Chiropractic Techniques: What's an Activator and Does it Really Work?

Chiropractors treat musculoskeletal conditions with a technique called adjustment. To adjust a joint, the chiropractor immobilizes adjoining joints and moves the joint that is out of alignment. At one time, all spinal adjustments were performed manually. Today there is an alternative called the Activator.
What's an Activator?
Developed in 1967 by Dr. Arlan Fuhr, the Activator is a hand-held instrument or tool that was patented in 1978 by Activator Methods International and has been generally available since that time. There are different types available, including manual spring-loaded versions and a mechanical cordless electronic device. It is spring-loaded and when the operator presses the trigger, the instrument delivers a quick thrust of a low-force impulse to the joint that is out of alignment.
Is the Activator Better?
One of the advantages of the Activator is that it is very quick. With conventional chiropractic treatment, patients will often tense their muscles, which can make the treatment less effective. A second advantage of the Activator is that it acts only on the direct area to which it is applied – the localized force decreases the potential for additional twisting or bending motions on the painful joint.
How is the Activator Used?
Chiropractors may use the Activator alone or in combination with traditional adjustments. Like other chiropractic treatments, the Activator is used to treat back and neck pain, as well as headaches – including migraines. It may also be used to adjust joints in the extremities or on pressure points in the muscles to relieve spasm.
Is Training Required?
Special training is required above and beyond the training all chiropractors receive regarding joint adjustments. Training is offered by Activator Methods International USA. Basic Proficiency training is a 12-hour course followed by a written and practical exam. Advanced Proficiency training lasts 24 hours; both written and practical examinations are also required. If you have musculoskeletal pain, contact Silver Chiropractic and Wellness. Dr. Silver is Advanced Proficiency trained in Activator methods. We also offer a variety of other services such as therapeutic massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy.