The New Face of
Instrument Adjusting
Technology Innovation Solves the Basic
Needs of Chiropractic Adjusting
By Christopher J. Colloca, D.C.
At the very core of any technology enhancement
lies the inherent concept of simply solving a need. Take for
example the development of air-powered construction tools.
No longer do we need to swing a hammer four to five times
to drive a nail. Today’s nail guns harness the power of com-
pressed air to generate the necessary force to drive a nail with
the single pull of a trigger. Not only is the air gun less labor
for the carpenter, it’s also faster. It’s more efficient allowing the
contractor to do more work and earn more income in the same
amount of time. The technology also does a better job. By
setting the air pressure on the compressor, we can drive the
nail such that it can be recessed into the wood without any risk
of marring the wood as would commonly be seen with using
a hammer (side-effects). The technology enhancement of air
powered construction tools solved the need of more efficient
construction and revolutionized the commercial and residential
building industry. Likewise, technology enhancement has for
the first time enabled adjusting instruments to create more effi-
cient adjustments and even rival the forces of traditional manual
chiropractic adjustments. The future is now.
A New Face of Instrument Adjusting
Adjusting Instruments have of course been around for decades,
and were perhaps most popularized within the chiropractic pro-
fession by the spring-loaded activation devices. These instru-
ments were branded as “low-force” and heavily scrutinized for
their ability to actually move a bone, driving a research agen-
da for not only investigation, but their survival. Unfortunately,
however, Instrument Adjusting has been traditionally associated
with esoteric chiropractic analyses that have been challenged
for their face validity. For instance, Followers of the Activator
Method analyze the feet looking for leg lengths changes while
asking the patient to put their arms on their back or over their
head to confirm a vertebral subluxation at a specified level.
According to the Method, these arm movements are assigned
to a particular vertebral segment and flexing the legs suppos-
edly tells the clinician what side to adjust the patient on and
whether the adjustment was successful or not. Adapted from
Directional Non-Force Technique (DNFT), Activator technique
is more closely related to Network and Applied Kinesiology in
theory (with its leg checks, pressure tests and challenges), and
this may be the reason that many in the profession have steered
clear of it. Others, may own an Activator, but don’t practice
the Method.
Recognizing the inherent dangers in being associated with
other Instrument Adjusting approaches, our team set out to
carve our mission of legitimizing Instrument Adjusting not only
within chiropractic, but also to the general health care commu-
nity and to the public. To this extent, we crafted a strategic plan
to assess instrument adjusting utilization and perception and
to provide the improvements and enhancements necessary to
advance the technique and the profession.
Instrument delivered chiropractic care can be broken down into
two components The instrument technology itself and the clini-
cal application that the technique is based upon (Figure 1).
Figure 1. Instrument Adjusting includes the technology of the
product represented by the instrument brand and the functional-
ity or performance of the device as well as the clinical applica-
tion that is taught in the clinical training that includes the
indications to administer the treatment and the clinical decision
making accompanying the actual technique application.
First level strategic inputs to assess in legitimizing Instrument
Adjusting include Technology development and evaluation of
the Clinical Applications.
As shown in Figure 2, these inputs are driven by research
and development culminating in scientific journal publications
that validate the developed technology. Medical Device
Certifications ensure quality and further solidify the medico-legal
ramifications of using instrument adjusting technology in your
practice. Through literature review, evidence-based Technique
Development comprises the incorporation of clinical tests with
the best evidence as inclusion criteria for adjustment clinical
indicators, and Clinical Training and practical testing are incor-
porated to ensure clinical proficiency. Last, efforts to increase
the awareness of the Instrument Adjusting movement within
chiropractic were created through a Marketing and Business
Expansion effort to increase the utilization of chiropractic care
by the public.