What are the Differences Between an Arthrostim and an Activator, and Why We Choose Arthrostim


When you visit a chiropractor, they utilize various tools and techniques to help your body heal and function better. Two popular instruments in chiropractic care are the Arthrostim and the Activator.

In this article, we will delve into the key differences between these two tools, explaining them in a simple way so you can better understand how they work. We’ll also share why our clinic prefers using the Arthrostim for patient care.

Understanding Chiropractic Tools

Before diving into the specifics of the Arthrostim and the Activator, it’s important to understand why chiropractors use tools in the first place. Traditional chiropractic care does not work for all patients.  Especially those patients that are more sensitive, like seniors, children, pregnant women, those recovering from an injury, or someone that has health risks that shouldn’t receive a traditional adjustment. For more information about the differences between chiropractic styles, read our blog post about Traditional Chiropractic vs. Instrument only Chiropractic vs. Hybrid Chiropractic. By using specialized tools, chiropractors can make precise adjustments and gentle adjustments to the spine and other joints, helping to relieve pain, improve mobility, and promote overall health.

How the Arhtrostim and Activator Work

Even though both the Arthrostim and Activator are addressing the same need for patients, the way that they work is very different. In the section below, we will describe some of the differences. 


The Arthrostim is a chiropractic adjusting instrument that uses rapid, repetitive tapping motions to deliver precise adjustments. With the ability to deliver multiple taps per second, it can provide a wide range of treatments for various issues.

Picture of Impac Arthrostim

One of the significant benefits of the Arthrostim is its ability to deliver adjustments with minimal force. This makes it an excellent option for patients who are sensitive to traditional manual adjustments or those with specific conditions that require a gentler touch.

The Arthrostim’s versatility allows chiropractors to target specific areas of the spine and other joints, making it suitable for addressing various conditions.


The Activator is another popular chiropractic adjusting instrument. Unlike the Arthrostim, the Activator uses a single, controlled impulse to deliver adjustments.

This tool has been in use for several decades and is widely recognized for its effectiveness in treating various spinal and joint issues.



While the Activator also offers precision, its single impulse delivery makes it a more focused instrument when compared to the Arthrostim.

The Main Differences between the Arthrostim and Activator

  • Speed: The most noticeable difference between the Arthrostim and the Activator is the speed at which adjustments are delivered. The Arthrostim’s rapid tapping motion allows for multiple adjustments to be made in a short period, making treatment sessions more efficient.

    The Activator, on the other hand, delivers a single, controlled impulse for each adjustment. While this method can be effective, it may require more time to address multiple areas or complete a comprehensive treatment.

  • Force: Another significant difference between the two tools is the amount of force applied during adjustments. The Arthrostim uses less force than the Activator, delivering gentle, rapid taps that can be more comfortable for some patients.

    The Activator’s single impulse adjustment may feel more forceful to some patients leaving them sore afterwards, particularly those who are sensitive to manual adjustments. However, it is still considered a low-force adjusting technique when compared to traditional manual chiropractic adjustments.

  • Precision and Versatility: Both the Arthrostim and the Activator offer precision in delivering adjustments. However, the Arthrostim’s rapid percussion system allows for more targeted treatment, enabling the chiropractor to address a wider range of issues.

    The Activator, while precise, may be better suited for more focused treatments and specific conditions, as it delivers a single impulse per adjustment.

Why We Choose Arthrostim

Our clinic prefers using the Arthrostim for several reasons:

  • Comfort: Many patients find the Arthrostim’s gentle, rapid taps more comfortable than the single impulse of the Activator. This makes it an excellent choice for patients who are sensitive to traditional manual adjustments or those with specific conditions requiring a gentler approach.

  • Efficiency: The Arthrostim’s ability to deliver multiple adjustments per second allows for quicker treatment sessions, which can be beneficial for both the patient and the chiropractor. This increased efficiency means that patients can spend less time in the clinic and more time enjoying the benefits of their treatment.

  • Flexibility: The Arthrostim’s versatility makes it suitable for addressing a wide variety of musculoskeletal issues. From spinal misalignments to joint problems, the Arthrostim can be used to treat a broader range of conditions than the Activator.

  • Customizability: The Arthrostim allows chiropractors to customize the force and frequency of adjustments to meet each patient’s unique needs. This level of personalization can lead to more effective treatment plans and better patient outcomes.

  • Patient Satisfaction: Many patients report positive experiences and outcomes with the Arthrostim. This high level of patient satisfaction contributes to our decision to use this instrument in our clinic.

Both the Arthrostim and the Activator are valuable tools for chiropractors, each with its own set of benefits and applications. However, our clinic prefers using the Arthrostim due to its increased comfort, efficiency, flexibility, customizability, and patient satisfaction. When choosing a chiropractic treatment plan, it’s essential to discuss your specific needs and preferences with your chiropractor. They can help determine which instrument, whether it be the Arthrostim or the Activator, is best suited for your individual situation and provide the most effective care possible.