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Spinal manipulation is a technique where practitioners use their hands or a device to apply a controlled thrust to a joint of your spine. The amount of force can vary, but the thrust moves the joint more than it would on its own. It is designed to relieve pressure on joints, reduce inflammation, and improve nerve function. It’s often used to treat back, neck, shoulder, and headache pain in combination with other treatments i.e. deep tissue massage, electrotherapy, rehabilitation exercises. The common goal of most spinal manipulations is to restore or to enhance joint function, with the general goals of resolving joint inflammation and reducing pain.
Physiotherapists and osteopaths adapt treatment plans to meet the specific needs of each patient. Some of these treatment plans involve some forceful and less forceful spinal adjustment techniques during the same visit or over the course of treatment .
The most frequently used technique, spinal manipulation, is the traditional high-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) thrust. The manipulation often results in an audible “pop,” as physiotherapists use their hands to apply a controlled sudden force to a joint while the body is positioned in a specific way.
Some patients and/or clinicians prefer mild spinal mobilization techniques that do not involve twisting of the body or a forceful thrust.The goal of spinal mobilization is the same as HVLA spinal manipulation – to restore or to enhance joint function. However, unlike HVLA spinal manipulation, slow movement, usually to a firm endpoint of joint movement, is used to mobilize the joint.
Physiotherapists may choose spinal mobilization for certain patients for a variety of reasons, such as:
See video below demonstrating spinal manipulation