The activator technique is an research-based chiropractic specific method of spinal manipulation. It is an instrument assisted adjustment and it is considered a low-force technique due to the limited amplitude of the instrument. It was developed by Arlan Fuhr and is now the second largest utilized technique in the profession. The technique is performed by the chiropractor testing out a series of muscle movements on the patient while watching several cues including the patient's leg length. The doctor may also perform isolation tests of the joint by statically palpating the area.
The instrument is a small handheld spring-loaded instrument which delivers a small impulse to the spine or the joint to be affected. It is effective through the activation of the joint's nerve endings producing a similar neurologic stimulation to that of a traditional diversified adjustment. This method of manipulation may be used in instances where the doctor feels a contraindication may be present for traditional care.