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Shoulder pain

Best Shoulder Bursitis Exercises: Stronger Shoulders

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Shoulder Bursitis can be frustrating and painful. BUT, with the right shoulder bursitis exercises, shown in this article, you can get your shoulder to a 100%, without the need for cortisone injections or surgery.

In this post, we will outline:

  • What shoulder Bursitis is
  • What the causes are
  • Treatment options and their effectiveness
  • The best shoulder exercises to fix it

What is Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder anatomyShoulder bursitis is technically called subacromial bursitis and is inflammation of the bursa in the shoulder. To understand what it is, you, first, need to know some basic anatomy;

What is a Shoulder Bursa

A Bursa is a very thin (1-2mm) fluid-filled sac and they are found throughout the body. They help decrease friction and ensure different tissues move smoothly.

The subacromial bursa is, as the name suggests, under the acromion. It separates and creates smooth motion between your top rotator cuff muscle and your acromion bone.

The acromion is the uppermost aspect of your shoulder blade that forms the roof of your shoulder.

Why is it sore

When the bursa gets overloaded through one of the below causes, it becomes inflamed and puffs up. Because there isn’t much space in the subacromial space between the roof of the acromion and the shoulder joint, you can then get pain and impingement.

Where should I feel the pain

Pain from shoulder bursitis is often felt to the side of the shoulder and can refer down towards the elbow.

shoulder pain

What causes shoulder bursitis

The subacromial bursa gets inflamed typically due to repetitive or sustained load that put load on the bursa. This is normally activities with either your arm out in front of you, over your head or in slouched positions.

Activities, where your arm, is elevated put the bursa in a more compressed position and hence with repetition is more likely to get irritated.

Slouching or having a forward shoulder blade position brings the roof (acromion) down lower, meaning there is less room for error.(1)

What adds to and makes you more likely to get shoulder bursitis is the following:

  • A weak rotator cuff or Lats – The cuff help keep the ball sitting in the socket nicely, without this, impingement of the bursa can happen
  • An over-active deltoid – This tends to ball the ball up in the subacromial space more
  • A tight pec minor and forward shoulder position – this brings the “roof” down

It can also be caused by prolonged compression such as sleeping in one position on your side for a long time or abnormalities of the acromion such as osteoarthritis or a beaked acromion.

So, hopefully, you are beginning to see that bursitis is generally secondary to other issues. If we address everything around it such as muscle length and strength, the bursa has a chance to settle and get better.


Treatment options

Cortisone injections

These are done very often but with high rates of recurrence of pain. This is partly due to the fact that you are just band-aiding, covering and easing the pain.

The trouble with this is that if there is any underlying causative weakness, stiffness or poor control, the shoulder bursitis or shoulder pain is likely to come back without good rehab to address deficits.

As well as that, the available literature indicates that there is little reproducible evidence to support the efficacy of subacromial corticosteroid injection in managing rotator cuff pain.(1)

Surgery

Surgery should be the last option. There is no evidence that surgery is more effective than conservative treatment. (2)

Shoulder bursitis, often called subacromial bursitis is largely a secondary issue. That means that is caused by something else and doesn’t often just happen by itself.

That, simply, is why surgery isn’t the be all and end all and why there is a lot of studies (below) that show that surgery is no better than exercise rehab for impingement syndrome (which causes shoulder bursitis) and large rotator cuff tears.

surgery

Physiotherapy rehab shoulder bursitis exercises

In my view, no one should try a cortisone injection, let alone even think about an operation until they have done 12 weeks of effective and regular exercise rehab.

Don’t try it for two or four weeks and give up – muscles and tendons simply don’t adapt fast enough to make a significant change in that time typically.

Load the muscles and tendons and they will adapt, addressing the issue behind your bursitis (most likely) and taking the load off the bursa, allowing your shoulder pain to settle naturally.

So, in light of that, here are our favorite rehab exercises (and most shoulder pathologies actually!) that are easy to do from home:

1. Lat pull-down

Using a Power Band or cable machine, this is a great exercise which strengthens your Lats. Your Lats help hold the ball down so it doesn’t rise up into the subacromial space and pinch your bursa.

Do 3 sets (lots) of 10-15 but with all these exercises 1-5, it is best to take the muscle to fatigue.

lat pull downs rotator cuff - shoulder bursitis exercises

2. Rotator cuff external rotations

Lie on your side with your elbow touching your side and at a right angle as shown. rotate your fist up, keeping your elbow at 90 degrees and in your side and then lower down again.

