Back pain is an extremely common problem that affects millions of Americans every year and can be especially debilitating the older people get. Just dealing with the pain is bad enough, but when that back pain prevents you from doing things you cherish like going for a bike ride or playing with your kids or grandkids, you know that you NEED to find a solution for a better quality of life.
But what’s the best way to get rid of back pain? Should you have surgery? See a physical therapist for months? Take pain relievers?
While this is a conversation to have between you and your doctor, millions of people have found back pain relief from inversion tables. If you do a little research into inversion tables you’ll quickly find out there’s no better brand name than Teeter.
If you’ve found your way to this Teeter FitSpine review, you may already know a thing or two about inversion tables or have seen the Teeter FitSpine advertisements on TV. You’re probably wondering if it’s too good to be true and want an opinion from someone outside of the company. You’ve found the right article!
I’m going to tell you everything you need to know about the Teeter FitSpine inversion table, how it can help you with your back pain, and if their claims are backed up by science (spoiler alert: they are!).
- X3 PREMIUM FEATURES: Extra-long, aerospace-grade stainless steel ankle lock handle for easy securing. Stretch Assist and Traction Handles for added stretching options and assistance. Acupressure Nodes provide trigger-point release while Lumbar Bridge supports and focuses traction on the lower back. EZ-Angle tether features preset markings at 20, 40, and 60 degrees.
- UNMATCHED COMFORT & SUPPORT: FlexTech Bed with 8-point floating suspension system moves with you for greater range of motion and allows for maximum body slide for better decompression. Grip-and-Stretch Handholds in the bed and frame for added stretching options. Patented wrap-around ankle cups for comfortable, ergonomic fit.
- PRECISION ROTATION FOR TOTAL CONTROL: It's easy to do - simple arm movements shift your body weight so you can effortlessly invert and return to the upright position. Easily adjusts to any angle with optional lock-out in full inversion.
- TRUST TEETER: UL 3rd-Party Safety Certification; Heavy-gauge steel parts with patented security features; 5-Year Full Warranty; Frustration-Free Assembly with Getting Started DVD; Free TeeterLink App; 37-Year Legacy; 300 lb, 4ft 8in- 6ft 6 in user capacity.
- FDA REGISTERED: Teeter Inversion Tables are the ONLY registered with the FDA as a 510(k) medical device. The Teeter is indicated for back pain, muscle tension and spasm, herniated disc, sciatica, degenerative disc disease, spinal degenerative joint disease, spinal stenosis, spinal curvature due to tight muscles and facet syndrome.
Does the Teeter FitSpine Inversion Table Work?
The Teeter FitSpine works by using what’s called spinal decompression to improve the health of your back and spine.
Think of this – from the moment you wake up and get out of bed, gravity is pressing down on your entire body. We’ve grown accustomed to the force of gravity so we don’t even notice it, but all day long your vertebrae are being pressed down into each other along with the weight of your body which the spine supports and holds upright.
Gravity is compressing the spine. This is why some people find back pain relief only when they lay down or recline at certain angles. It temporarily stops the compression from gravity and the weight of your body.
But we can do better than just stopping compression. We can actually use gravity to decompress the spine using an inversion table.
Spinal decompression has been widely studied and found to be effective for many patients. One study found that “pain scores” (ranking how much pain on a scale from 0 to 10) decreased by 4.5 after regular spinal decompression!
Another study found that patients doing physical therapy and using a Teeter inversion table 3 times per week reduced their need for surgery by 70.5% compared to physical therapy alone.
Why Does Spinal Decompression Work?
So the Teeter FitSpine works because it decompresses the spine… but why does spinal decompression help with back pain?
Decompressing the spine helps in a few ways. First, when the vertebrae are spread out more it relieves pinching of the nerves that exit the spine. If you feel like you have nerve pain, this could be because the compression is putting pressure on the nerves.
