Think of your chiropractic table as you do your car.
You depend on it to be in proper working order so that the gas pedal and brakes work properly, the engine will start when you turn the ignition, and the transmission will be in the right gear. You depend on your table in the same way, so you must make it safe for you and your patients to use.
You know to take your car in for a tune-up when the warning light shows up on your dashboard. Although your table doesn’t have such a feature, it also needs regular tune-ups to keep it safe.
Check for any stripped bolts, missing nuts, or creaky hinges. If you use a drop table, also make certain that the sections drop properly when you press on the pedal. If you are confident in your skills to maintain your table by yourself, that’s great. However, you can also purchase a service package when you purchase the table to have technicians do regular tune-ups.
One table does not fit all
It can be easy to just assume that you only need to have a basic table to safely treat all your patients. In reality, you may need to consider your table options by looking at the types of patients you usually treat, as well as your own physical comfort.
You may want to consider a table that is either low or can be lowered if you are treating many pediatric or geriatric patients, who may not safely be able to clamber on or off a table of standard height.
Furthermore, a standard table can also present problems for your safety if you are short. You may end up on tip-toes trying to get just the right angle to deliver an adjustment, which could be disastrous if you lose your balance.
Conversely, a higher table may be a better option if you are tall. Hunching down over your patients can actually give you back pain. In such cases, the old adage of “Physician, heal thyself” comes to mind. A higher table can ease pressure on your back.
It almost goes without saying that keeping your table clean is the most important thing you can do to assure your and your patients’ safety. Proper sanitation of your table surface, face rest, and arm rests will significantly reduce the chance of pathogens being transferred either between patients or you and your patients.
A 2009 article in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine recommends guidelines that include changing table and face-rest paper between each patient.1 Single-use alcoholic wipes should be used on the arm rests between each patient. Finally, use tissue paper instead of cloth table covers, which can trap pathogens.
Your chiropractic table is your most important piece of equipment, aside from your hands or your adjusting instrument. You depend on your table, day in and day out. Of course, you need to properly care for your table in order to keep it safe for both you and your patients.
- Evans MW, Ramcharan M, Floyd R, et al. A proposed protocol for hand and table sanitizing in chiropractic clinics and education institutions. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2009;8(1):38-47. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2008.09.003