Teeter Hang Ups are a line of inversion tables designed to make it easy to recline in an inverted position by one's ankles. The user controls the degree of inversion -- from reclining just a few degrees (recommended for new users) to completely upside down. "In theory, inversion therapy takes gravitational pressure off the nerve roots and disks in your spine and increases the space between vertebrae," Dr. Edward R. Laskowski explains. The manufacturer doesn't claim any medical or health benefits beyond temporary relief of back pain, and adds it's not for everyone.
By far, most of the user-written reviews we found say the Teeter Hang Ups inversion table works, with owners reporting consistent pain relief plus a pleasant sense of stretching. At Amazon.com, for example, hundreds of users review various Teeter Hang Ups models and about 90 percent give it 4 stars or more. We've included feedback from reviews on older versions of the Teeter Hang Ups, since the main design has not been altered and the product has only seemed to improve.
Reviews say it's important to seek medical advice before using an inversion table. Persons with certain medical conditions, such as glaucoma or bone weakness, should not use inversion tables, experts caution. Professional reviews of inversion tables at WebMD.com say pain relief is temporary, and the experts we consulted are not convinced of any long-term benefits to spine health.
Berkeley Wellness, a collaboration between the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley and a national team of writers and editors, does not recommend inversion tables, as they "can have serious side effects, including increased blood pressure and bleeding into the retina." If you are considering purchasing one, we highly recommend consulting your doctor first.
Most users find the Teeter Hang Ups inversion table sturdy and well made. Plus, it comes with a five-year warranty covering all components. At approximately 70 pounds, Teeter Hang Ups can support users up to 300 pounds. Its robust build makes it somewhat difficult to move, according to some users, but they add the pain relief is worth it.
Users do urge watching the instructional DVD carefully, and some warn against using the device without someone nearby in case you need help. The main complaint we found from users is that using an inversion table can be hard on the ankles. Gravity Boots (Est. $100), designed to minimize pressure and strain on the ankles, are one possible solution recommended by the About.com reviewer.
This medical collaboration between the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley and a national team of writers and editors does not review the Teeter Hang Ups specifically, but discusses the practice of traction -- applying force to the spine so that the vertebrae are pulled apart slightly -- for back pain relief. The authors especially recommend against inversion tables.
Review: Ask the Experts: Lumbar Traction, Editors of BerkeleyWellness.com, March 1, 2012
2. Mayo Clinic
This short yet informative article explains how inversion therapy works, advising that it does not provide lasting relief from back pain and could be risky for people with certain health issues. The Teeter Hang Ups table is not specifically mentioned.
Review: Inversion Therapy: Can It Relieve Back Pain?, Edward R. Laskowski, M.D., June 24, 2011
Colette Bouchez recommends against inversion for anything more than very temporary relief of back pain, saying the effects don't last long. Like other sources, this article warns that inversion treatments may be dangerous for those with several medical conditions.
Review: Inversion Boots, Colette Bouchez, Dec. 4, 2007
Well over 200 users leave feedback for the Teeter Hang Ups EP-950 inversion table and give it 4.7 out of 5 stars. Other models, such as the EP-550, receive similar ratings and feedback. The vast majority of owners are more than satisfied with the quality of the table and say they have found relief from back pain.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups EP-950 Inversion Table, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2013
This article discusses whether inversion therapy actually heals back pain. The authors consult Dr. John R. Corcoran, the director of inpatient therapy services at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups Review -- Does Inversion Therapy Heal Back Pain?, Editors of Viewpoints.com, April 26, 2010
This brief review by the About.com guide to holistic healing is based on her personal experience with the Teeter Hang Ups F5000 inversion table. She notes that it can be uncomfortable if used without boots and that the "spring-loaded ankle bar is a bit tricky." She recommends getting medical advice before trying an inversion table. The F5000 is an older version of the Teeter Hang Ups but shares the same basic design. Common complaints, such as the "tricky" spring-loaded ankle bar, have been addressed in newer models.
Review: Hang Ups F5000 Inversion Table, Phylameana Lila Desy, Not Dated
Over two dozen users report on whether inversion therapy helped them. Almost all say it has worked. Most reviewers have back pain, but several have chronic pain, fibromyalgia or ankylosing spondylitis. The Teeter Hang Ups is not specifically mentioned.
Review: Inversion Therapy, Contributors to DailyStrength.org, As of 2013
ExpoTV.com contains video reviews for a few different versions of the Teeter Hang Ups. Each reviewer demonstrates the product's use and gives their opinion. They highly recommend the Teeter Hang Ups, saying it helps with their lower back pain immensely.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups, Contributors to ExpoTV.com, As of 2013
Twenty users give the Teeter Hang Ups F5000 inversion table an excellent rating. However, one user reports that a defective foot release caused severe pain and would have been disastrous if she'd been using the equipment alone. Of newer models, the EP-550 is also listed but is not rated, and the EP-950 receives two 5-star reviews from consumers.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups F5000 Inversion Table, Contributors to Epinions.com, As of 2013
Two exercise physiologists from the American Council on Exercise advise against using an inversion table for exercising. They say it often strains the lower back in men and is dangerous for several medical conditions. However, both experts' comments are brief and do not address all uses of the device.
Review: Workout Devices Get Rated, Jeanie Lerche Davis, Not Dated