As I mentioned in my post about developing a thorough stretching routine, part of the reason it took me so long to heal is that I didn’t really have a proper space to do my land-based exercises and stretches.
A lot of the exercises and stretches I knew I should be doing required me to get down onto the floor, but even the simple act of getting down onto the floor would put too much strain on my ligaments, causing my SI joints to lock up. By the time I was already down on the floor, I was already regretting my decision to try to do anything at all, and limping when I stood up.
I tried to get by doing only the stretches and exercises I could do sitting in a chair, but it just wasn’t the same. (I also tried to use my bed, but it was way too soft). I simply couldn’t do the full routine I needed to be doing.
I had gotten to the point where I was so desperate, I was considering buying a massage table. But all the massage tables I’d ever been on were too soft to actually do my exercises on.
Things finally changed for me when I happened to discover this amazing stretching table from a company called Sierra Comfort.
Apparently, the people at Sierra Comfort were aware that a lot of people have the same problem I did with getting down to the floor, which is why they sell this stretching table for this purpose. It’s not a massage table– it’s firmer, so you can do your exercises and stretches without sinking in to the cushioning.
I’ve had mine for over two years and I completely love it. Once I bought it, it totally eliminated my problems with being able to get into the right position. I was able to do whatever stretches and exercises I wanted, whenever I wanted, it kicked my healing into the next level.
This table would also turn out to be the perfect place to do the Muscle Energy Technique (although I wasn’t aware of it yet).
If you’re having the same problem, I totally recommend this table. I really think it’s well worth the money.
The height is adjustable– you can change the height of all four legs using these pegs:
The whole table itself only weights 37 lbs. I did need to have someone else carry the package in for me and set up the table initially, but since then, it hasn’t been too difficult for me to change the height of the pegs or fold it up. Sierra Comfort refers to it as portable, and I think that’s fair to say, keeping in mind that nothing is really “portable” for people struggling with some level of disability.
I did find the surface of the table to be a bit too hard by itself, but that’s way better than if it were too soft. If something is too hard, you can modify it.
I played around with different configurations of exercise mats until I found the perfect combination:
I use two mats stacked on top of each other.
First, I have the blue SPRI mat. It’s pretty dense and does not give way much. It does a good job of adding enough “substance” to get me away from the hard table surface, but I needed to add a little something more.
So I ended up adding the black mat on top of it– it’s a this super cheap mat I found at Sports Authority for like $10. Unfortunately they’ve since gone out of business, but this at least gives you an idea. This mat would be way too flimsy to provide enough cushioning on its own. But since I really just needed something to make the SPRI mat feel a little bit softer, it’s perfect.
I stack them up like this:
This table also folds up fairly easily– the legs tuck inside, and then it folds in half. I should have taken a picture of it for you– maybe I’ll add it in later. I personally don’t often move it because I simply love it so much, and use it every day!
Even though my SI joints are much stronger now, I know the ligaments will always be somewhat compromised. Therefore, I don’t really see the point in taking chances doing things I know give me a higher risk of a setback (like getting up and down from the floor). Although I *can* do it, I know that one wrong move, like if I’m suddenly clumsy or not paying attention, could tweak my SI joints in exactly the wrong way. My philosophy is, why risk it when there’s an alternative?
My table is super comfortable, and it’s just the right height, and it’s perfect for me.
So, a big, big thank you to Sierra Comfort! If you’re considering buying a table like this, I would say go for it!
P.S. After I wrote this post I remembered the one drawback of this table, which is that it emitted a pretty strong chemical smell for the first week. I had to leave it on my back porch just to air out, and it’s since gone away. I’ve used this table every day for two years and it’s definitely stood the test of time. I just felt I had to be honest about that *one* thing. But this table has still been a lifesaver!
P.P.S. July 2018: Unfortunately, I need to make a caveat, which is that this table does not work very well if you have uneven floors, like in an old house. I’ve found that to be the case where I live now. I think this might be a problem with any sort of “portable” structure– if it’s meant to fold up in the middle, it may not be sturdy enough to withstand an uneven floor. Other than that, it’s been 3 years and I still love this table 🙂