Spinal manipulation, also called spinal adjustment, is a therapy that uses pressure on a joint of the spine. It is used to improve pain and function. Manipulation can be done with the hands or a special device. The careful, controlled force used on the joint can range from gentle to strong, and from slow to rapid. Sometimes other joints of the body are also worked on to help treat the spine.
Like most back pain treatments, spinal manipulation works for some people, but not for others.
Spinal manipulation is safe when done by a trained health care provider. Afterward, some people feel tired or sore, but serious problems are very rare.
If you have tight muscles or muscles that spasm, your health care provider may first use heat, ultrasound, or electrical current. This helps relax your muscles before you receive spinal manipulation.
Who can do manipulation
Health care providers who are commonly trained do spinal manipulation include:
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics