Activator Method

The activator method employs the use of a small device that aids in adjustments. As you read about the activator method, you will learn why Dr. Ralph prefers to use Activator Method Chiropractic Technique (AMT).

Activator Method Facts

In a nutshell, the activator method uses a small device as a treatment and diagnostic tool to treat various types of neck pain, back pain, and chronic headaches. The instrument used is known as the activator adjusting instrument.

The activator method has been around since 1967. 

In the chiropractor’s mind, the term Activator has two meanings:

  • An instrument that can be used to adjust dysfunctioning joints
  • An assessment procedure that determines whether the location and the method to be used to perform adjustments.

The device releases gentle impulse forces directly to the spine to restore mobility to the targeted area. This method is used as the alternative to the conventional technique referred to as high-velocity low-amplitude thrust (HVLA).

The activator adjusting instrument is the second most common device that is used in chiropractic care. It is also an instrument that has been approved by Medicare.

How It Works

The activator method used in spinal adjustment can be described as follows:

  • It is a hand-held, spring-loaded instrument that provides low force-impulses to targeted areas.
  • The instrument releases rapid pulses that the muscles aren’t able to tense. Thus the muscles cannot resist the treatment.
  • The force applied is usually localized, which means that it does not add any additional torque to the joints.

How It’s Done

The activator method involves a series of steps. 

The technique will be performed when you lie face down on the table. The treatment will start at your lower back pain, then slowly moving toward the head while targeting each vertebral segment.

In the process, your chiropractor will check for signs and symptoms to spot the trouble areas.

The activator adjustment instrument is then applied to the areas near the joint or surrounding tissues. You will feel pressure then a quick thrust, which mimics the feeling of having your reflexes tested when your knee gets tapped.

You will have to remain still unlike the traditional HVLA thrust that requires twisting and turning.

What Does It Treat?

The activator method can be used to manage the following:

  • Temporomandibular Joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Neurological conditions
  • Disc problems
  • Inflammation of joints
  • Back and neck pain

Benefits of the Activator Method

There is an excellent reason as to why the activator instrument has been used for decades. It is a very effective method. Here are some of the benefits:

  • It is gentle on the joints and spine. It is appropriate for patients who need gentler methods like pregnant women, patients who have osteoporosis, and arthritis. These conditions weaken the joints and bones, and the activator method can be used without causing more damage.
  • It can treat various conditions like TMJ disorder and different neurological conditions.
  • It is precise and can target a specific area to restore mobility. It is also useful in reducing inflammation and stiffness to the joints as compared to the traditional methods.
  • It can also be used to treat older patients and children. Since the process is painless, it is appropriate for treating children and elderly patients.
  • The treatment can result in much more stable joints over time. This is because of the speed of the activator adjustment instrument treats the joints without causing your muscles to tense. This will retrain the joints and ligaments and cause them to be stronger and stable.

If you’d like to read more about Activator Method and the clinical trials, go to

Dr. Ralph is Advanced Proficiency Rated in Activator Methods Chiropractic Technique and maintains this certification by regularly attending training classes.