Find the weight where your tire out at about 10 reps (often 1/2 or 1 kg is enough to start with) and do 3 sets to fatigue (10-15)

Rotator cuff rehab external rotation - shoulder bursitis exercises Rotator cuff rehab external rotation phase 2 - shoulder bursitis exercises

3. The Arnie press

*If this or any of the other exercises are sore to do. Don’t do it yet, work on the ones you can do.

Start with a weight that makes your muscles tire at about 10 reps (this could be 1kg, a drink bottle or even 5kg).

Your hand should be in front of your shoulder and knuckles forward. Press upwards, while rotation through range so that your knuckles are backwards and then go back down to the start position, rotation through the range again as shown.

To 3 sets to fatigue (3 sets of 10-15 reps usually, otherwise adjust the weight)

Overhead rotational press - shoulder bursitis exercisesOverhead rotational press extended - shoulder bursitis exercises

4. Flys

You can do this shoulder and scapula strengthening exercise in standing with a resistance band OR lying on your front on a bench with weights in your hands.

Find the resistance or weight where you fatigue at about 10 reps and do 3 sets of 10

Flys - shoulder bursitis exercises

5. One arm wall push-ups

This is a great one for getting global strength and control of the shoulder girdle and for a lot of people with shoulder bursitis, is pain-free to do.

Place your hand in front of your shoulder (you don’t want it too high)  and do a push-up, looking to keep your shoulders level and not tilting into the wall with your opposite side.

Adjust the distance your feet are out from the wall to make it challenging but do-able.

Do 3 sets of 10

One arm push-up - shoulder bursitis exercises

6. Posterior cuff stretch

A lot of people with shoulder pain and bursitis lose the ability to put their hand behind their back comfortably and this tends to pull your shoulder blade forward. address this by stretching out the back of the shoulder joint as shown. Make sure to pull shoulder arm into your chest rather than in the across your body.

Hold for one minute. It shoulder stretch the back of your shoulder/arm, if it pinches on top of in the front, you aren’t ready for it yet.

Posterior shoulder stretch  -shoulder bursitis exercises

To help get rid of shoulder bursitis, do all these exercises once a day, 5 days per week for 12 weeks and as they get easier – make them harder.


Ankle, foot pain, Health, Lower limb

Sprained Ankle – Heal Fast and Strong with Self Treatment

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Treating a sprained ankle the RIGHT way early on means a stronger ankle, faster recovery and less chance of re-injury. In this series, I will tell you what a sprained ankle involves, the most effective self-treatment and the best rehab exercises to get you back out there!

This post is Level 1 but when you need to step it up after the first 48-72 hours, switch over to the Level 2 and Level 3 rehab exercises. Alternatively, you can skip the hassle and download our comprehensive Sprained Ankle Recovery Guide

First of all, a little information about what a sprained ankle involves, but if you are in the know about Sprains already, skip the info and scroll down to Self – Treatment

Sprained ankles are known by a few different names:

  • Twisted ankle
  • Rolled ankle
  • Lateral ankle sprain
  • Inversion ankle sprain
  • And of course “Oh no!”

The most common type of sprained ankle is the lateral ankle sprain (85%), and that is what we are going to discuss and sort out today.

Mechanism of injury: The plain and simple is that a sprained ankle is typically when your foot is forced inwards (inversion) and down at the same time. This often happens when changing direction, turning and/or on uneven surfaces). This puts the ligaments under too much stress too fast which causes a tear of one or more of your ankle ligaments.

sprained ankle - lateral ligaments

 

Quick anatomy: The lateral (outer) ankle has 3 ligaments supporting, with the weakest of these (and so most often injured) being the ATFL. The ATFL is the Ligament at the front of the ankle shown here and in most simple sprains, this is the one torn with or without the ligament below it.

 

Sprained ankle recovery time: The general recovery time is 2-6 weeks (if looked after properly). Keep in mind, even if it feels bad now if you do all the right things you will be one of the 95% who returns to sport and activity within 6 weeks.

 

Not taking ankle rehab seriously often leads to far too many chronic ankles, long-term disability and other injuries so YOU NEED TO TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!

Note: it is important to rule out fractures early on. An accurate way of doing this is using the Ottawa ankle rules, or going to see your local Physio for a quick assessment – These rules are great for minimizing unnecessary X-rays.

 

Sprained Ankle Self – treatment

Initial management: In the first 72 hours it is very important to follow the RICE and HARM principles – This

will take weeks off your recovery.

