By Doctor Rosemarie Jabbour (Chiropractor)
What is a Chiropractic Activator?
The hand held activator is an alternative to the traditional manual form of chiropractic (spinal manipulation). The chiropractic activator uses an impulse force along the spine instead of the more traditional ‘hands on’ approach to chiropractic.
Both traditional chiropractic adjustments (such as those used by Doctor Rosemarie Jabbour (Chiropractor) and the chiropractic activator gun aim to restore motion along the spine.
Most chiropractors choose to use traditional chiropractic. This is the type of chiropractic you are used to receiving as part of your care at New World Chiro.
How is the Activator device thought to work?
The device is a spring-loaded, hand held instrument. It was designed as an alternative to traditional manual chiropractic however is it as effective?
There are many different types of devices out there claiming to be ‘activators’. While any chiropractor can purchase an Activator (the Activator brand), training and certification requirements are currently voluntary. This means that although many chiropractors own an Activator (or use one), where, when, and why they use the Activator instrument varies immensely.
In addition, the specific Activator branded method uses only one thrust per area of contact to initiate the process of restoring spinal balance in the patient.
There have been no long-term clinical studies conducted on the efficacy of multiple-thrust Activator technique. A recent literature review (1) involving the use of ‘activators’ found reported benefits to patients. However, the review also commented that the studies showed many limitations, including small sample size, brief follow-up period and lack of control treatment groups.
Furthermore, the study concluded: “it is unfortunate that most of the clinical trials investigating its effectiveness were only pilot studies.”
Advantages of 'hands on' chiropractic
‘Hands on’ chiropractic is performed in order to adjust the spine and bring it back into alignment. During your adjustment, the chiropractor will position and move your body in different ways. This is done to relieve pressure and increase movement in and around your joints.
The aim is to restore proper alignment along your spine. This helps your body to heal itself faster. Chiropractic adjustments may help to treat back and neck injuries, but may also provide relief for the other joints and muscles of the body. This type of chiropractic is known as Chiropractic BioPhysics and I explain what this is in the next paragraph.
What is Chiropractic BioPhysics
Chiropractic BioPhysics is one of the most widely used chiropractic techniques the world over. It is also one of the most researched techniques, with more than 130 scientific studies published on the technique (2).
Chiropractic BioPhysics is practiced here at New World Chiro and is the type of chiropractic that you are probably most familiar with. The focus is on optimal posture and spinal alignment as your primary goals of care. Working towards this goal, patients often experience a reduction in symptoms of pain while noticing an improvement in functional ability.
Here at New World Chiro you’ve probably heard the explanation as to why you initially experienced neck or lower back pain: the pain is most likely due to a misalignment along your spine. Chiropractic BioPhysics addresses this concern through a series of chiropractic adjustments (your chiropractic care program), specific postural stretches (spinal traction stations and home stretching) and the maintenance of your spine and posture to help you stay in alignment and out of pain.
Additionally, x-ray analysis may be used to identify misalignments along your spine. This type of analysis, both lateral-side view and anterior to posterior or frontal view x-ray line drawing procedures, has been studied and found to be reliable (3,4).
In many situations, the only way to see what your spinal alignment looks like is to obtain spinal imaging. Consider this: would you take your car to the mechanic and not have the mechanic look under the bonnet?
I personally would not want to adjust a patient without first looking at an x-ray (or performing other diagnostic assessments) to see what their spine looks like.
For more information on the history and theory behind chiropractic BioPhysics, click here: http://idealspine.com/what-is-cbp/
If you have any questions about chiropractic care please phone New World Chiro today. We take a ‘hands on’ approach to your health and will work with you to address your health challenges.
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- Huggins T, Boras AL, Gleberzon BJ, et al. Clinical effectiveness of the activator adjusting instrument in the management of musculoskeletal disorders: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2012;56(1):49-57.
- Ideal Spine 'What is Chiropractic BioPhysics' website: http://idealspine.com/what-is-cbp/
- Harrison DE, Holland B, Harrison DD, Janik TJ. Further Reliability Analysis of the Harrison Radiographic Line Drawing Methods: Crossed ICCs for Lateral Posterior Tangents and AP Modified Risser-Ferguson. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2002; 25: 93-98.
- Harrison DE, Harrison DD, Colloca CJ, Betz J, Janik TJ, Holland B. Repeatability of Posture Overtime, X-ray Positioning, and X-ray Line Drawing: An Analysis of Six Control Groups. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2003; 26(2): 87-98.