The chiropractics profession has been around a long time and over the years dozens of different spinal manipulation methods have developed. Two of the most commonly used techniques are the Gonstead Technique and the Activator method. Which one is better for you? The following information may help you decide.
The Gonstead Technique
This technique was started by Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead of Wisconsin when he became a chiropractor in 1923. His idea of chiropractics references all body misalignments to the pelvic girdle, the body’s foundation according to the Gonstead theory.
Just like a building’s foundation needs to be level and firm to support the top of the building, the body’s foundation of the pelvic bones and the lower back bones needs to be level and in balance for the rest of the body to be secure and functioning well.
If these base bones become out of place at all through accidents or just abnormal movements, the whole body can be thrown out of whack. When the body is unable to naturally correct these misalignments, chiropractics is the key to setting things straight again.
Those using or following this concept will look carefully for misalignments in the upper back, but especially in the lower back near the pelvic bones. Manual techniques are often accompanied by spinal X-rays to get a complete understanding of the spine’s shape.
The theory then is once the exact problem vertebra is located, that problem area and nothing else should be adjusted back into place. Everything else will naturally fall into alignment when the root problem is fixed.
The Activator Method
This technique was created by Arlan Fuhr in the early 1960s with the introduction of his spring-load tool called the activator. The tool is used to replace manual manipulation of the spine and is often less jolting on the patient.
This is because the activator is used to pop misaligned vertebrae or joints back into place individually. In this procedure, the chiropractor has the patient lay flat, face down on a table while the doctor compares the length of the patient’s legs. If one leg appears shorter than the other, the chiropractor will press on individual vertebrae on the back to see if that makes a difference in the length of the leg.
That vertebra is then adjusted with a special tool and the doctor repeats this process until all necessary vertebrae have been realigned.
This is a very popular treatment in the United States today. A National Board of Chiropractic Examiners survey from 2003 found that almost 70 percent of American chiropractors employed the activator procedure in their practices. And this technique is taught is most of the chiropractics schools around the country today.
Both these procedures have many ardent followers among chiropractors and patients. Both have plenty of people who love each style and claim it works the best. You may need to try each method for yourself before you can determine which the best solution for your back troubles is.