Alternative Chiropractic Care: The Activator Tool
When I was 35, I was told I had a degenerative jawbone and would need surgery to prevent it from collapsing. I was also told I would have to wear braces until my teeth matched the new jaw bone. My orthodontist informed me that our bodies' posture is directly related to our teeth because we lead with our teeth. Since my lower jaw bone was recessive, I had a pretty noticeable overbite; therefore, my shoulders slumped forward. He said he was sending me to a chiropractor.
My reaction was, “Whoa, hold on there. I do not trust chiropractors. I will not go.” He bluntly said he would not treat me if I did not follow his directions to receive chiropractic treatments. He was a specialist in orthodontics dealing with only the most serious cases, and I had no other choice but to keep him as my orthodontist and to follow his directions for chiropractic treatments with the clinician he had chosen. I had fears of being popped and snapped and eventual back surgery. I know that is unfair to the good chiropractors out there, but I had heard horrible stories.
I finally go to my first chiropractic appointment. The chiropractor is a lovely lady who is so personable. I could not help but like her, though I was still skeptical. I had to watch a video about a little chiropractic tool called an activator. Okay, so this little tool that looks like a syringe is supposed to gently put my vertebrae back into place and there would be no manual manipulation of my bones. Sounds good, but really ?
She asked me some questions about headaches, eye strain, dizziness, tension, and a variety of other things dealing with my well-being. She sounded like a medical doctor. I told her I experienced all these symptoms. She attributed much of it to my degenerative jaw, but also stated that many of my problems were from being a teacher who constantly graded papers and worked at a computer. I told her I often had pain in my neck, shoulders, and lower back and was currently experiencing pain in all those areas.
She had me lie face down on a table then while holding my ankles, she directed me to place my hands in different places alongside or across my body and back. Again, I am thinking, Really? I asked her how she could tell anything by moving my ankles around, up and down and to the side. She said she could tell where my alignment was out by the position of my feet, whether one was higher or lower to the other. Then she told me she was going to use the chiropractic activator to adjust my vertebrae. I was still wary and prayed first that it wouldn’t hurt then that I would not end up on some surgeon’s table.
To my great surprise and relief, she used the activator to adjust my C5 vertebrae in my neck then on several of my lower back vertebrae. My headache was instantly gone, and the activator felt like a quick flick to each vertebrae. The only thing I heard was the click of the activator. She asked me to bend my knees so my ankles would be at a 90 degree angle with my body and to hold them together as hard as I could so she could try to pull them apart. I did as she asked thinking she would not be able to pull them apart. She easily did pull them apart, and I felt a familiar pain in my low back. She told me to move to another table and to lie face down again. She adjusted the table to barely lift my lower body up at the hips. As she was doing this, she informed my tailbone was out, probably from sitting on hard surfaces like wooden chairs and bleachers. She then instructed me to put my knees together with my ankles up, again, but to let my feet fall naturally to the sides. A quick push on my hips caused the table to drop making my body flat. Still on my stomach and face down, she asked me to put my ankles together again and to hold tight. She could not pull them apart. After 10 minutes of lying with localized massagers on my neck and low back, I felt like a million bucks. No headache or back pain or feeling dizzy; the pain was gone. I could not believe it. Check with your insurance, they might pay for it. I will say that it is well worth the money to feel better if you do have to pay for the visits.
Regular Chiropractic Services
After choosing to go to an alternative chiropractor and feeling wonderful each time I left and having to go less and less, I decided to try a regular chiropractor - mainly out of curiosity. My husband is a tall, muscular man who has exercised and physically worked hard all his life. He has always used a regular chiropractor, and he feels just as good as I do after adjustments with my alternative chiropractor. My alternative chiropractor encouraged me to try the regular chiropractor, too. She said she had both a regular and an alternative chiropractor. So, I decided to try. I chose a chiropractic clinic that had a great reputation.
