There are two important questions every chiropractor should ask, no matter what stage of your career: how safe and effective is the adjusting instrument you are using? And, is the method you are using to find a subluxation validated by research?
These two questions go straight to the heart of our integrity as a profession and are critical to building, preserving and maintaining your own practice and reputation.
Activator recently experienced the power of these questions first-hand as we sought and received approval for the use of Activator instruments in Australia. Licensure of adjusting instruments in that country is handled by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and among their very first requests of us was for data that would show the safety and effectiveness of the Activator.
I’ve often said that research will save the day, and that maxim has proven to be true once again. Activator forwarded to the TGA a 1985 paper, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), answering these specific queries. Activator passed muster with flying colors.
(Another recent newsletter, The Chiropractic Report by the Secretary General of the World Federation of Chiropractic, gives some history of The Activator Method, as well as an overview of the collected research. Read the report here:
Here in the United States and around the world, Activator bases its success on research. We recently published our eighteenth clinical trial (you can read an assortment of Activator research by visiting our website at http://www.activator.com/research/). To our knowledge, no other adjusting instrument on the market today – besides the Activator – has any clinical trials supporting effectiveness. (It is worth noting that a study about a specific instrument does not automatically apply to all other instruments. That’s something like publishing a study about a particular drug, then attempting to use it to make claims about similar drugs that were never tested. Once again, my advice is to put your faith in solid research.)
Another question posed frequently is whether research validates techniques for locating a subluxation with specific testing. The paper entitled Review of Methods Used by Chiropractors to Determine the Site for Applying Manipulation by Triano et.al. in Chiropractic and Manual Therapies 2013, 21:36 (http://www.chiromt.com/content/21/1/36) is a comprehensive evaluation of how chiropractors assess a patient and know where to manipulate. You will be quite surprised to see what is supported by the evidence and what is not.
As chiropractors, we have a tendency to run from one new piece of equipment to another, sometimes spending a great deal of money, without asking these simple questions. I hope these musings convince not only the veteran field practitioner, but also the new student, to make informed decisions on the adjusting instruments and methods of analysis they will use to determine safety and effectiveness for their own patients.