Drop Table (Thompson)

Birth of the drop table
The history behind the drop table is interesting, and if there are no such things as accidents, this surely is representative of such. As a Palmer student, Thompson purchased a used table with a broken headpiece. Because the headpiece would drop slightly when a thrust was delivered, Thompson began achieving great results. He only realized what a difference the “drop” made after purchasing a new table with a sturdy, stable headpiece. His patients verbalized their dislike of the new table, causing Thompson to think twice about his old table, the broken headpiece and whether it was related to his patients’ favorable results. The outcome, in turn, was the invention of the drop headpiece, and subsequent development of the Thompson Technique.

What makes the drop table so special? Its mechanism is based on the First Law of Motion by Newton that states “A body is in equilibrium if no force is acting upon it. If it is at rest, it remains so; if in motion, it persists in motion, unless an opposing force is met.” This law was the catalyst for a safer, low-force, high-velocity adjustment that was kinder to the DC. Additionally, the drop table allows DCs with smaller frames, such as women, to perform adjustments without becoming fatigued when the day is done.

Leg Length Analysis Concept
Another important aspect of the Thompson Technique is the method used to determine an imbalance in the length of the legs when observed with the patient in a prone position on the table. The “Leg Length System” is based on the early work of Dr. Derifield of Detroit, Michigan. The neurological basis for balance is found in the Reticular System of the brain where the Inhibitory and Facilitory systems maintain balance of the musculature of the body. A neurological imbalance will affect the musculature of the legs resulting in the appearance of one leg being short when observed with the patient in the prone position. The feet are observed in the extended position and then flexed to compare one with the other noting any difference in the appearance of length. Contraindications would be an anatomical short leg, history of poorly healed fracture, or a joint implant.

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