Another factor in spinal decompression is rejuvenating the discs of the spine. With all the weight and pressure on the spine, it can be difficult for oxygen, fluids, and nutrients to get into the discs. An extended period of spinal decompression can help the discs get recharged and provide lasting effects that can help reduce pain.
Decompression can also help with spinal alignment. If your spine is out of alignment, other areas of the body have to take on extra stress to keep you upright and moving around. By inverting, you stretch the spine and keep your weight from pressing down. This gives your spine the opportunity to realign itself back to a natural alignment, improving your posture as well.
Why the Teeter FitSpine is the Best Inversion Table
So there are plenty of inversion tables out there that can decompress your spine – what makes the Teeter FitSpine the best? Let me walk you through what sets this table apart from the rest.
Pain Relief Features
The entire reason you buy an inversion table is for pain relief, so it makes sense that the Teeter FitSpine has back pain relief features that others do not.
For starters, the table is made from a flexible plastic. You may think that a soft, padded inversion table would be better for you but that’s actually not the case. If you use a padded inversion table, your body will sink into the padding at all angles other than complete inversion, which won’t let your spine decompress as it should.
It would be like laying in a tilted bed – you may feel the blood rush to your head, but it’s not decompressing the spine because gravity is pushing you into the padding, not elongating the spine.
The FitSpine also has acupuncture nodes and a lumbar bridge – all completely removable to your preference. The acupuncture nodes can be moved around the table to help you alleviate any tense muscles causing you pain.
The lumbar bridge can help get traction on your lower back, letting the spine get deeper decompression as the pelvis is anchored by the bridge. Many cheaper tables have a crude lumbar roll that isn’t anatomically designed to be as effective as this one.
One other feature of the FitSpine that you’ll find invaluable as you get more experienced with an inversion table is the grips built into the table. Twisting and stretching while inverting can further help with muscle and back pain.
FitSpine Comfort Features
When you’re inverting for minutes at a time, comfort is important. The more you can relax on the table, the better spinal decompression and pain relief you can get.
It all starts with the ankle locks. All inversion tables lock your ankles in a stationary position while you invert. You’ll essentially be suspended by your ankles when you invert so you need those ankle locks to be secure and comfortable.
Teeter has a patented design for their Ergo-Embrace ankle system that uses a specialty foam and micro-adjusting lock to make sure you get the perfect, customized grip. It’s one-of-a-kind and better than all competitors. I consider this to be the most important feature of the table and the reason why it’s the best on the market.
The FitSpine also comes with a padded headrest which may be useful if you aren’t inverting deeply.
FitSpine Safety Features
Safety is of course of the utmost importance when you’re using an inversion table, and the Teeter brand takes that seriously as well. The FitSpine is the only inversion table to be registered with the FDA as a medical device. This is a pretty big undertaking by Teeter to gain this government designation and it shows they’re serious about the medical benefits the table provides.
Teeter also has their devices certified by Underwriter Labs, a 125-year-old independant company that tests and analyzes products for quality and performance. The FitSpine has been tested and certified for product durability, rotational control during operation, and ease of assembly. You won’t find other inversion tables that have gone through these certification processes!
One other way that Teeter guarantees the safety of their products is through their 5 year warranty and over 3 million devices sold. It’s clear Teeter stands behind the products they sell, knowing they’re made for safe operation for years and years.
Teeter FitSpine Versatility
Some other things worth mentioning about the FitSpine is that it’s made to be as convenient and versatile as possible. For me, it’s important that an inversion table can easily fold up for storage when not in use. The FitSpine certainly fits that bill.
Just take a look at the video below which shows you how the FitSpine can be folded and unfolded in just seconds.
The FitSpine also has a tether attachment with a clip that can be used to set the maximum rotation of the table. When you’re starting out, you may want to try with just a slight inversion of 20 degrees before working your way up to larger numbers.
The FitSpine tether lets you set maximum rotation to 20, 40, and 60 degree settings (where 90 degrees with be complete inversion).
