If you are just starting out in practice or striking out on a solo practice for the first time, you are probably looking to make your available budget stretch as much as possible.
One easy way of doing this is to invest in only one chiropractic table that can serve as many patients as possible.
However, now that you have your practice well established, the time has come to look beyond your trusty one-size-fits-all table that has served you so well when you were first starting out. Now that your regular base of patients has become more diversified, you might want to consider looking at other tables that are designed to suit specific groups of patients.
However, you first will need to consider what those groups of patients actually require, so that you can find the sort of chiropractic furniture that best suits their needs.
Let’s look at the special needs of three of the most common special patient populations you will likely see in your practice – pregnant women, children, and the elderly.
Tables for pregnant women
The safety and benefits of chiropractic care for pregnant women, particularly in the third trimester, is well established. A 2007 literature review of 33 articles on the topic concluded: “The current literature reports favorable results on the use of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy.”1
The general consensus is that chiropractic is most beneficial during the late second trimester and throughout the third trimester for lower back pain, as a result of poor posture in an effort to compensate for the increased weight and size of the fetus.
Obviously, the most important consideration for these patients is to not place any pressure on the abdominal area. You can work on your pregnant patients while they are seated, but this can pose a challenge when it comes to working on their lower back. There are tables that have hollowed out depressions for the abdomen and breasts, but they cannot be used for other patients.
However, a drop table is an excellent option, as the middle section can easily be lowered to accommodate the abdominal region for your pregnant patients, yet can also be pulled up to be level with the other segments of the table so that it can also be used for your other patients.1
Tables for pediatric patients
There is also a well-established body of research regarding the safety and efficacy of chiropractic for pediatric patients.2,3 Your main concern in terms of tables is likely to be size. A standard table may well be too big for your younger patients to climb on and off by themselves, not to mention that it may look intimidating.2,3
There are special pediatric chiropractic tables that are smaller and even come in fun designs and shapes, such as race cars and alligators, to help make the experience more comfortable for the child. If your practice focuses specifically on children or the entire family, a pediatric table might be a good investment.
Alternatively, some chiropractic tables can be fitted with an extended head rest that is narrow enough for a child.2,3
Tables for geriatric patients
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, the number of people ages 65 or older will more than double between 2000 and 2030.4 This means that you are likely to see an increase in older patients in your practice, along with their complaints of osteoarthritis and back pain.
Because many of your geriatric patients will be frail or have limited mobility, they may have difficulty getting on and off a standard chiropractic table. In this case, a drop table again may be the optimal solution, particularly if you are working on the back. The ability to drop the segments of the table as you are performing spinal manipulation means that you will not need to apply as much force, which means there is less risk of injury.
In looking at these three groups of patients, it is clear that a drop table is the most versatile option for being able to handle different groups of patients with special needs. Furthermore, if you have the table in a flat configuration, it will still be able to handle your other patients. It seems as though a drop table actually might be that one table that will fit all of your patients.
- Borggren CL. (2007). Pregnancy and chiropractic: A narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 6(2), 70-74.
- Doyle M. (2011). Is chiropractic pediatric care safe? A best evidence topic. Clinical Chiropractic, 14(3) 97.
- Safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic. American Chiropractic Association. Accessed 3/29/2018.
- Aging Profile 2016. Administration for Community Living. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed 3/29/2018.