What is spinal manipulation?

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Spinal manipulation: Overview

Spinal manipulation uses pressure on a joint of the spine to improve pain and function. The force used can range from gentle to strong and from slow to rapid. Other body joints may be worked on to help treat the spine. This treatment works for some people but not for others.

Spinal manipulation

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.

Who can do spinal manipulation?

Health care providers who are commonly trained to do spinal manipulation include chiropractors and osteopathic doctors.

How does spinal manipulation feel?

You'll lie on a table while a health professional uses their hands or a device to put pressure on your spine. The pressure normally doesn't hurt. Some health professionals use a table that allows a slight drop when they press down on your back. This method is noisy but gentle.

Why might you choose spinal manipulation to treat back pain?

You might consider spinal manipulation if:

  • Your back pain hasn't improved after a few weeks of other treatments, such as heat or ice, pain medicine, or physical therapy.
  • You want a treatment that involves hands-on contact.
  • You want to avoid medicines and their possible side effects.
  • You've had spinal manipulation before, and it helped.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.