Chiropractic treatment of temporomandibular disorders using the activator adjusting instrument: a prospective case series

J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2003 Sep;26(7):421-5. doi: 10.1016/S0161-4754(03)00096-4.


Objective: To determine if there was a basis for the treatment of temporomandibular disease (TMD) using the chiropractic protocol developed by Activator Methods, International.

Setting: Private, solo practice of an Activator advanced proficiency rated chiropractor with 15 years experience.

Design: Prospective case series.

Participants: Nine adult volunteers with articular TMD recruited from the practice of the treating clinician. Main outcome measures Change from baseline to follow-up of Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain and maximum active mouth opening without pain.

Interventions: Full spine and TMJ adjusting in accordance with the advanced protocol of Activator Methods, International. Participants were typically seen 3 times per week for 2 weeks and according to individual progress thereafter for 6 more weeks.

Results: Eight participants completed outcome assessments. The median VAS decrease was 45 mm (range 21-71); all experienced improvement. The median increase of mouth opening was 9 mm (range 1-15); all showed improvement.

Conclusion: The results of this prospective case series indicated that the TMD symptoms of these participants improved following a course of treatment using the Activator Methods, International protocol. Consequently, further investigation of this type of chiropractic treatment for patients with the articular type of TMD is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Activator Appliances*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manipulation, Chiropractic* / methods
  • Neck Muscles / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disc / physiopathology*
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / physiopathology
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorders / therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome