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What Is The Activator Chiropractic Technique?

The Activator Chiropractic Technique is a gentler alternative to traditional chiropractic manipulation techniques. This is one of the most common therapeutic interventions used by chiropractors (after the Diversified technique).

The Activator Technique is especially popular among patients who require spinal manipulation but want to avoid more forceful manual thrusts.

The Activator Technique utilises a small, hand-held instrument (“the Activator Adjusting Tool”) to deliver precise adjustments to the spine and extremities. It targets specific points along the spine, promoting healing through gentle adjustments.

In this article, we explore the methodology, application, and benefits of the Activator Chiropractic Technique.

How Does The Activator Chiropractic Method Work?

The Activator Method works by applying targeted, controlled force to specific vertebral segments or joints using the Activator Adjusting Tool.

Activator Adjusting Tool (Picture: Michael Dorausch)

(Picture licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence)

The Activator Adjusting Tool is designed to consistently deliver a low force impulse at high speed. The force applied is sufficient to move the vertebrae, but gentle enough to not cause discomfort or pain.

Using the Activator Adjusting Tool, chiropractors deliver precise adjustments to the spine and extremities (VIDEO). As with other chiropractic techniques, the objective of adjustments is to restore proper alignment to the spine and full movement to joints.

By restoring motion to problem joints, the Activator Method can enhance joint function and reduce pain (Activator Method: What To Expect). These changes also help the body to heal naturally.

Why Do Some Chiropractors Use An Activator?

Chiropractors opt for the Activator Method for several reasons:

Patient Comfort

The Activator Method technique is highly controlled and gentle, making it suitable for patients who may be sensitive to traditional manual adjustment methods.


The Activator Tool allows exceptionally high precision during adjustments.


This low force technique can be applied to patients in higher risk groups, such as the elderly, children, or those with arthritic conditions.


Numerous studies have supported the effectiveness of the Activator Method in treating various musculoskeletal conditions (Clinical Effectiveness Of The Activator Adjusting Instrument In The Management Of Musculoskeletal Disorders).

Characteristics Of Activator Method Treatment

High Speed

The Activator Adjusting Tool is designed to provide a high speed, low force thrust. Fast delivery of this low force thrust pre-empts the body’s natural tendency to tighten up and resist the adjustment. This enhances the effectiveness of the treatment.

Controlled Force

The level of force provided by the Activator Adjusting Tool is controllable. A controlled force ensures that the adjustments are gentle, precise, and effective. By adjusting the tool to deliver different force levels, this method is adaptable to all ages, all body types, and specific patient needs.

Leg Length Evaluation In The Activator Method

A fundamental component of the Activator Method is the Leg Length Evaluation. Chiropractors use this assessment to determine imbalances in the musculoskeletal system.

Before treatment, the chiropractor will perform a Leg Length Evaluation to assess discrepancies in leg length. The patient is typically assessed while lying in a prone position. A discrepancy in leg length usually indicates the presence of spinal misalignments or other abnormalities.

Based on these findings, the Activator Method adjustments are customised to restore symmetry and proper function.

Benefits Of The Activator Chiropractic Technique

Targeted Adjustments

The precision of the Activator Tool allows for more targeted adjustments (leaving the surrounding areas unaffected). This is especially useful for minimising the strain on fragile bones.

Reduced Pain

Many patients experience an immediate relief from pain and discomfort.

Improved Mobility

Adjustments are designed to enhance joint and spinal mobility, ultimately leading to improvements in quality of life.


This method is suitable for patients of all ages. It is especially useful for patients who cannot withstand more forceful manual adjustments.


The Activator Method is non-invasive, providing a safe alternative to surgical interventions.

Comprehensive Treatment

The Activator Method technique can be used to treat a wide range of conditions, from chronic back pain to specific joint issues.

Conclusion: What Is The Activator Chiropractic Technique?

The Activator Method is a modern chiropractic treatment. This popular method uses an Activator Adjusting Tool to deliver quick, gentle, and precise adjustments.

Because of its gentleness, the Activator Method is suitable for most patients, including those with bone conditions.

The Activator Method provides a safe, effective, non-invasive, drug-free approach to pain relief and musculoskeletal health.

James Barber

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