Over the past decade, mechanical adjusting devices (MADs) were a major source of debate within the Chiropractors’ Association of Saskatchewan (CAS). Since Saskatchewan was the only jurisdiction in North America to prohibit the use of MADs, the CAS established a committee in 2001 to review the literature on MADs. The committee evaluated the efficacy, of literature on safety, and uses of moving stylus instruments within chiropractic practice, and the educational requirements for chiropractic practice. Following the rating criteria for the evaluation of evidence, as outlined in the Clinical Guidelines for Chiropractic Practice in Canada (1994), the committee reviewed 55 articles – all of which pertained to the Activator. Of the 55 articles, 13 were eliminated from the final study. Of the 42 remaining articles, 6 were rated as class 1 evidence; 11 were rated as class 2 evidence and 25 were rated as class 3 evidence.

In this article – the second in a series of two – we review the results of uses and usage, safety and educational requirements. Of the 30 articles designated under the category of usage, 3 were rated as Class 1 evidence; 9 studies were classified as Class 2 evidence and 18 were rated as Class 3 evidence. Overall the committee reached consensus that in clinical practice, there is broad application of these procedures. A minority report was written arguing that the reviewer was unable to reach a conclusion about the use of the Activator Instrument other than it is used as a clinical and research tool.

Of the 16 studies that dealt either explicitly or implicitly with safety, 4 were Class 1 evidence; 3 were Class 2 evidence and 9 were Class 3 evidence. Overall the committee reached consensus that the evidence supports that the Activator instrument is safe and has no more relative risk than do manual HVLA procedures. A minority report was written arguing that there is no evidence either to support or refute the view that MAD is safe. Of the 5 studies that dealt with educational requirements, all were Class 3 evidence. Overall the committee reached consensus that there was no evidence in the literature with respect to educational requirements to form any conclusions. A minority report was written offering opinion that there is evidence with respect to educational requirements.

J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2004 Jun; 48(2): 152–161. [PMC1840040]

Author information: Shane H Taylor, DC, Chairman, Nicole D Arnold, BSc, DC, Lesley Biggs, PhD, Christopher J Colloca, BS, DC, Dale R Mierau, DC, FCCS, MSc, Bruce P Symons, BSc, MSc, DC, and John J Triano, DC, PhD, FCCS.

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