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Chiropractic Care Using the Activator Adjusting Instrument

Activator_adjustmentChiropractors use different techniques to perform the chiropractic adjustment.  Some chiropractors use their hands and others use instruments.  This post will cover the most widely used adjusting instrument, known as the Activator Adjusting Instrument.  The Activator Adjusting Instrument and the chiropractic technique associated with it was developed in 1967 and has become the most widely used low-force chiropractic technique in the world.  According to the 2005 National Board of Chiropractic Examiner’s Job Analysis, 51.2% of American chiropractors report using the Activator Adjusting Instrument for patient care.

The Activator Instrument is a spring-loaded, hand-held mechanical instrument that provides a quick, low-force impulse at specific points.  The instrument gives off 0.3 J of kinetic energy in a 3-millisecond pulse.  The instrument was specifically designed to deliver a controlled, light and fast thrust without undue strain to the patient.  As a result, this specific system of adjusting restores proper balance, and does so with improved safety and comfort.

There are two main advantages of an Activator Instrument treatment.  The first is based on the speed of the device.  The instrument is so fast that the body’s muscles are less likely to tense up in response and resist the treatment.  When any force, such as a chiropractic adjustment, intrudes on the body, muscles in the involved area are automatically contracted by a reflex mechanism in order to protect that area from the force.  The Activator instrument produces a thrust which is quicker than the body’s reflexes can respond.  In other words, the thrust delivered by the instrument is so quick that it accelerates ahead of the body’s tendency to tighten up and resist the thrust of an adjustment.  The lack of muscle resistance helps with the treatment’s effectiveness.

The second advantage is that the applied force is localized and does not add any additional torque or bending movement to the joint.  In other words, with the Activator Instrument, the chiropractor can pinpoint the dysfunctional joint and apply the specific force needed to restore movement to the joint without subjecting the body to any extra forces.  So when you combine the accuracy and the controlled light force, it makes Activator Methods treatments both effective and suitable for all types of patients including pregnant women, babies and children, athletes and seniors.

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What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractors are physicians who treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems through the use of chiropractic adjustments to manipulate the spine.  Manipulation of the spine and other joints in the body has actually been around for a long time.  They discovered writings in China and Greece dating between 2700 B.C. and 1500 B.C. that mention manipulation of the spine and lower extremities to ease low back pain.  Even Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician who lived from 460 to 357 B.C., published a text discussing the importance of spinal manipulation. In one of his writings he stated, “Get knowledge of the spine, for this is the requisite for many diseases”.  Evidence of manual manipulation of the body has been found among the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Japan, the Incas, Mayans and Native Americans.

Modern-day chiropractic began in 1895 when Daniel David Palmer, a self-educated teacher and healer, performed the first spinal manipulation on a patient.  Through spinal manipulation, he was able to restore the hearing of Harvey Lillard, a man who had been deaf for 17 years.  Two years later, in 1897, Dr. Palmer went on to begin the Palmer School of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, which continues to train doctors of chiropractic.  Today, chiropractic is the third largest area of medicine, next to dentistry, and is the largest Complementary and Alternative Medicine health profession.

Chiropractors diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.  They use traditional diagnostic testing methods (such as x-rays and MRIs) along with specific chiropractic techniques that involve manipulation of the joints of the body.  Chiropractors also offer nutrition and healthy lifestyle counseling.  Chiropractors elect not to prescribe medications, and they do not perform surgery; however, many chiropractors work closely with medical doctors and will refer a patient when necessary.

Chiropractors believe that all bodily functions are connected, and the healing process involves the entire body.  They also believe a healthy nervous system, particularly the spine, is the key to a healthy body.  The spinal cord carries information from the brain to the rest of the body.  Therefore, it is responsible for all bodily functions including voluntary movements and involuntary ones, such as breathing.  Disorders of the spine can affect how the body functions because these disorders affect this transfer of information.  Chiropractors also believe the body is self-maintaining and self-healing as long as it is functioning properly.  Currently as you sit here reading this post your heart is beating at a steady rate and controlling your blood pressure, your lungs are taking in enough oxygen to keep you awake, and your stomach is digesting that snack you just had without you having to think about it.  That’s because your body is a self-regulating machine.  Disease happens when something in your body prevents it from self-regulating.

Chiropractors believe there are 5 components to health.  The first component is a healthy diet.  In order to function properly, your body needs proper nutrition.  The second component is exercise.  In order to be strong and stable your muscles need to have exercise.  The third component is sleep.  Your body requires sleep in order to restore and regenerate.  The fourth component is a positive mental attitude or spiritual life.  They find time and time again that those people who are happier and who have a relationship with God are always healthier.  And the fifth component is a properly functioning nervous system.  You can have the best diet, exercise, rest and positive mental attitude, but if your nervous system is not working right, you cannot express health at 100%.  I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about.  Take a 20 year old man who’s on a basketball court playing basketball with his friends and he falls over and dies from a heart attack.  Diet, he had, exercise he certainly had, positive mental attitude we’ll assume he had, and rest he had (what 20 year old doesn’t sleep well).  The only component we didn’t address was the nervous system.  A lot of times there is a re-entry problem in the heart.  It’s an electrical disturbance that is controlled by, you guessed it, the nervous system.  That’s just one example.  As a chiropractor I believe the nervous system is the most important factor.  I know this because you can eat as well as you can and have all of this in check, but without a properly functioning nervous system you won’t be able to fight off sickness, illness and disease.

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