Inversion Table for Sciatica?

First of all, thank you ever so much for your website! I'm a consecrated fan of Chiropractic since 1980, which was the first time my legs simply gave out on me and I had to have help to get back up. DC's have helped me out from practical paralysis on at least two occasions, maybe even three, and I'm forever grateful for their service and their work. I've even switched MD's for not believing in Chiros! SO THERE! I'm diagnosed with sciatica and other complications on the lumbar and cervical zones and recently purchased an inversion table but my present DC told me it could provoke a slipped or herniated disc, while I feel it has benefited me. Can you comment on this for me, please? Once again, THANKS SO MUCH for your site and Newsletter! VERY educational and I have recommended it.


Hello AY,
Many thanks for your compliments, much appreciated.

You know, anything can cause anything! I have an inversion traction unit myself, and I feel it has value in the practice, but I must confess I've seen no research on them. So I can't categorically agree or disagree with your chiropractor.

I think it most unlikely that it could CAUSE a slipped disc as you are distracting the discs, reducing the pressure in the disc. But whether it can be scientifically shown that it helps for sciatica or not, I'm really not certain. I'll do some homework on the research.

But I always say, "If it works for you, then do it."

Your blood pressure okay? That's the one very definite contra-indication for inversion traction.

Even though your chiro disapproves, I wouldn't withhold from him that you are using it. He should know... and after all it is your body! But do listen to his viewpoint, evaluate it for yourself.

I hope this contributes,

Dr B

My blog:

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May 06, 2012
Regarding What is levoscoliosis
by: Alvey

AHA! Regarding your What is levoscoliosis? reply, I truly appreciate the explanations. This is great!


Many of these terms are explained in a the context of patients with these sorts of problems. See Frog, Bats and Clogs at my other site, Light informative reading.

Dr. B

Apr 29, 2012
What is levoscoliosis?
by: Alvey

I read in the report from the CT Scan of my Lumbar Spine, that "LEVOSCOLIOSIS of the lumbar spine is noted as well.", but the meaning of this was not explained to me. It also says that " the L4-L5 disc space level...there is mild central spinal stenosis and foraminal stenosis..." What are these?

We doctors try to make something seem more impressive by the use of Latin terms. Lumbago sounds much more serious than low back pain!

Levo simply means left, it's a term not usually used as it could be left convex or left concave. But the conventional would be to say left convex scoliosis.

One important factor to think about with a scoliosis is to check for a short leg, again "leg length inequality" sounds more impressive, you can charge more!

A heel lift, or full inner may help, the difference important, as the thickness of the lift. I say MAY advisedly.

It could be a very mild levo scoliosis, or severe, we're not told. Mild are very common.

Stenosis means narrowing. You can narrowing of the central spinal canal, and narrowing of the forament where the nerve exits. Mild is the operative word, don't get too excited about it.

Perhaps more important than either traction, or the inner in your shoe, is a disciplined daily set of exercises before getting out of bed every morning. See our Lower back exercises on Youtube.


Dr B

My blog:

Apr 22, 2012
More Kudos
by: Alvey

Just thought I'd say how much I had been enjoying your site until you responded so quickly to my inquiry. Now I'm thrilled!
But a little confused. I thought one purpose for traction was the hydration of the discs and surely the inversion table shouldn't place as much stress as a horizontal traction table, which have hurt my lower back in the past when another DC tried it, although it did wonders for my neck. In fact, I have a "Posture Pump" for my neck that helps me a lot, as does my TENS unit.
I do thank you also for your concern about my blood pressure, which is typically good, but I will start checking before inverting from now on, just in case.
Let me confess that as many times as I had read your newsletter, I had not noticed your books, but I now intend to order soon. And I'll also make sure my DC knows about the site. Please do stay well yourself and thanks again.

Dear Alvey,
The dynamics of horizontal and vertical traction are different. Similar yet different. So, one might help, another not.

As a general rule, traction, probably both types, would help with facet syndromes. But with disc syndromes you have to be more careful. The postero-medial disc bulge is often aggravated by traction.

I'll have to peddle my books more shamelessly in my newsletter!

Have a fijn weekend.


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