Teeter Hang Ups is an inversion device advertised as a way to treat back problems. Today we take a closer look at the product, and seek consumer reviews.
The debilitating nature of back pain has led to a large industry devoted to back pain relief. Today we revisit the Teeter Hang Ups inversion device, which is claimed to aid in back pain, and which we have tried.
The concept of inversion is simple: the patient is suspended either at an angle or upside down using the pull of gravity upon one’s spine. It is claimed that it takes pressure off of the spine and provides relief.
Not all doctors specializing in back pain recommend inversion, for a variety of reasons. We asked Dr. Lon Kalapp, a chiropractor in California, his thoughts on inversion devices. He responded, “My practice has been filled with patients who felt this would fix their back problems. I never recommend inversion to people over 50…” This video from another chiropractor also discusses the differences between decompression and inversion.
The Teeter FAQ states, “…be sure to consult with your physician before inverting.” The website’s “Contraindications” also notes, “…a back stretcher or inversion table is not for everyone.”
Medical professionals warn that you should not use inversion devices if you have glaucoma, recent or unhealed fractures, ear infection, hernias, high blood pressure, or if you are pregnant.
The Teeter device isn’t new or necessarily unique, but it is arguably the most heavily-advertised and well-known. There are a variety of models, ranging from about $229 all the way up to their $519 Contour L5. When we first looked at the Teeter online catalog in late 2012, there was a $1499 Contour Power model, which no longer appears to be available.
As of late 2014, there is an As Seen on TV offer for Teeter Hang Ups. They are offering the EP-960 model for a trial price of $14.95 along with 3 monthly payments of $99.95, with free shipping.
Depending on the model you get, the weight capacity will be about 300 pounds. The height range is 4’8″ to 6’6″.
Teeter Hang Ups are available at some local retailers, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Our Teeter Hang Ups Review
We tested a Teeter device, as well as other inversion products. On the positive side, the EP-550 Teeter model we tested was very well-constructed. Other devices with similar designs have seemed flimsy, similar to the cheap gym equipment you’d find at Wal-Mart. While we wouldn’t swear by inversion devices, there are occasions when our testers enjoyed the stretching sensation. You can invert yourself to a variety of angles, to the point where you are upside down. We found some angles more comfortable than others. The amount of time spent in inversion and the angle of inversion are all a matter of preference.
- Ankle Hooks: The Teeter model we used had rather uncomfortable ankle hooks, especially when hanging at steep angles. It only took a couple of minutes before feet started to hurt in this position. Other models include more comfortable boots, and these can be ordered separately. We found that wearing two pairs of thick socks helped a little.
- Folding Feature. We found the folding process to be so cumbersome that one tester almost hurt his back in doing so.
- Price. The better Teeters are on the high end of the price range. It may be worth it to check out some competing products.
- Assembly. This product may not be easy to assemble for some people. The box ours came in weighed about 60 pounds. One tester’s elderly parents, both of whom have back problems, could not have put it together easily, so we assembled it for them. Be sure to watch the DVD, which includes assembly instructions which are easier to understand than the written instructions.
- Inversion. Some angles of inversion felt much more comfortable than others. Some angles felt quite uncomfortable.
- Self-Treatment. Self-treating back problems without any supervision can be risky, and it is possible to make your back problems worse, as several chiropractors have suggested to us. Not all back pain has the same cause or the same cure. While inversion devices may be well-suited to certain back issues, it may do more harm than good for other types.
- Made in China. This is an issue for some people, but obviously isn’t related to the product’s effectiveness.
One tester’s father has severe back problems and wanted to try out the Teeter Hang Ups. In his case, it was not a good match at all. His back problems were perhaps too severe, and he complained that it was uncomfortable, nor did he like the sensation of being inverted. He tried it for about a month, but didn’t feel as though there was much benefit from it. Some have suggested that it might take 2 months to see any benefit.
The overall consensus is that this is a well-made piece of equipment.
Online reviews for Teeter Hang Ups are generally positive, and vary depending on the model. At Dick’s, the NXT-S has a 4.5-star rating, while the EP-550 (the same model we tried) also boasts a 4.5 star rating. Searching for objective reviews online, however, is always a challenge, and one should take Amazon reviews with a grain of salt. A common marketing ploy involves companies infiltrating sites like Yelp and Amazon with planted (fake) reviews. It should also be noted that Teeter’s biggest competitor, the Ironman Gravity, has about the same ratio of positive reviews. It’s difficult to reconcile this experiences and warnings from chiropractors. For this reason, we’re seeking reviews from our readers. Have you tried Teeter Hang Ups? We want your thoughts – good, bad, or indifferent.
Take a look at one of the Teeter Hang Ups commercials:
Below you can see a chart of Google searches regarding Teeter Hang Ups. It would appear that the product tends to receive its heaviest marketing during the holiday season, with a significant surge in interest coming in December 2013.
Inversion devices may help some types of back pain, but you may want to get your back checked out before investing hundreds in such a product because not all back pain has the same cause or requires the same treatment. Inversion may or may not help your specific concern.
If you are set on purchasing a Teeter Hang Ups, you may want to purchase locally to avoid shipping costs and delays.
Have you used Teeter Hang Ups, or a similar device? We want to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Revised December 2, 2014
Originally published December 2012