One of the most utilized pieces of equipment in any chiropractic office is the table used to treat patients.
No matter how well it is constructed then, at some point, it will likely need repairs.
This presents DCs with two alternatives: do the repair yourself or get the table fixed by a professional. No matter which you decide, there’s ways to make both successful options.
Self-repairs on chiropractic tables
Hunter Greenwood, DC, ND, at Chiropractor Plus in Nixa, MO, says “I have done numerous repairs to chiropractic tables from various manufacturers in my practice over the last thirty plus years.” They didn’t require any out-of-the-ordinary tools either as Greenwood says most simply required a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, and a ratchet wrench with sockets the size of the bolt heads.
Additionally, there are certain parts of the table that “get the most abuse from giving chiropractic adjustments,” says Greenwood, making them in need of repair more often. They are:
- The cushions. Over time, these will eventually wear out and need to be replaced or re-upholstered. To do this, “unscrew or un-staple the leather upholstery or vinyl, remove the foam, replace the foam, and recover,” says Greenwood. Another option is to purchase a set of new cushions that are ready to install.
- The metal guiding mechanisms which facilitate the drop. These are located on either side of the table cushions and wear out after about 10 years of use, says Greenwood. To repair them, simply order replacement parts and swap them out.
- Pelvic hydraulic drop mechanisms. The one thing to remember when making repairs to the pelvic hydraulic drop mechanism is to grease the moving parts and “remember how to reassemble or you will be in trouble,” says Greenwood. Additionally, because you’ll likely have to loosen or remove some of the metal screws with an impact screwdriver, be aware that the worn-out screw may break off. “I have had to drill a small hole in the screw with a hardened drill bit, insert an ‘easy-out’ reverse turn bit into the hole, remove the remainder of the screw, then re-tap the screw hole with the appropriate threaded bit that matches the original thread pattern of the hole,” says Greenwood.
- Electrical switches. These can sometimes go bad after years of use, so when taking them off, “make sure the table is unplugged, without electricity for safety,” says Greenwood. It’s also helpful to “draw a diagram of any of the electrical connections that you remove, note the color code of the wiring, and attach a tape marker with connection information where it is to be reconnected for correct re-assembly,” he says.
In some cases, the repair job may also require shipping a part back to the factory and installing a replacement part, says Greenwood, adding that, if this is necessary for your repair, you should ask the manufacturer for a parts diagram. “They are very helpful” he says, making it easier for the manufacturer to order the correct part based on the number.
It also helps to “buy your chiropractic tables from a manufacturer or company that is reputable, uses excellent well-made parts, and keeps replacement parts available for a long period time to cover any of your parts replacement needs,” says Greenwood. “Otherwise you will be custom making any needed replacement parts, salvaging parts off of old equipment, or replacing your table with an expensive new table when something breaks down.”
Chiropractic table repairs by professionals
While some repairs can be done in-office, Jason Yakimishyn, DC, co-owner of Foundation Chiropractic Co. says that there are some times when it is better to just call in the professionals. “I ran into a situation that I thought was an easy fix on one of my drop pieces,” he says, “but was far more complex than expected and involved certain pieces only available from the manufacturer.”
Based on this, the one piece of advice Yakimishyn has when finding a professional is to remember that there is a lot of variety in chiropractic tables, more so than those used in other manual therapy professions. That’s why he suggests that you “select a company that understands your table’s make and model, the different parts it possesses, and the different tools that will be required.”
This decreases the likelihood that there will be any issues with the repair. It also gives you peace of mind that you’re selecting a company that knows how to fix your exact piece of equipment the best way possible. Ultimately, choosing the right repair company can save you a lot of time and money, making it an important decision for you and your chiropractic practice.