Sunday, October 3, 2010

My thoughts on Pro Adjuster. Is it even chiropractic?

First off, I'm a Chiropractic Physician who has been adjusting my patients with both MY HANDS as well as HANDHELD TOOLS for 17 years. In the past couple of years, I've attended a couple of seminars where I practically got bonked over the head with the "Pro Adjuster" sales pitch.

Then I even got persuaded into having a fellow DC (who also is a Pro Adjuster sales guy as well as a Pro Adjuster technique teacher at a Chiropractic College) give me a Pro Adjuster treatment. Needless to say, I wasn't impressed.

This doc said that his exam revealed that T4 (my 4th thoracic vertebrae) was in need of a "Pro Adjuster adjustment". Then he supposedly adjusted it. I have a real issue with the way that this went down.

As I said previously, I've been practicing since 1993. If I need to find the 4th thoracic vertebrae on a patient, I was taught to find T1 (which is a prominent landmark). Then I was taught to use my fingers to palpate (feel) each vertabrae until I got from point A to point B (ie, T2, T3 & finally T4 in this case). This doc did no such thing, which is to say that he guessed where my T4 vertebrae is. Shame on him! I can honestly say that in seventeen years of practice, I've never ever GUESSED where a specific vertebrae was on a patient. Even when my patients get adjusted with a hand held Activator instrument, I count the vertebrae with my fingers the same way. My patients deserve nothing less!

Which brings us to what diferentiates CHIROPRACTIC from OSTEOPATHY in the first place. Chiropractic adjustments are specific! If my analysis (consultation, exam, xrays) determined that the patient has a vertebral subluxation (pinched nerve) at T4, then I need to adjust T4! I don't need to adjust T3 or T5!!!

Osteopathic manipulation on the other hand, is much more general than chiropractic. With osteopathic manipulation, as long as something moves, both doctor & patient should be happy. Of course, we may never really know if it was T3, T4 or T5 that 'moved' when using these non-specific (non-chiropractic) methods!

Therefore, based on my lone experience with a Pro Adjustor 'adjustment', I would say that it was more like osteopathic manipulations that I've had in the past than any of the chiropractic adjustments that I've been blessed to have been on the receiving end of over the past two decades!

My next beef with Pro Adjuster is that Dr. M, the lead sales guy of the company that sells them, is in my opinion a professional salesman first and a Chiropractor second. I've read in Chiropractic Journals that at least a handful of docs that fell for the sales pitch, paid $100,000 or more for the Pro Adjustor equipment bundled with Dr. M's 'practice building' system, and then tried to get their money back got totally screwed by Dr. M & his company. These DC's had to go out of business & file for bankruptcy. That's a shame! Yet Dr. M. claims that he's all about advancing the profession known as 'Chiropractic'! Hmmm?

Dr. M also claims that he invented the Pro Adjuster. But he didn't. Another company invented the instrument. Dr. M just sells it (after he marks the price up considerably, by tens of thousands of dollars) along with his marketing / practice building system.

These Chiro journals also mention several lawsuits pending against Dr. M. and his company. It definitely doesn't sound like a company that I'd ever want to do business with.

My third and final complaint with the Pro Adjuster is that several Pro Adjuster DC's market it something like this "No popping, no cracking, no hurting". OK, here's the deal. There are over 200 different chiropractic techniques. Many of them involve no popping or cracking noises, which I refer to as "audible clicks". I perform two such techniques in my office, without the need for an overpriced $100,000 osteopathic toy!

The truth is that any competent Doctor of Chiropractic knows how to adapt his adjusting techniques to suit the individual needs of each patient. For example:

"Is the patient pregnant?"

"Does she have osteoporosis?", etc.

Their Pro Adjuster marketing also implies that if a Doctor of Chiropractic adjusts you without a Pro Adjuster, you will both feel pain and get hurt. That, my friends, is ludicrous and is what I like to refer to as a huge load of bull shit!