Do: POLICE

This has changed from the previous RICE recommendation, see more on this HERE.

POLICE acute ankle sprain treatment heal fast

Note: Don’t wear compression at night time

Don’t: HARM

  • Heat
  • Alcohol
  • Running
  • Massage

HARM increases blood flow to the area, worsening inflammation and so causing more secondary damage and a longer healing time.

Protect: Braces have been proven to reduce re-injury rate and improve recovery so check out your options here

Keep moving (within reason of course) – It is important not to baby sprained ankles and start weight-bearing through them as soon as possible. This helps to normalize movement and decrease the loss of muscle activity. If necessary you may need to be on crutches for the first 24-72 hours then move to partial weight-bearing and then full weight-bearing.

Foot paddling is a great exercise to do in these early days – In sitting or lying, simply point your toes up then down repeatedly in a pain-free range. You can try doing small circles with your foot also, remember not to push into pain. Do this every 1-2 hours (little and often)

Footwear: Wearing good supportive footwear with heel and arch support(such as your runners) is great as this takes the pressure off the injured ligaments and lets them heal well. DO NOT WEAR HIGH HEELS (Please!).

AND THEN: After the first 48-72 hours of doing this, click over to the next stage of rehab exercises to get started rehabilitating your sprained ankle or skip the hassle and download our comprehensive Sprained Ankle Recovery Guide.

 

And remember you still use ice after the first few days whenever it is sore or swollen.

 


Health, neck pain

Migraine & Headache Relief | Effective, Proven Self-Treatment

• By

Headaches and Migraines are not being treated the right way. If you are relying on medication, supplements or “posture correction”, you aren’t going to get any headache relief.

This post outlines what is really behind 80-90% of headaches and gives you the self-treatment that helps or cures 80% of neck-related headaches and migraines!(1)

Headaches have become a normal thing for people to have due to how common they are but don’t need to be. They are often put down as caused by dilated blood vessels, tight muscles at the base of the head, hormones etc. This often means the underlying cause is missed and the problem isn’t resolved long term. Head pain can be debilitating at times and at others just simply niggly and annoying but covering that up with pain medication won’t solve things long term.

Actually, a huge 97% of those affected by headaches and migraines, still don’t know the cause, even after scans and tests etc.

Luckily we may have the headache relief you are after,

What causes Headache and Migraines

The good news is that there has been some great new research done over the last 10 years.

This research has found that the cause behind the majority of headaches and migraines is sensitization to the brainstem. A number of recent studies have determined that the one underlying common factor in tension-type headache and migraine sufferers is a sensitized trigemino-cervical nucleus – the lower part of your brainstem.

What causes this sensitization

Dysfunction in the upper part of your neck, specifically the upper three vertebrae is the first stage. This can be caused by a number of things, including stress, head posture, trauma or injury. This then causes pain signals to be sent to your brainstem over and over again, leading to the brainstem becoming more sensitized.

When the brainstem becomes sensitized, it is essentially hypersensitive and can handle less and less negative input before it becomes irritated, which manifests as pain felt in the head. Once your brainstem is sensitized, it is then easier for different stimuli to cause a headache, such as hormones, sustained posture, stress and poor nutrition (or even coffee and chocolate!).

How can headaches and migraines be cured

The Waston Headache Approach and some good recent studies have recognized a previously unrecognized underlying cause of headaches and migraines. These studies (1,2) show that:

  • 90% of headache and migraine sufferers do have shortened muscles at the top of their neck (base of the skull) which act to create joint stiffness
  • Most important: If a patients head pain can be reproduced through specific palpation on points over the top 3 vertebrae in the neck then the neck in most likely involved.
  • If the head pain can then be eased or resolved with sustained treatment on that area, then that confirms the neck involvement.

Basically treatment that gives great headache relief and helps fix them for good eases the tension in the sub-occipital muscles AND helps desensitize the brainstem. The treatment is sustained pressure on the area that brings on your head pain – this done regularly over 4-6 weeks has awesome results.

The best Self-Treatment for Headache relief

Sustained pressure on the upper cervical vertebrae is the answer to a lot of head pain and the great thing is – you can treat yourself!

Sustained pressure can be applied through a few different ways, but the easiest way to do yourself is to use a headache relief tool a peanut.

