Spinal manipulation, also called spinal adjustment, is a treatment 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 to do spinal manipulation include:
- Osteopathic physicians.
- Physical therapists.
- Medical doctors, such as physiatrists.
Current as of: July 1, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine