The Activator Method Chiropractic Technique involves multiple steps. The chiropractor may use all of the steps, or may focus on only using the Activator instrument to adjust the spine.
A typical treatment will be done while the patient lies face down on the adjustment table. The treatment typically begins with the low back and progresses toward the head, targeting each vertebral segment individually.
The chiropractor will evaluate the patient for signs and symptoms to identify the joints of the spine or the extremities that may be the source of complaints and amenable to treatment with the Activator instrument.
During a typical adjustment with the Activator, the chiropractor applies the Activator device to the tissues at or near the affected joint. An initial pressure is followed by a quick thrust from the device, which feels much like having one's reflex tested by tapping your knee.
The patient remains still, with no twisting or turning as there often is for a traditional chiropractic adjustment (high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust).
After an adjustment, the chiropractor will often re-evaluate for correction of signs and symptoms associated with the complaint.
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A practitioner will recommend a series of treatments, such as 1 to 2 times per week, for an initial period of 4 to 6 weeks, though the final decision is dependent on each individual case. Once the patient's symptoms are improved, the Activator treatment is completed.
If the patient feels no pain relief after approximately 3 to 4 treatments, the chiropractor will stop the treatment and re-evaluate the patient's symptoms and condition. For example, the patient may need a different type of manipulation and/or referral to a different type of spine specialist.