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The Activator Is Invaluable for Those Who Need This Chiropractic Tool

By Martha Michael

The Activator Method

Like a skilled craftsman with the right set of tools -- Bob Ross with a paint brush, Julia Child with a skillet, Luke Skywalker with a light saber -- the expertise of a chiropractor with a trusted, high-performance adjustment device offers patients an effective option for treatment of pain. The “activator” is an FDA-approved instrument that delivers gentle chiropractic adjustments with the push of a button. Some chiropractors find it more appropriate to use than applying typical hands-on manual treatment to patients suffering from headaches or injuries to the neck, back, or joints.

What is the Activator?

A non-invasive, hand-held device that gives chiropractors more options to restore function for patients, the activator comes in various models, including spring-loaded and electronic. Designed more than 50 years ago by Dr. Arlan Fuhr and Dr. Warren Lee, it’s an instrument used to treat dysfunctions of the spine by producing rapid, low-force impulses to aid in spinal cavitation. A chiropractor may use it in response to a patient experiencing loss of function, to treat subluxation, or to restore movement to injured areas of a patient’s body. The activator works much like a manual adjustment, delivering a gentle thrusting motion to address spinal joint dysfunction that interferes with a healthy nervous system.

Why Doctors Use the Activator

Treatment using the activator provides an alternative to manual chiropractic adjustments. The instrument’s force is high velocity, but at relatively low amplitude for patients who prefer gentle chiropractic treatments.

One of the strong points of the activator is its efficiency as it mechanically reproduces targeted pulses. The speed of its pulsation is faster than manual treatment, which typically means your muscles remain relaxed.

It also enables your chiropractor to localize treatment. While manual methods may treat a larger area of the back, the activator can reach specific vertebra. Your practitioner is in control, but the activator is what provides the mechanical force.

“It is easy to use, and it is more gentle on the patient than traditional manipulation,” says Dr. Greg De La Mare of The Joint Chiropractic in Lake Forest, Calif. “It is available to those patients who request it or are hypersensitive to manual manipulation, have difficult areas to reach, or for individuals who are at-risk for stroke or have a bone weakening disease, such as osteoporosis, cancer, et cetera.”

Which Patients Prefer the Activator

Patients who are new to the benefits of chiropractic care may be reluctant to receive manual treatment from even the most seasoned doctors. The activator was designed for people who are hypersensitive to adjustments. Treatment using the activator involves gentle pulses, which allays any fears about snaps and cracks they may feel during adjustments of the spine.

“Sometimes it’s necessary for patients and sometimes it’s not,” Dr. De La Mare says. “Most of the chiropractic patients we see at The Joint prefer manual manipulation over the activator, but each clinic does have patients who prefer the activator for its gentle approach.”

Patients who like their doctor to use the activator may be older or have excessive back or neck pain from arthritis. Its mechanical thrust while treating affected areas has a predictability, so it becomes a trusted method for delivering gentle adjustments where needed.

Whether it’s a wrench to tighten pipe fittings or a lathe for shaping a piece of wood, a useful tool in the hands of a knowledgeable individual can make a difference. The activator is more than just a useful mechanical device. It’s an effective method for treating patients while offering an added peace of mind for those who prefer the gentlest chiropractic treatment options available.

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