A spinal adjustment is one of the manual therapy treatment techniques where a licensed medical practitioner uses their hands or special instruments to manipulate the restricted joint in your spine. For this method, the practitioner applies a short (low-amplitude), quick (high-velocity) thrust over the disabled joint with the goal of restoring normal range of motion in the joint. The patient’s body is positioned in specific ways to optimize the adjustment of the spine.
Why do we need to manipulate our spine?
Due to stress and overuse in our body, our vertebrae lose their natural mobility in combination with tight surrounding connective tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons). By giving external force in a specific direction based on the angle of the targeted joint, we can decompress the joint and break up the adhesions limiting the joint mobility.
What is the benefit of this technique?
A spinal adjustment can help reduce pain, correct your body’s alignment and improve functional movement immediately. This technique can give a significant effect when the spine has lots of compression forces due to tight muscles attached on the spine. The patients with big and tight muscle groups from heavy workout or long sitting in the office can be good candidates for this technique. In addition, it activates nerve conduction speed so we can find increased arm and shoulder strength and reaction speed after performing neck adjustment.
Main location of spinal manipulation
- Upper/ Middle/ Lower cervical spine (neck)
- C-T junction (the connection area of neck and thoracic spine)
- Mid thoracic spine (mid back)
- Lower lumbar spine (lower back)
Does spinal adjustment (manipulation) have a long term effect?
Spinal adjustment alone has a short term effect since tight connective tissues (muscle, fascia, tendon, etc) will compress the spine again. Thus, spinal adjustment has the maximum effect when performed in combination of connective tissue treatment techniques (trigger point therapy, myofascial release) followed by the stretching and strengthening exercise program. Exercise program becomes more effective after having spinal adjustment due to increased joint mobility and nerve activation.
Effective treatment protocol
- Manual Therapy to release restricted connective tissues
- Spinal adjustment (manipulation)
- Stretching and strengthening program
- Home exercise program