These tools are designed to apply sustained pressure on the upper 2-3 vertebrae and muscles overlying them. This improves mobility, releases tight muscle AND helps de-sensitize the brain-stem

Addressing the cause. Not just the symptoms

Lie on your back and place the headache relief tool at the very top of your neck (at the base of your skull). Adjust the position until you get a point where the pressure brings on your head pain.

Hold this position until the pain has eased, which typically takes 1-2 minutes.

You can then rest in that position for longer or move position slightly to find another spot.

Give it a go and immediate relief is often felt!

headache relief

Note: A cheaper option for a self-treatment tool that still gives great relief is a Peanut

Headache Relief that doesn’t break the bank, is effective AND doesn’t need medication – How could you not give it a try?

Enjoy.


Health, Hip pain

Three Ways to Help Hip Pain

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Hip pain treatment

If you have suffered chronic hip pain before, you can probably attest to how uncomfortable and nerve-wracking it can be. Hip pain can turn the most simple and natural activities, like climbing a flight of stairs to your apartment or taking that evening stroll at the park, into completely horrible ordeals. This great guest post is here to help with that by giving you three great ways to help hip pain.

 

The majority of hip pain cases can be attributed to arthritis, bursitis and tendonitis or injury. If you’re an older adult, you could also experience hip pain due to hip fractures, as your bones become brittle and weak. The cause of your pain may be any of these factors or more, which is why it is very important that you get an official diagnosis from your doctor before you proceed with any form of treatment.

Although most people quickly consider surgery to relieve them of their affliction, going under the knife is hardly the best way to relieve your hip pain. There are plenty of ways in which you can ease your pain without having to pay a fortune to undergo surgery. These include:

 

1.  Engage In Physiotherapy Exercises for hip pain

Although experiencing pain and discomfort in your hips can greatly hamper your mobility, engaging in physio exercises is key to strengthening your hip muscles and relieving your pain.

Physio exercises like the clams, buttock squeezes and hip presses, for instance, are very beneficial if your pain is caused by bursitis or gluteal tendinopathy. However, it is worth remembering, that not all physio exercises are appropriate for all cases of hip pain. You should ensure that you consult your doctor or experienced Physiotherapist. They can advise on which physio exercises you should engage in relative to your diagnosis.

2. Take Pain-Relieving Medication

If your hip pain is caused by inflammation of the joints, you may want to seek advice on getting relief through non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These drugs offer pain relief by blocking the enzymes that create inflammation-inducing chemicals. With the help of drugs like aspirin and Ibuprofen, you will ease the pain in your hips for long periods of time. You should, however, seek and follow the advice of your doctor so they can recommend the right drugs and dosage for you as well as educate you on possible side effects so you can make an informed decision on which one works for you.

Note: medication should only be taken as prescribed and recommended by your pharmacist or doctor

hip pain physio

3. Get Some Braces and Orthotics

Knee braces are very effective at relieving hip pain because they offer support for your joints and ensure that you’re walking or standing posture is not abnormal.

Poor posture puts a strain on the hips and can cause hip pain. In addition to braces, orthotics also relieve hip pain by preventing your feet from rolling around in your shoes and straining your hip muscles. Your doctor or physio or another therapist will recommend the most appropriate of these depending on your condition.

 

Even though living with hip pain can be a daily nightmare, it most certainly doesn’t have to be that way for you. With these simple non-surgical methods of pain relief, you will greatly reduce the amount of pain in your hip and be able to live a normal and productive life free from the debilitating effects of hip pain.

By Kathryn Morris, Health & Lifestyle Blogger

 

Related posts:

Trochanteric Bursitis – The best exercises and self-treatment

Hip Arthritis – Self Management Exercises


Health

Torn Ligament or Pulled Muscle? The Acute Injury Management Guide

• By

If you have an injured ligament or pulled muscle or have ever been held back by a strain or a sprain – you NEED to know this.

This is what can literally halve your recovery time.

Recommendations for acute injury management has changed over the last ten years and sometimes it can take a while for the latest updates to dribble down to everyone. So, in light of that, we thought we would give you a simple, easy to follow guide and explanation that will help you recover from a pulled muscle super fast.

RICE, PRICE or POLICE?

RICE is still the most well-known acronym for looking after pulled muscles and stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. It still works ok but was some time ago replaced by PRICE which ads in Protection to the mix.

Now for the last few years, we have had that replaced with POLICE and it makes total sense. It was found that far too many injuries were being treated passively with the R component of RICE and PRICE which lead to stiffness and weakness developing after pulled muscles or sprains. Replacing Rest with Optimal Loading – optimal for your injury – has made a huge difference.

