Below is a quick review of common products that we get asked about and a brief response for each: Inversion tables: Inversion tables can be an excellent tool in helping to relieve some causes of low back pain. It works by using gravity to help stretch muscles and temporarily decompress discs. Like anything, there are some risks and contraindications for using an inversion table. You should consult a doctor before buying one of these machines. http://www.backandbodysolutions.com/inversion.html
Mattresses: If you wake up with back pain, often times it is because of how you are sleeping or what you are sleeping on. I advise patients to stay away from super soft or super firm mattresses. Both extremes have their own problems. Below is a link to a well-constructed page about mattresses and the different types. http://www.factsaboutmattresses.com/
Supplements: Supplements are just what the name implies. They SUPPLEMENT a person’s diet. Ideally, we would get all the nutrients we need from our diet. Unfortunately, that usually doesn’t happen. With supplements, you usually get what you pay for. Cheap supplements are pretty much worthless. In fact, they can be so ineffective that undigested pills have been seen on x-ray. If you have a specific question about supplements, leave a comment and we will answer them.
Exercise equipment: The biggest thing I tell patients here is if you plan on buying something, get what you will use. If you buy a treadmill but hate running or walking, you may use it for a little bit and then it will start to collect dust. As far as weights go, there is so much you can do without a big machine. Free weights are a great way to go because the possibilities with those are limitless. There are numerous resources on exercises with free weight ranging from 1 pound to upwards of 50 pounds. http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/strengthtraining/a/usingfreeweight.htm
Shoes: Comfort and support. This one is fairly self-explanatory. Take a shoe and do a few simple movements with it to stress it and test flexibility and support. A link is added that explains the steps of testing out a shoe. http://walking.about.com/cs/shoes/a/shoeflex.htm