The Thompson technique is a light force alternative to normal manual methods. This method was developed by Dr. Clay Thompson, faculty member and lead researcher of Palmer College of Chiropractic. Using his engineering experience and knowledge of Newtonian physics he developed the Segmental Drop Table, which is an essential component of the Thompson technique.
In the early 1950s, Dr. Thompson created a headpiece for a chiropractic table that would drop away when the manual adjustment is made. From your old high school physics class you might recall Newton’s First Law of Motion states that “an object in motion stays in motion.” What this means is that once the adjustive force is applied to the vertebra, it will keep moving. The drop piece absorbs the force of the adjustment, but the speed remains. The headpiece drop was granted a US patent on July 20th, 1954. By 1957, Dr. Thompson had created a table that included drop pieces for thoracic, lumbar and pelvic adjustments.
Nearly all Thompson chiropractic adjustments are performed with the patient laying face down, otherwise known as prone. The drop piece is raised one half inch. The tension of the drop piece is then set according to the patient’s body weight so that it falls away with minimal pressure. A manual adjustment is then performed by applying a specific line of correction to improve the alignment of the spine. By improving the vertebral position, pressure is removed from the spinal nerves as they exit the spine and better communication between the brain and the body is achieved.
With the Thompson procedure, the patient’s muscles are unable to respond quickly enough to resist the adjustment. As a result, a lower force needs to be applied as compared to other manual chiropractic adjustments such as Diversified or Gonstead. A lighter force means a gentler adjustment for the patient. The characteristic joint crack that other manual techniques create does not happen with the Thompson method.
Although suitable for all patients, the Thompson technique is particularly useful when treating patients with osteoporosis, arthritic hip joints and severe muscle spasm. It is also a great choice for those patients that don’t care for the sounds associated with other conventional chiropractic techniques.