One of the best aspects of chiropractic care is the variety of approaches chiropractors can utilize to treat your condition and improve your overall quality of life. The goal of chiropractic care is to use the manipulation of the musculoskeletal system, primarily the spine, to improve function, reduce pain and inflammation, and help your body to function at its best.
For some patients, chiropractors may choose to use their hands to manually deliver treatment, while other cases may require specialized tools and equipment for the desired results and are known as instrument-assisted adjustments. One of the most common instrument-assisted adjustment techniques is the Activator method.
What is the Activator Method?
The Activator method is a form of instrument-assisted spinal and joint manipulation, where a chiropractor uses a small hand-held device known as an Activator Adjustment Instrument, or more simply, an Activator.
This device works as an extension of the chiropractor’s hands to provide a gentle force without needing to twist and turn the patient’s body to correct misalignments. The nature of the device allows for precise adjustment, even to small localized areas. This method is commonly used to treat back pain, neck pain, chronic headaches, inflammation of joints, and spinal disc conditions.
This method is ideal for those who require gentler methods of manipulation such as those who are pregnant, have arthritis, or may be more hesitant to try traditional forms of manual manipulation.
It can be used as an alternative to traditional manipulation or in conjunction with other treatment options.
How does the activator method work?
Prior to the treatment, a physical evaluation is conducted often including reflex testing and possibly leg length testing to identify specific dysfunctions within the spine.
During treatment, the patient can lie down comfortably on an adjustment table and each area of the spine will be worked on individually with the Activator instrument.
The Activator, as mentioned previously, is a hand-held device that can be spring-loaded or electronic and is designed to mimic the effects of hand spinal manipulation. Using high-velocity low amplitude thrust, this instrument can gently realign your spine, relieve pressure from spinal nerves, and eliminate strain on nearby muscles.
The targeted area is gently tapped by the device with a small amount of pressure, followed by a single quick thrust. Due to the Activator’s speed, the muscles treated are less likely to tense making the patient more receptive to treatment. Following treatment, the patient is often re-evaluated to look for signs of correction. A typical treatment plan consists of a series of visits with routine evaluations.
There is no twisting or repositioning required during treatment making this technique preferable to other forms of manual manipulation.
What are the benefits of the Activator method?
By correcting spinal subluxations, or misalignments, the Activator method can provide the following benefits:
- Restore proper function, motion, and sensation to the affected area
- Reduce inflammation and stiffness in joints
- Alleviate pain
- Remove nerve blockages
Compared to other forms of manipulation, the Activator method can also provide localized treatment to specific areas of the body.
We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach that can address your needs and conditions and we will work with you to determine which treatment option is the right one for you. For more information on the Activator method or to schedule an appointment, please contact The Center for Spine, Sport & Physical Medicine today.