Speaking of complete inversion, the FitSpine can lock at complete inversion to allow you to do advanced stretches or exercises. This is very nice to have for more athletic or advanced inversion table users. Take a look at the video below that explains how it works –
What Health Conditions can the Teeter FitSpine Help With?
Always talk to your doctor before using an inversion table as there are certain medical conditions that make inversion therapy too dangerous to do, though it’s safe for the vast majority of people.
When it comes to the list of ailments the Teeter FitSpine may help with –
- Back Pain
- Herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal degenerative joint disease
- Spinal stenosis
- Spinal curvature due to tight muscles
- Facet syndrome
- Muscle tension
- Muscle spasm
I would say the most common reason people turn to a FitSpine is for lower back pain or sciatica. Spinal decompression is particularly effective at providing instant pain relief in these cases. Here’s a video that explains the best way to use a FitSpine for lower back pain –
What are the Differences Between the FitSpine Models?
Up till now I’ve just referred to the inversion table as a FitSpine, but there are in fact 3 different models that Teeter sells. In reality, these aren’t different models of an inversion table, but different levels of add-ons for the same inversion table.
The FitSpine X1 is the cheapest version, currently priced around $330. This can be considered the “base model” and contains all the great features I already talked about in this review.
I think the X1 is a great option for most users and will give you exactly what you want out of an inversion table. The next models we’ll talk about do have some extras and improvements that I’ll discuss now.
The FitSpine X3 is the next step up from the X1. The most noteworthy change (in my opinion) is the “EZ Reach Ankle System”. What this means is the ankle handle is extended an extra ~18 inches which can make securing and unlocking your ankles from the table easier, as you don’t have to lean over as much.
The X3 also adds “traction handles” and “stretchmax handles”, which are handles connected to the steel A-frame which you may find useful while you invert for stretching.
The X3 currently costs about $450, which is a pretty big step up from the X1. I think the upgraded ankle lock system is really nice to have especially if you have severe back pain, are elderly, or have had issues with other inversion tables pinching your ankles. For the most part though, you’ll get the same health benefits from the X1 as you will for the X3, so don’t feel you need to upgrade if it would break your budget.
The final model is the FitSpine LX9, coming in at ~$500. The LX9 comes with everything from the X3, in addition to a slightly redesigned frame which gives you slightly less incline while stepping into the table. This might make things a bit easier to get on and off, but I don’t think most people will find it to be substantial.
The LX9 also has a “boarding platform”, which is really just a mat at the base of the unit. There’s also a “storage caddy”, which seems like the most silly addition. This is basically a cup holder on the side of the unit which can hold the acupuncture nodes, a water bottle, cell phone, or other personal items.
The thing about an inversion table is you get the benefits from it in just a few minutes at a time and you’re going to be tipped backwards, so drinking water isn’t likely to be a concern. If you wanted to use your phone while inverting you could just keep it in your hand when stepping into the table since you don’t need it for anything else. Even that seems like an unlikely scenario because you need to move your arms to specific positions in order to invert, making it unlikely you’ll be able to hold your phone where you can view it anyways.
For these reasons I would suggest skipping the LX9. The X3 is a great choice if you can afford it due to the upgraded ankle locking system, but the X1 is still a great inversion table that’s going to give you the same health benefits.
Should I Buy a Cheaper Inversion Table?
You can certainly find inversion tables on Amazon in the $100-150 range which is substantially cheaper than a FitSpine but those are also going to be made by companies that don’t specialize in health equipment, so you’re going to be losing a lot of features and special engineering knowledge by cutting the budget.
Think of your inversion table as an investment in your health. The Teeter FitSpine comes with a 5 year warranty. Buying the FitSpine X3 model comes out to just 22 cents per day over the course of 5 years – a minor price to pay for increasing your back health.
I wouldn’t recommend buying a cheaper table that isn’t going to provide as many features or be as reliable in the years that you need to use it.