The Activator Method is a joint manipulation technique used by chiropractors to treat chronic headaches and different types of back and neck pains. The technique involves using a small handheld tool, referred to as an activator or an Activator Adjusting Instrument, to restore spine motion by delivering gentle and targeted impulses on the muscles.
What is the Aim of the Activator Method?
The Activator Technique is a gentler spinal manipulation method than the traditional chiropractic option, which involves manipulating the vertebrae manually using the hands. With the Activator Method, the Activator tool does the work of the chiropractor.
While the chiropractor controls the activator by holding it, the impulse force delivered to the targeted muscles does not come from the hands but from the tool’s mechanic force.
When a vertebra in the spine moves out of alignment, the bone tends to intrude on the canal space meant for blood flow and the nerve roots. The intrusion creates a blockage, which affects the nerve roots due to subluxation (misalignment of bone structures). The misalignment creates sensations of numbness and pain.
The Activator Method produces a gentle force that pushes back the misaligned vertebrae into position without causing more injury within the spine.
How the Activator Technique Works
When you experience a dislocation in the spinal joints or vertebrae, you’ll feel the side effects throughout the body. Apart from compressing the spinal nerves, dislocations can create inflammation and limit motion, resulting in stiffness. The surrounding tendons and muscles connected to the joint or vertebrae also move with the bone, altering posture and creating painful sensations.
The Activator Method involves the use of gentle impulses that push the dislocated vertebrae back into place in the spine. This is achieved by eliminating strain from the spinal muscles and releasing pressure from the spinal nerves. The process is rapid compared to the traditional chiropractic method. Moreover, since the force applied is targeted, the method can be done several times without the risk of injury.
Risks Associated with the Activator Technique
The Activator Method has limited side effects. However, patients with spinal cancer, severe osteoporosis, or low bone density should talk to a trained chiropractor, such as one from Highest Health Chiropractic, before proceeding with the method. These people are at risk of suffering bone fractures since using even the lowest impact Activator tool on them can result in more injury.
A chiropractor will check your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and request an image scan of your injury before administering spinal manipulation.
Chiropractic adjustments are safe when performed by a licensed chiropractor. However, they can also result in some serious complication, such as:
- Vertebral artery dissection
- Compression of the nerves
- A herniated disk
During the chiropractor adjustment procedure, the doctor will put you in a particular position to treat the affected areas. Generally, you’ll be positioned on a chiropractor table lying face down.
The chiropractor will use his hands to apply a gentle force to the joint and push it beyond the usual motion. During the treatment session, you may hear certain sounds as the joints are moved.
After the chiropractic adjustment, you may experience some side effects that may last for a few days. The side effects may include headaches, pain or fatigue of the body parts treated.
Who Can Benefit from the Activator Method?
The Activator Technique corrects subluxations within the spine. The method can be used to alleviate pain, tackle inflammation, and restore motion.
On the same note, the Activator instrument can restore proper functioning after removing blockages in the nerve flow. Just like the spinal manipulation or chiropractor adjustment, the Activator Method can benefit patients suffering from neck or back pain and chronic headaches.
Dislocations can cause serious effects apart from pain. When dislocated vertebrae are aligned back to their rightful positions, your general health will improve. Fixing dislocations has also been found to help alleviate various conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Digestive disorders
- Organ dysfunction
- Nerve pain
Chiropractic Treatment Plan
Depending on the type of dislocation you have, a chiropractor can recommend a number of treatments. For example, you may need to undergo the Activator Method 1-2 times every week for a period of 4-6 weeks. The treatment administered depends on an individual case, and will be completed once the symptoms improve.
If you don’t experience any relief after 3-4 treatment sessions, the spine specialist may stop the treatment to review your conditions and symptoms again. Depending on the findings, you may be referred to another chiropractor or a different type of spine manipulation may be recommended.