Do you have a decompression table in your practice? If not, are you thinking about getting one?
For years there has been quite a bit of hoopla in chiropractic around spinal decompression machines. Trying to get to the bottom of things is sometimes a difficult task.
First, let’s address a few issues some chiropractors have with decompression.
It’s not uncommon for people to say “that’s not chiropractic, therefore I’m not getting one of those.” Well, this person is correct, spinal decompression is not chiropractic. If you’re goal is to have an adjustment only practice without any instrumentation or electronic device, then you should not get a decompression table.
But for doctors who want an excellent way to help their patients, a spinal decompression machine is the #1 therapy device I recommend. Why do I recommend it so much?
#1.) It helps herniated/bulging/degenerative disc patients get better in ways that no adjustment can. Some people will argue that their technique can do the same thing. I’ve not researched every chiropractic technique available, but I’ve yet to come across one that can pull on the pelvis of a patient with 80lbs of pressure, alternating between relaxing and pulling every 30-45 seconds for a total of 15 minutes.
#2.) The marketing for this is so much easier to do. No, not because it’s a fancy piece of equipment. Not because it’s a gimmick. But because the people who are suffering from disc problems are desperate for a solution. If you’re faced with a lifetime of shots, dangerous pain pills and/or surgical fusion of your spine, how quickly are you going to try something non-invasive like spinal decompression?
Realize, #2 would be insignificant if decompression didn’t work. Ethically it has to work before you can market that it does.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, some hyped up marketing a few years back really altered what chiropractors thought of spinal decompression. Many doctors thought “true spinal decompression” could only be found in spending $100k on a table. If you thought this, then the only 2 choices were to either send a house payment every month for this table or not pursue decompression in your practice because it was out of your price range.
Then, more hyped up marketing (in the form of patient advertising) entered the picture and state boards got involved in banning certain types of marketing. Some states even looked for ways to prevent chiropractors from using spinal decompression, saying it wasn’t in their scope of practice.
I realized that there had to be another way to do this whole decompression thing. One marketing guru couldn’t have cornered the market on spinal decompression in chiropractic.
After a bit of research, I found quite a few manufacturers that make good decompression tables. Of course, then I had to prove to myself that these tables did actually do decompression, since I had been brainwashed as well into thinking only one table was “TRUE DECOMPRESSION.” ( Turns out there all classified by the FDA as traction tables anyway 🙂
I won’t go into the details, but most tables that claim decompression actually do decompression. It’s just a matter of how easy it is to use and how nice it looks. Arguments against this are just an old marketing technique (which is sometimes valid, but not here), where you try to get everyone to think your product is the only “real” table that does decompression, and the rest just do traction. You probably heard of this, often times called the unique selling proposition.
The funny thing is, years later, very few people who bought a DRX table will argue that Chattanooga, Saunders, Lordex, (and all the hundreds of other manufacturers) are not doing decompression. Five years ago, ‘them was fightin words’. I even remember threats of lawsuits being thrown around and patenting the words “spinal decompression.”
For $8-10k I could get a table and start helping patients get better. Combined with chiropractic adjustments and other strength building therapies, I saw some amazing results. Not to mention my average case values went up considerably.
Was decompression just a fad, one that has died out?
Well, the $100k tables probably don’t sell like they used to. But spinal decompression is alive and well.
Do you think there will be more or less patients with herniated discs in 2010? How about in 5 years from now? Decompression is not a fad because spinal disc problems are not a fad.
Important: Marketing Is Key
Don’t do like many chiropractors I speak with have done. Don’t spend a ton on a table, and forget to market the thing. You’ve got to market it for what it does, otherwise it’s just an overpriced traction table sitting in your office collecting dust.
This is why I wrote the decompression ads in The Ultimate Chiropractic Ads. It was difficult to find ethical marketing that wasn’t hyped up, so I learned to write my own. And they have done extremely well.
If you don’t have a table yet, don’t wait. Start getting quotes now as the new year is right around the corner. Be ready to hit your decompression marketing strong in January.
If you already have a table, make sure you’re planning the first quarter of 2010 with some strong marketing.
Watch a free webinar where I cover my Area Exclusive decompression marketing program here: