The Pitch: Target back pain at the source in just minutes a day!
The Verdict: Check with your doctor first, then, if you're medically cleared, give it a try.
Teeter Hang Ups are a line of inversion tables designed to make it easy to recline in an inverted position by attaching one's ankles to the bottom via straps or boots, and then tilting the entire table toward the floor. The resultant "stretch" is said to be effective in relieving back pain. The user controls the degree of inversion -- from reclining just a few degrees (recommended for new users) to almost completely upside down.
The manufacturer of Teeter Hang Ups doesn't claim any medical or health benefits beyond temporary relief of back pain, and adds that inversion tables are not suitable for everyone due to various health factors. That list of contraindications is fairly long, and includes those with heart disease, glaucoma and high blood pressure. A complete list of contraindications can be found on Teeter's FAQ page.
We strongly advise that you consult with your doctor before using any inversion table. They can cause more problems than they solve if you have an undiagnosed medical condition that may be exacerbated by inversion.
Having made that clear, Teeter Hang Ups get very high reviews from those who say it definitely helps their back pain. Many people use it every day, for a few minutes a day, and some say they've owned one for years, or are on their second model after wearing out their first. Owners report consistent pain relief plus a pleasant sense of stretching.
While we did not find any expert reviews specific to the Teeter Hang Ups inversion table, the medical consensus on the use of inversion for back pain seems to be mostly in line with the user reviews. Most health professionals say that inversion therapy may provide temporary relief for some, especially when used in conjunction with a comprehensive therapeutic program for relieving back pain, but it does not provide long term benefits. Many users note that they use the Teeter Hang Ups along with exercises for improving core and overall fitness, and that using their Teeter daily provides them with ongoing relief.
Other medical professionals disagree, saying inversion therapy does not help at all, and some worry that people will use it without first being cleared by their doctor -- a valid concern. Again, we urge you to consult your personal care physician.
One suggestion we noted from users, professionals and the manufacturer: start small. Begin by trying a very slight inversion and gradually work up to steeper grades. Users also urge watching the instructional DVD carefully, and some warn against using the device without someone nearby in case you need help.
The Teeter Hang Ups inversion table is reported as very sturdy and well made by owners. It comes with a five-year warranty covering all components. At approximately 70 pounds, Teeter Hang Ups can support users up to 300 pounds, but it can be somewhat difficult to move around and it has a fairly large footprint. It is said to be easy to assemble, most owners say it took them 15 to 30 minutes
The base model of the Teeter Hang Ups is about $300 -- in line with other inversion tables of similar quality. There are no shipping and handling charges if ordered from the manufacturer's website. There also is an option of a 30-day in home trial for $14.95; we did not see any comments from anyone who tried it and then returned it under that 30-day program. The Teeter costs slightly more at Amazon.com, but Prime members get free, two-day shipping.
Teeter Hang Ups Reviews
In more than 250 reviews, the Teeter Hang Ups Inversion Table earns an impressive overall average rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. It gets a lot of love from those who suffer from low back pain and sciatica, with most owners saying it has helped them tremendously -- a few even say it has saved them from choosing to have surgery. Quite a few commenters say you don't need to invert as extremely as in the commercials; that even a very slight angle helps.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups EP-550 Inversion Therapy Table, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of March 2015
The Teeter Hang Ups Inversion Table gets an overall average of 4.4 stars out of 5 at HSN.com. A few say they purchased this model to replace one they had for years that finally wore out. As with Amazon.com, reviewers rave about the relief they get from back soreness. The rating is brought down somewhat by shipping issues that have nothing to do with the product itself. A few do note that the Teeter Inversion Table is heavy and requires more assembly than the commercial implies.
Review: Teeter Hang Ups EP-860 Inversion Table with Flexible ComforTrak™ Bed, Lumbar Bridge and Acupressure Nodes, Contributors to HSN.com, As of March 2015
Brett Sears, About.com's physical therapy expert, offers a thorough overview of using inversion tables to treat low back pain. While this is not specific to the Teeter Hang Ups, it's information anyone should be aware of before purchasing an inversion table. The conclusion: It may or may not help, but get your doctor's permission before trying an inversion table to be sure you don't have any health issues that may be exacerbated by inversion.
Review: Does an Inversion Table Help Low Back Pain?, Brett Sears, Dec. 16, 2014
4. Mayo Clinic
In this very brief article, Dr. Edward Laskowski says that inversion therapy does not provide lasting relief from back pain and that it's not safe for everyone. However, he does note that it can provide temporary relief as part of a comprehensive treatment program for back pain.
Review: Does inversion therapy relieve back pain? Is it safe?, Edward R. Laskowski, M.D. , June 9, 2014