Segmental Drop Table and the Thompson Technique

By: Wayne Henry Zemelka, DC

One of the really neat things to do is to work on a table that is equipped with the elevation feature and pedal- or switch-controlled cocking mechanism. How we apply the Thompson Technique is very important in the makeup of things in rendering classic drop table adjusting on your patients.

A Short Overview

Figure 1. Testing the sacral integrity.

Figure 1. Testing the sacral integrity.

When adjusting the pelvic region we need to keep in mind the proper protocol—moving from the feet up to the gastrocnemius muscles, knees and then into the pelvic region. Adjusting the pelvis is really much easier when using an elevated drop table like the Lloyd 900HS. This is one of my favorite segmental drop tables. I’ll bet you didn’t know that I coined the phrase, “Segmental Drop Table” back in the mid 1970s, when I began teaching the Thompson night school course in the Elective classes taught at Palmer College.

First we need to determine if the sacrum is rotated or not and to do the exam. It is simple; we ask the patient to lock the knee and raise the leg up without bringing the pelvis off the table (Fig. 1). You may have to do this several times as you train the patient to be able to do the test properly, so as not to distort the findings by over emphasizing that raised leg. You are checking the sacral apex—whether it has rotated to the left or right as you place your hand on the base of the sacrum. Remember not to press too hard and to not catch the spinous of 5L with the heel of the hand. The involved leg is the one that did not come up as high. This indicates that the high leg is the side the apex has rotated towards. Then we will thrust the apex towards the leg that did not raise the highest, which we refer to as the involved leg (Fig. 2).

Figure 2. Adjusting the sacrum with the segmental drop table.

Figure 2. Adjusting the sacrum with the segmental drop table.

We can adjust the “IN” pelvic subluxation with the right line of drive, and it results in easier correction of the problem on this type of drop table. Remember that in many instances some people really miss this anomaly that develops in the population. A good way to pick up on this problem is to observe the patient walking down the hall. We observe the patient’s gait in order to determine if the pelvis needs to be adjusted, especially when the lack of motion of the pelvis causes problems with the gait and swing phase as you observe the patient walking. Confirmation is possible by using an X-ray for confirmation (Fig. 3).

You can also move on to the lumbar adjusting with a system of adjusting providing an easy method of releasing T-T fibers in the lower back with an easy method of adjusting with the patient still in the prone position. The less you have to move the patient like raising the table up, turn the patient over and lowering the table again takes up time that is not really necessary (Fig. 4).

Using the drop table to its fullest extent results in removing the subluxations and reduces myofascial contractions that are prevalent in the area in numerous people. This lumbar adjusting move is also good for reducing problems with a spondylolisthesis. Be sure to make a thorough examination including X-rays and ruling out an aneurysm and previous surgery that have staples and other hardware remnants that may be present in your patient. That’s why you do X-rays—to rule out any problems that would cause harm to the patient.

Figure 3. Adjusting the IN pelvis on the Lloyd segmental drop table.

Figure 3. Adjusting the IN pelvis on the Lloyd segmental drop table.

When you use a segmental drop table be sure that you set the drops to the weight of each patient, and that you set those tension controls to the lightest setting possible to the weight of each patient.

The utilization of drop style technique is also beneficial to the Chiropractor, in that reflective force from the adjustment is less than when doing certain bench-style adjusting procedures. Therefore the doctor completes the day with less muscle fatigue.

Figure 4. Adjusting the lumbar subluxation.

Figure 4. Adjusting the lumbar subluxation.

Remember, if you are thinking of trying another “Hands On” technique with light adjustment strokes, you should try the Thompson Technique.