See below for a summary poster about P.O.L.I.C.E and check out below that for a more detailed explanation:

POLICE acute ankle sprain treatment heal fast

Image used with permission from the book “The Sprained Ankle Recovery Guide”

Protect

A short period of unloading is required for pulled muscles and ligaments to heal well. It is effectively allowing it a chance to lay down a scab.

This is not full rest though, it just means avoiding aggressive movements and exercise that can affect initial healing and worsen the injury – and listen to your body.

Optimal Loading

This means you should load the injured tissue, whether it be a pulled muscle or twisted ankle, within reason and gradually increase. This is effectively encouraging the use of a rehab program where you have exercises that specifically load the injured area in a controlled and incremental way.

Tissue heals according to the load that is put through it. Loading it the right may mean it heals well and heals strong.

Ice

Ice helps decrease pain and blood flow to the injured area, assisting in being above to load optimally. Ideal usage is 10-20 minutes every two hours.

Compression

This is potentially more beneficial that ice.

Compression gives support to the injured muscle – such as a pulled calf muscle – and helps enhance proprioception.  The compression also has the well-known benefit of helping decrease swelling around the injured area.

Ensure the compression is not so tight that it causes discomfort or messes with your blood flow.

Elevation

Elevation uses the power of gravity to help the interstitial fluid – which is the fluid that leaks out of blood vessels after injury and causes swelling – go back to the heart. It helps speed up the swelling being taken away in the lymphatic vessels, which are like the gutter system of the body

A comment on ICE

There is some contention as to whether ICE and particularly the ice aspect of that should be included in the guidelines. There is, however, now more positives than negatives to using ice so it has been retained for now.(1)


Health

The Sprained Ankle Recovery Guide – Free Amazon Download

• By

We are very excited to release our new eBook this week and want to make it available for our loyal followers to download for. It is free just for three days after launch, so make sure you grab a sprained ankle recovery guide quick.

The Sprained Ankle Recovery Guide is a comprehensive compilation of our most popular past articles on ankle sprain rehab combined with recommendations from recent research and a simple, easy to follow rehab plan.

The guide takes you from day one of an ankle sprain, right through to clearance testing that a physio would use on you to make sure that you really are ready to go again. There is also of course advice on the use of braces and when to see a doctor and you can jump in at whichever stage you are at.

So, help us out while helping yourself out and download the new eBook, let us know what you think and please review it if you like it!

Enjoy. (click the image below)

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.


Back pain, Chronic Pain, Health

Acupressure Mats: Fad or Effective?

• By

Acupressure matWe have a bit of a different blog post from us here. Instead of the usual effective rehab exercises and advice, we decided to take a close look at Acupressure mats or Shakti mats, a product that is regularly used to ease pain and stress.

Over the last couple of years Acupressure mats, often known as Shakti mats, have massively increased in popularity so we decided to find out whether it is all smart marketing or a great drug-free pain reliever.

Acupuncture and acupressure have been used for over 2000 years in eastern medicine but only for the last hundred years have they been embraced among Western health professionals and with this, has come research into just how acupressure and acupressure mats help.

What is an Acupressure Mat

An acupressure mat is a soft foam mat covered in hundreds and thousands of little spikes. It is effectively a modern-day bed of nails with spines placed specifically really close together so that you can lie your bodyweight on them without breaking the skin.

There are acupressure mats (Shakti mats) for the body, neck, back and even feet and can all be a little painful to start with. For most people starting using an acupressure mat with a shift on is a good idea.

To summarize, they are spiky, uncomfortable mats that make you feel surprisingly good afterwards. We are going to go into how this is possible, below.

What exactly do Acupressure Mats do

There are a lot of claims out there (as for most things) as to what acupressure mats help. These range from stress and pain relief to improved healing and weight loss! So we thought we would go through all these claims and try and figure out from the evidence and a little research, how and if acupressure mats do help.

Stress Management: True.

One of the biggest effects acupressure has is to stimulate the release of serotonin. By applying pressure, this stimulates our body into releasing this in a way that is basically our body going “ow that hurts, I’m going to make myself feel better”. serotonin is our bodies feel-good hormone and plays a big part in regulating mood and decreasing stress and anxiety.

Blood Circulation: True

Local blood flow is stimulated to the area. Similar to if you get a massage and afterwards the skin is redder, the tissue warmer etc. This can help to boost healing and recovery, particularly after running or sports events.

Digestion: True.

