One question many people have in regard to chiropractic as a modern health modality is whether or not it is safe.
It’s also an issue that many chiropractic organizations have tried to adequately address. In fact, if you look at the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) Frequently Asked Questions page, you can quickly see that this question has the longest and most thorough response.
In it, the ACA explains how the risk of potential adverse effects of chiropractic care is “very small,” and that if a patient does experience any minor discomforts, these generally go away within 24 hours post treatment.
The ACA also points out how other options for dealing with chronic pain, such as taking over-the-counter or prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), present many more documented negative side effects than chiropractic; namely those associated with internal bleeding, potentially developing a drug addiction, and a high risk of experiencing an overdose-related death.
However, another area of concern for some patients involves safety as it relates to the equipment commonly used to assist with chiropractic adjustments. One item on this list is the drop table, a device that, though sometimes scary to patients, offers a number of positive benefits.
Advantages of drop tables
For instance, one of the benefits of using a drop table is that the doctor of chiropractic can adjust the patient’s spine while using less force. This creates an advantage for the DC in that it is easier to coerce the patient’s vertebrae into place, saving the health care provider from undue physical stress, as well as benefiting the patient because they are subjected to less forceful treatment sessions.
Drop tables are also helpful in cases where the patient is pregnant or otherwise larger in size, allowing the DC to utilize movement and gravity to help make a better adjustment. These devices also enable chiropractors to customize the patient’s manipulation to use the right amount of tension for the individual patient and his or her injury or condition.
Despite these benefits, there is still a concern among some patients about whether these devices are actually safe to use. So what can DCs do to help them better understand that drop tables are not going to be harmful to their bodies?
Easing patient concerns
Ryan J. Engstrom, DC, says that at his practice, Level Chiropractic in Colorado, he uses the patient’s first visit as an opportunity to talk about the benefits of using the drop table and demonstrate how it works. This allows the individual to “hear the sound of the drop and see the short distance it drops,” Engstrom says.
Ultimately, this helps to enhance their peace of mind because they can see exactly what will happen, taking the fear associated with the unknown out of the equation. It also enables them to see the drop table in action before experiencing it themselves.
Ryan D. Marshall, DC, owner of Marshall Chiropractic in Oklahoma, says that he does the same for his patients, while also “explaining to them that drop tables have been researched and used for over 50 years of chiropractic care.” Marshall goes on to share how thousands of chiropractors use this very same device so they understand that it is a common tool in the chiropractic field.
Making patients feel safe at subsequent appointments is critical too, and this can be achieved by making sure DCs are consistent with each movement. “Consistency is essential when performing this technique,” Marshall says. “This will ensure each adjustment is done correctly and safely for each patient.”
Additional drop table safety considerations
Another factor to consider is what type of drop table will best ease patient concerns. For instance, Engstrom says that he looks for “a drop table that allows me easy access to the tension knobs and is unlikely to be difficult to perform side posture adjustments without hitting the patient’s knees in the process.”
Marshall adds, “I always make sure that my tables come from a reputable manufacturer. In doing so, you will find that you run into fewer problems throughout the life of the table.” Take the time to check out various drop table companies and select one with a long track record of providing quality products.
Easing patients concerns is just as important as picking the right drop table, and these suggestions for both are a good place to start.