I started out using an adjusting instrument to treat patients fairly early on in my practice. Although we all had to master manual adjusting (treating patients by hand) in chiropractic school, I was drawn to the precise control that could be achieved with an adjusting instrument. Specifically, I can control the precise direction I want to move a misaligned bone, raise or lower the force to the best setting for a particular patient and I can alter the frequency of percussions (small hits, delivered by the instrument).
As I have evolved as a chiropractor, I find myself using my instrument more and more often – to the point that the majority of my adjustments are performed solely with the instrument. While there will always be certain conditions or situations that do respond better with the manual adjustment, quite simply, I find I get better results using an instrument.
My adjusting instrument of choice is the Ultralign made by Sigma instruments. It used to be marketed under the name ProAdjuster. I like the firm but gentle percussions of the adjusting head. The adjusting head is connected to a computer the monitors the motion of the joint being adjusted. The computer will stop the adjusting once it detects the bone has stopped moving. It also allows me to use the same head to measure different parts of the spine and determine which bones are restricted or not moving properly. In all, I believe to be the best adjusting instrument on the market.
In some ways it is very similar to the Pulstar instrument. I do prefer the Ultralign. Having used and been adjusted by both instruments, I find that the design of the Ultralign adjusting head provides a more firm adjustment. If I had to describe the difference, I would say be Ultralign adjustment is more percussive while the Pulstar is more vibrational. Basically, I believe the Ultralign moves the bones better.
Another adjusting instrument is the Impulse instrument made by Neuromechanical Innovations. The Impulse instrument is not connected to a computer in the same way the Ultralign or the Pulstar are. So the chiropractor cannot use it to analyze spinal motion. But its most advanced model does have the ability to stop adjusting when it detects that the bone has stopped moving. Its adjustment is also more percussive – similar to the Ultralign. However, the Impulse is limited to 3 force settings so there is a bit less versatility in that area from the doctor’s point of view. I also find that the impulse is less versatile than the Ultralign because of fewer adjusting tip that are available for different conditions.
Many times a patient of mine will be in the process of moving away or wish to find a chiropractor who uses an instrument for someone they know who lives in different area. In cases like this, I will try to find a chiropractor who uses the Ultralign. If I cannot find one, I will try to find a doctor who uses one of the other instruments. Although I think the Ultralign is the best one out there, the others are fully capable of helping patients get out of pain without any of the cracking or popping that so many patients do not like.