Serotonin comes in again here as serotonin plays a big part in your digestive system. It helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting.

Weight Loss: Maybe.

Through improving digestion and gut movement as above, the release of serotonin stimulated by acupressure mats could help regulate body weight

Nausea: False.

It depends which part of your body is stimulated but acupressure can actually cause nausea at times

Cold/Flu: Unsure.

We could not find any solid research that shows that acupressure mats help recover from sickness but some acupressure points in the neck can help with sinus relief etc.

Constipation: True.

Serotonin again, as per above helps regulate gut movement so could definitely help with this

Brain Functions: True

Through the release of serotonin and natural painkillers, brain function is improved in terms of mood at least. Acupressure has been shown to help with depression and mental state.

Pain Relief: True.

The other big way that acupressure mats, acupressure and acupuncture help is in their pain relieving ability. After 15-20 minutes of lying on an acupressure or Shakti mat, our spinal cord and brainstem release natural opioid painkillers

Relaxation: True

Give both mental and physical relaxation to your body

Examples of research:

This study shows how acupressure is more effective than muscle relaxant therapy from headaches, and this lasted for 6 months

This one shows that acupressure can give an immediate improvement in anxiety levels

Conclusion

Acupressure Mats are not something to be ignored if you have chronic pain, stress and anxiety, trouble sleeping or want to do everything you can to help recover faster. There is definitely some scientific reasoning and research backing up its use although not all research is conclusive or agrees.

Try it for yourself, and let us know – there’s plenty to chose from on Amazon.


Back pain

Sciatica | Immediate Relief with Traction

• By

sciatica treatment with inversion tableSciatica is one of the most painful, common and debilitating nerve pains there is. Luckily, an effective treatment method is right at your fingertips.

Half the patients we see in our clinic our back pain patients and sciatica is a common issue, causing a lot of pain and limitation.

But there is something else that we have noticed as well, often, a patient with sciatica has come in for a follow up significantly better after using an Inversion Table of a friend or family member. The nerve pain has improved markedly afterward.

Due to this, we started looking into it further, and even though there isn’t any high-level solid research showing that it works every time, there is both theoretical and anecdotal evidence to say that it really does help relieve sciatica and low back pain.


Note: Various forms of lumbar traction has been used for the relief of pain since the time of Hippocrates. So this is in no way a new thing. It is now just far more accessible!


Sciatica is not a diagnosis

Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying back pathology. That helps a lot in understanding how traction and inversion tables help relieve back pain and sciatica.

The nerve pain that people with sciatica feel are pain referral due to nerve irritation or compression somewhere higher up in the low back by the real cause. This underlying cause is what needs to be treated.

Often sciatica and other forms of back-related pain are due to a number of underlying pathologies, including:

  • Stenosis – Narrowing of the spine, where the nerves travel through
  • Spondylosis – This is effectively Osteoarthritis of the spine
  • Degenerated discs
  • Herniated or prolapsed discs

Note: You do not need to have sciatica or nerve pain for this to be relevant to you.

How Inversion tables actually helps sciatica

how traction tables help low back pain, sciatica

Short answer:

By inverting your body, your spine is tractioned. This improves the space around the nerves as well as stimulating healing and flow of fluid.

Long answer:

Traction of the vertebrae changes the position of the nucleus pulposus. This is the gooey part of your intervertebral disc. Tractioning the vertebra has been shown to improve space and reduce pressure on the disc. This also increases the area of the lateral foramen where the spinal nerves exit.(1) It isn’t known how well this maintains once full bodyweight is back on your spine though.

We often get asked for recommendations, so here is a quick link to the most popular, most affordable Inversion table on Amazon:

 sciatica treatment with tilt tableAre inversion tables safe to use

When instructions are followed, yes they are.

The main things to remember are to have someone with you to help if needed and check with your GP first to ensure there are no medical issues that may not be able to handle the change in position, such as a cardiac condition.

How far should you tilt on an inversion table

Studies show that you need to have at least 26% of your body weight force on your spine to achieve an effect on your low back.

Maitland suggests 30-45kg weight to be ideal on average, so it does not need to be your entire body weight and often just part of half way can achieve the required effect.(2)

Conclusion

The evidence is inconclusive on traction and inversion tables but anectdotally and theoretically that can be beneficial in helping relieve low back pain and sciatica. If you have had experience with low back pain and inversion therapy, let us know how it helped you.

Looking for more? We have compiled all the best info in one, complete, evidence based rehab guide


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