Hearing symptoms and dizziness after use of an inversion table.

Timothy C. Hain, MD

Most recent update: January 11, 2023 : This page is not written for or intended for use in legal endeavors.

Inversion table (from Walmart.com)

Inversion table graphic from "walmart.com". Accessed 1/1/2023

Occasionally patients develop dizziness or hearing deficits after use of an inversion table for treatment of low back pain. This page attempts to review literature concerning complications of inversion therapy, and specifically dizziness or hearing deficits.

The literature about inversion tables is scanty and there were only 10 papers (in total) in Pubmed as of 1/11/2023.

Inversion tables involve having the head upside down, and can cause symptoms from the unusual position as well as from the pressure increase in the head related to the head being lower than the heart. There are also injuries from falls. There are no reports of BPPV following inversion table use, although anterior canal BPPV would seem to be a risk to us.

We have encountered two cases with symptoms following inversion table use. One patient developed dizziness and tinnitus, tentatively attributed to a PLF (perilymph fistula). Another developed a lightheaded sensation that persisted for years, tentatively attributed to cervical vertigo, combined with several other medical problems.

Overall, inversion tables do not have a high rate of reported complications in the literature.