My experience with the regular chiropractor did not work out as well for me as my husband’s and my alternative chiropractor’s experiences had for them. First, I was tense and found it hard to relax for the physical manipulations. The chiropractor was a nice man who tried to sooth me, but he was as big as my husband. First, he had me lie on my side and put my leg over in front. He held my hip and shoulder and pushed in opposite directions. I could actually hear the loud popping of my vertebrae as they were adjusted back into place. My eyes must have nearly popped out of my head, too, at the sound. He asked, “Are you all right?” I assured him I was fine, just surprised. Then he leaned my head to the side and was about to adjust my neck. I instantly tensed up with visions of Rambo snapping an enemy’s neck. Once again, the chiropractor had to sooth me into a relaxed state. Once again, I heard the loud pop in my neck.
The adjustment was over and I left. I felt sore and questioned my decision to try a regular chiropractor. My muscles felt swelled around the vertebrae, and I did not feel well for about a day. Once my muscles calmed down, I could tell the adjustment had worked. I continued going to him for three more months, but the results were the same each time I left.
The Difference Between the Regular Chiropractic Care and the Alternative Chiropractic Care
With the alternative chiropractic care, I did not hear popping of vertebrae, nor did I feel tense before having the chiropractic activator applied to my vertebrae. I instantly felt better. While the regular chiropractic care worked, I had to wait for the swelling to go down in my muscles around my vertebrae. I did not feel good for at least a day and had to take ibuprofen. My husband did not understand why the regular chiropractic care did not work as well with me as they did with him. I think it is because he has much more muscle mass around his vertebrae to cushion the adjustment, and he probably did not tense up like I did before the regular chiropractic treatment.
The regular chiropractor wanted me to sign up for scheduled treatments on a weekly then biweekly basis. He was a good chiropractor, but I did not feel I needed to be in the office for months on end before feeling better. Plus, the cost of the treatments would escalate while I waited to be what he thought was 100%. He did not have much faith in the activator method though he knew how to use it and the concepts behind it. I was not impressed with his arrogant attitude toward alternative chiropractic treatment.
Suggestions for Between Visits to the Alternative Chiropractor
When I am grading papers or looking at a computer, I should take a break to lie down with a rolled up towel or a long, tube-like pillow to put under my neck and a regular pillow under my knees. This stretches my neck muscles and vertebrae and helps keep my back aligned.
While sitting up straight, such as when watching TV or driving, place what she calls a neck buddy around my neck. It is a tube sock filled with 4-6 cups of rice and sewn at each end. It helps put my neck vertebrae back into place or to keep it in place. It also builds the muscle up around my neck. She said to never walk around with it on or to look down. The neck buddy can also be placed in the freezer or microwave for the heat/ ice effect.
Sit on a cushion or pillow rather than directly on a hard surface. She recommended a tailbone cushion that is shaped like a thin wedge with a hole in the back, thicker part of the cushion for the tailbone to rest and to be protected. I bought a couple at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for fifteen dollars each. I use one at home and one stays in the car.
Benefits of Alternative Chiropractic Services
My quality of life is much better since going to an alternative chiropractor who uses the activator. I no longer suffer through headaches or back aches. My alternative chiropractor tells me when she believes it is a chiropractic issue or a medical issue. If it is a medical issue, as it was when I was having muscle spasms in my back, she told me to go see my doctor because she could not help me with an adjustment. I only go on an as-needed basis and do not feel pressured to go through a whole regiment that lasts for months. I know when I assign papers to my classes that I will need an appointment. I know when I sit on hard surfaces that I will need an appointment.
How to Find an Alternative Chiropractor
To find an alternative chiropractor in your area, type activator.com into your address bar or search engine. Once you get to the site, choose a city or enter your zip code. Alternative chiropractors with addresses, phone numbers, and sometimes a website will appear for your area.
See How the Alternative Chiropractor Works with the Activator
Questions & Answers
© 2011 Susan Holland