We’ve all seen it in clinics or come across it online and wondered what is an activator used by chiropractors? An activator is an adjusting instrument used to provide a gentle pulse force to restore motion to the targeted spinal vertebra or joint. Chiropractors use this small handheld device in what is referred to as the Activator Method or the Activator Technique which is equally popular to the Diversified Technique. According to the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners, the activator approach is used by more than 50% of all chiropractors. At Santa Clara Custom Chiropractic all our chiropractors use this technique.
How does it work?
Our chiropractors will test your symptoms and perform physical exams when you come for your appointment to decide which vertebrae or joints need adjustment. The activator is positioned on your skin where the alteration is to be carried out. Then the activator will be triggered by our chiropractor. The spring-loaded tool will provide the location with a force to replace the vertebrae or joint into the right position. This stimulates balance and reduces swelling and pain.
It is different from a hands-on conventional spinal manipulation because of the precision target: a quick, firm thrust to change the joint. The initial pressure is accompanied by a rapid push from the device, which sounds like getting one’s reflex checked by pressing one’s knee.
Is it safe?
Dr. Arlan Fuhr initially developed the Activator Method in 1967. Activator Methods International patented the first Activator Adjusting Instrument in 1978. The activator is an FDA-approved portable, spring-loaded instrument that allows quick and accurate modifications in order to restore mobility range for spine or limb joints. The device’s theory and function were studied for over 30 years before it was approved. It was then tested for 15 years on a large number of people with back and neck pain with chiropractic adjustments found to be safe and reliable. Even people with degenerative joint disease are safe to use this device.
There are no side effects relevant to the chiropractic treatments that use the activator. The region that is being targeted is the only place that moves. Patients usually find the activator method less physically and mentally stressful as the adjustment does not involve as many pops or cracks, and the speed of the system means that muscles have no time to tense against force. Therefore it is perceived to be milder than the conventional hands-on manipulation process, as there is no actual joint movement.
What are the benefits?
There are two potential benefits of the Activator-assisted treatment approach. The first is based on the speed of the device. The instrument is so fast that the muscles of the body are less likely to react by getting tense and to resist the treatment. The lack of muscle resistance can make the treatment more effective. The second is that the stress applied is concentrated and does not cause any external pressure or twisting motion to the joint.