Putting my personal criticisms aside, there are over 200 chiropractic adjusting techniques. Some are osseous (where the patient may hear joints making noises), other are not osseous (no joint noise) and still others make use of instruments such as Activator or Pro-Adjuster. From what I understand, virtually every chiropractic technique has an 80+% success rate. So with that being said, I'm sure that Pro-Adjuster technique is successful in helping it's share of chiropractic patients.

But in my opinion, the type of marketing done by some Pro-Adjustor trained doctors (see above comments) sets the chiropractic profession back. It definitely doesn't advance our profession in the eyes of potential patients! Of course it may advance the profession in YOUR EYES if YOU happen to be a DC who just took the plunge and recently financed your Pro Adjustor purchase, since you now need to make $100,000 to pay off Dr. M. and his company!


  1. It is now 1-10-11. OMG! I just read in two major chiropractic publications today that Dr. M, Mrs. M & their company that used to sell Pro-Adjustors with a highly inflated price-tag have all filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in the state of Pennsylvania as of November 2010. This is a sad state of affairs.

    1. I do not understand what your gripe is.....I have been a patient of Chiropractic care for a better part of 20 years....this practice has come a long way.....I began with manual manipulations, because it seemed like that was all that was available. I moved and found an excellent chiropractor who practiced in NJ, and who just purchased the pro adjuster back in 2007. My body was getting older and I wanted something gentler, and because the chip was developed by NASA....the precision of this machine was greater than human hands. I was absolutely sold on it. So I applaud any chiropractors who are willing to advance their practice to meet the needs of their patients rather than keep practicing worn out and tired practices...Cyndi

  2. Just so you know, not all Chiropracters using the proadjuster are created equal. We use the proadjuster in our office as well as manual manipulation and we feel that both work equally as well. Some patients prefer the manual adjustment and some prefer the proadjuster. We offer both, and are ok with both methods.

    1. I so agree Sandiy, I have been going to a chiropractor all my life to maintain and to keep from getting sick.Most of my life was hand manipulation and combo of the clicker( as I call it) I than moved away from the area my chiropractor was at and found aother chiropractor.He uses the pro adjuster and my first visit, I was unsure about it but after true 2nd visit I was sold on it.One thing I like best is with the pro adjuster they can do specific areas like sinuses, ankle bottom of your feet etc.Yes it does give an accurate adjustment.

    2. I so agree Sandiy, I have been going to a chiropractor all my life to maintain and to keep from getting sick.Most of my life was hand manipulation and combo of the clicker( as I call it) I than moved away from the area my chiropractor was at and found aother chiropractor.He uses the pro adjuster and my first visit, I was unsure about it but after true 2nd visit I was sold on it.One thing I like best is with the pro adjuster they can do specific areas like sinuses, ankle bottom of your feet etc.Yes it does give an accurate adjustment.

  3. What a stupid blog post. Its Chiros like you that divide our profession. You yourself admitted that you use hand held tools for adjusting. Is the Proadjuster any less effective in delivering an impulse into a fixed joint than an Activator, Artherostim or Pulstarfras? No. If a practitioner wants to spend $100,000 for a machine and other benefits that were supposed to come with that machine what do you care?
    BTW, For your information C7 is the vertebral prominens in 70% of people. You have been counting wrong and adjusting the wrong segment for the past 17 years! Your patients deserve better.

  4. I studied Osteopathic Medicine in Australia and though I agree with your thoughts in general regarding Pro-Adjuster and its 'technicians', having been treated by a 'Chiropractor' recently I disagree about Osteopaths. Osteopathy in Australia is/was a 5 year masters degree in purely manual medicine, and as such was exactly how you described Chiropractic assessment for yourself, specific and in my view, re-producable. The C7 - T1 argument is null as 'joint' involves two and Mark should both know that!

