The Activator Method Chiropractic Technique® is a diagnostic and treatment system used by some chiropractors to treat many types of back pain, neck pain, and headaches (both chronic and migraine).

The Activator Method uses a small, hand-held instrument called the Activator Adjusting Instrument to deliver a gentle impulse force to the spine with the goal of restoring motion to the targeted spinal vertebra or joint. It is an alternative to the traditional manual form of spinal manipulation, known as the high velocity low amplitude (HVLA) thrust.

There are two levels of training certification:

Basic Proficiency: Requires successful completion of a written and practical exam at the college level or 12 hours of post-graduate training, followed by a written and practical exam. This track introduces the basic body scan protocol, including leg length analysis.

Advanced Proficiency: Requires successful completion of a written and practical exam at the college level or 24 hours of post-graduate training, followed by a written and practical exam. This track provides hand-on training on how to adjust patients using the Activator instrument.

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.