr. Tontz says, “People who invert daily do far better than people who invert for three weeks to relieve their pain, reinjure again in a year, and then start inverting again until their pain is relieved.” In other words, make inversion a daily routine like brushing your teeth and you’ll begin to see the long-term benefits. Just like any other exercise routine, start slowly by inverting to a shallow angle or for just a few short minutes. Progressively increase your effort as your comfort and experience improves. People are often amazed at how much better they feel by inverting for three to five minutes a few times a day.
- Healthy Lifestyle
Sometimes when I’m on a live TV or radio show, one of our loyal Teeter customers call and ask, “Inversion got rid of my back pain! Now what do I do?” Sticking with your daily inversion routine is important, but we also have to remember what probably caused that pain in the first place: a weak support structure. Your spine can do a lot, but pairing good posture with a strong core is the best way to prevent future back pain or injury. Now that the pain is gone, get active. Do some exercise and target your core with sit-ups, crunches and squats. These exercises while fully inverted help to ensure you are doing it in proper form without placing uncomfortable or damaging loads on your spine, which happens during traditional floor exercises. We all know the benefits of exercise and remaining active. With the increased flexibility and energy you have found through inversion, you can focus on improving your strength and cardiovascular health for improvement to your overall wellness.
The return on investing in your back health really is priceless. By simply working on good posture, incorporating a daily inversion routine, and engaging in a healthy lifestyle, you will not only be feeling good, but you will be looking good too. You will be standing up straighter, holding your head higher, and chances are you will be smiling more because you will be able to enjoy the activities you love without back pain slowing you down.