  5. I have been in practice for over 27 years, adjusting manually and augmenting the treatments with various modalities. Always with varying degrees of success depending on the problem. My tools included an activator which was used sparingly but also with good effect when directed at the "offending" joint. In 2009 I went to Pittsburg to learn about the ProAdjuster, as a technique and system. What I experienced was disturbing to me as a consumer and as a chiropractor. While it seems true that 80% of all chiropractic treatments are successful, it was bothersome to me that we were told the Pro Adjuster system was very specific in its ability to localize SJC(subluxation Joint Complexes), but did not require any specificity when it came to correcting these. You only need to be in the general area. This seemed to confirm an physical therapy approach. However, what I found was that when instructors re-evaluated the SJC they were able to manipulate the unit to get different responses,(more positive if they so desired). I was able to do this myself after a few minutes. In this way we would be able to show the patients the immediate improvements to substantiate the treatment.
    Needless to say I found the whole experience, the bogus science and the hardsell approach very distasteful and wanted no part of the company.
    What I did find was that there are definitely patients who prefer a no-crack approach. So I looked at the Neuro-mechanical Impulse Adjusting approach which is FAR LESS exepensive, is backed by research and published papers, but requires the specificity of adjusting boney segments that we have come to trust as chiropractic. I feel extremely badly for the DCs that were manipulated into buying the Pro Adjuster system, and have gone bankrupt as a result. Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true...

  6. I actually was directed to this blog by someone who found it late one night. I have to address a few things.

    First, some background: I have been operating a private practice facility since 2008, and bought the Pro-Adjuster prior to opening. I had practiced as an associate for about 1.5 years before starting my practice, including almost 3 months covering a vacationing doctor who had 3 Pro-Adjusters in his practice. That was my first encounter with the machine. He had been practicing for 20+ years before switching his practice to the Pro-Adjuster. His was a high-volume practice; very subluxation-based. And his patients LOVED the Pro-Adjuster. I heard numerous praises and compliments about how they'd "never go to a doctor who 'cracked', but when [they] heard about this, [they] wanted to try it." I was sold on that - a chance to treat patients who would otherwise NEVER visit a chiropractor out of the fear of the adjustment. (Before anyone says that there shouldn't be a fear, stop. I know that there is no danger in CMT. But some people just don't want to hear it. Fear trumps intelligence everytime. I know that grass snakes can't hurt me, but you will NEVER get me to hold one.)

    When I went to Pittsburgh to become more educated on the machine, your story becomes more accurate. I was hesitant from the get-go. They are almost ALL salesmen first and doctors second. They took advantage of my naivete as a new graduate and suckered me into leasing the machine. What's worse is that I wasn't opening up until September, but they forced me into signing in June, giving me no leeway on the payments. I'll admit, I got played BIG time. Between the liars at Pro-Solutions and the "consulting group" at DSE, I came to absolutely hate my job and the profession as a whole. I'll admit, I'm still not fully back.

    However, I do palpate for each vertebral level prior to adjusting, and the patients I have absolutely LOVE the machine and are seeing REAL results. The machine is simply a tool we can use to help treat patients. Do I still manually adjust? You bet. I also use Graston for some soft tissue conditions and routinely use exercise and rehab to help my patients improve. None of that is in the Pro-Solutions model of adjust them and get them out in under 5 minutes. Maybe that's why I'm close to bankruptcy. I'm almost paying off the machine. (Thanks, in part, to the Pro-Solutions bankruptcy, otherwise I'd have gone belly-up 2 years into practice.)

    I truly hope that all those involved in the creation of the company go to jail for fraud and that they all burn in Hell. They took advantage of COUNTLESS doctors who were struggling to build a practice and did so without a care in the world. They took the machine (for which they paid nothing to the actual manufacturer - hence the lawsuit), marked it up by thousands of percentage points, coupled it with bogus, car-salesmen-like consulting tips, and defrauded thousands of doctors. They are true scum and are the epitome of why chiropractors have a bad name. I could go on, because I was at 3-4 different Pro-Adjuster seminars.

