Hand Adjustments Versus Instrument Adjustments


Chiropractic adjustments can be like car makers – there are many different car manufacturers just as there are many different chiropractic techniques. What they have in common is that they all make cars that can take you from point A to point B. Still, there are differences between the cars being made, just as there are differences between chiropractic adjusting techniques.

What Is An Adjustment?

Let us begin with what an adjustment is. An adjustment is a procedure performed by your chiropractor either by hand or with an instrument. Regardless of the method or technique used, the common purpose of a chiropractic adjustment is to restore proper motion and mechanics to your joints in order to alleviate pain and discomfort as well as improve your body’s ability to function and heal. The majority of adjustments performed today are done so by chiropractors. In addition, a few physiotherapists and medical doctors also perform similar manoeuvres that they refer to as “manipulations”.

  • Traditional manual or hand adjustments

    When you think of a chiropractor, images of someone using their hands to push or twist your back until you hear a “pop” is what comes to mind first for most people. Even amongst traditional hand or manual adjustments there are many different techniques such as Diversified and Gonstead. The “pop” that is heard is thought to be caused as your joint is moved through it’s normal range of motion until negative pressure is created inside the joint resulting in gasses within your joint coming together. Another type of manual adjustment might use a drop-away table to facilitate the adjustment. With these adjustments, the chiropractor will push on a your back in coordination with a moving part of the table that drops away at the same time the thrust is delivered

  • Instrument adjustments

    The most commonly used technique that utilizes an instrument to deliver the chiropractic adjustment is Activator Methods. An Activator adjustment utilizes a hand-held instrument to deliver the thrust portion of your adjustment. Each adjustment using the Activator instrument delivers between 10-40lbs of pressure or 50-200N of force, depending on the instrument setting and the area being adjusted. One difference between a traditional hand adjustment and an Activator adjustment is that the Activator adjustments will oftentimes seem lighter than the manual adjustment. The reason for this is because the thrust from an Activator instrument is faster than the thrust from our hands and so less force is typically needed in the adjustment. Other instrument techniques include Torque Release and Atlas Orthogonal

So Which Technique Is Better For Me?

Do you prefer oranges or apples? When it comes down to it, it usually is a matter of preference. In terms of effectiveness, the majority of research studies have shown that both approaches produce similar results in terms of patient care and recovery. Both forms of adjusting are very safe with extremely low risks of injury and side effects. The choice is up to you.

We Can Help
Many of life’s injuries respond well with chiropractic care. Speak with your North Burnaby Heights chiropractor at 604-738-1168. We can help you figure out what the problem is and how to get you back to living your life on your terms.

Results may vary from patient to patient