    But there are some good doctors out there who have the machine and use it to SUPPLEMENT their treatments.

  7. The main focus of chiropractic medicine and therapy is the relationship between the skeleton (with particular focus on the spine) to the nervous system which runs through it. Chiropractic care is intended not only for the spine but also for the care and rehabilitation of the whole body as well. Perimeter Spine and Rehabilitation Center Reviews

  8. I constantly emailed this site post page to all my friends, because if prefer to read it then my all friends will too. chiropractor dpt - virginia

  9. Nice post! Chiropractic is the most effective and least utilized method of headache neck and back pain treatment available.


  10. I am a patient. Don't know the first thing about Chiro techniques. What I can say though is this; I absolute hate the “crack a back" method of adjusting. I also went to many different Chiro across the country and they all told me I would be doubt visits for the rest of my life basically. One even put a plastic lift in my show.

    Then I found one with a pro adjuster.Not the handheld tool, but the electric "thumping" machine. The first thing he did was laugh and took out the lift. Other chiro had me doing monthly or so visits. This guy has me (after some steady visits) almost yearly.

    I will not go to anyone that does not use a pro adjuster now.

  11. I enjoy reading your post. Thank you very much for taking the time to share good information.Edmonton Chiropractor

  12. I enjoyed your blog a lot. Thank you for posting such wonderful insight. Hope to come here again and again.
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  13. Overall, is the Pro Adjuster really work? Specially Frozen Shoulder…Thanks

    1. If it's like where I went for a couple of visits, it's not going to do anything for your frozen shoulder. The PA only works on the spine, minimum attention from the chiro, and out the door you go.

  14. Nice post! Chiropractic Manipulation is used to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force to joints that have become restricted in their movement. Thanks.

    Edmonton Chiropractor

  15. I am a skeptic about most things and read this post before choosing a new successor in my long line of chiropractors. I hoped his techniques would move me past a plateau that had occurred in my treatment. It has. He tells me the pro adjuster method is slightly different from the hands on but I don't understand that. However I get that it is supposed to "free" up joints. This is how it feels to me. I am more relaxed. How do the muscles become more relaxed? I have no idea. My mobiility has improved with each treatment much as it once did when I could play recreational sports. A lifetime of undiagnosed short leg syndrome has left my back a mess. He has promised me to recover 75% of my mobility and I'm starting to believe him. A couple of bone spurs will remain of course.

  16. I can see that you are putting a lots of efforts into your blog. Keep posting the good work.Some really helpful information in there. Nice to see your site. Thanks!
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  17. If this things works as claimed then it is idiot proof. It's seems like you can hurt anyone with it even if you use it incorrectly.

  18. As a Dental Hygienist, I can attest to the efficacy of the Pro Adjuster. I would arrive for my treatments experiencing tremendous pain in my shoulders, and literally, in the time that it would take me to walk out of the office and sit down in my car, I would experience total relief of the pain. This machine (and my awesome Chiropractor Dr. Chris Nelson in Lake Stevens, WA) have saved my career, and my sanity.

    PS I used to have traditional chiropractic with much less stellar results, and unwanted "cracking" of my bones

  19. This is really interesting take on the concept.I never thought of it that way. I came across this site recently which I think it will be a great use of new ideas and informations. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  22. Glad I found this blog. Have been to a few treatments. Having had traditional chiropractic care for a several years, thought this might be helpful as I had destabilized a bad neck from old car accident.
    Was not impressed, and kept feeling disturbed by the cavalier approach of the situation. The guy spends 3 min w/ you, does no readjusting to get a better result, and it does nothing for any other joint out of place. The spine is not the only point where there are nerve/joint or muscular problems. Didn't feel any better walking out than I had when I walked in.
    What you've written in your blog explains a lot.