Doctors' Choice Physical Medicine

Back Pain – Understanding Spinal Manipulation Techniques

The time comes when every home remedy you’ve experimented with simply doesn’t get rid of that nagging back pain, and you’re left with no choice but to get a professional opinion.

Lucky for you, chiropractors are well-versed experts who have been trained in the art of remedying back problems and it certainly pays to get to know some of the spinal manipulation techniques that are employed.

Spinal Manipulation Vs Spinal Mobilization 

Remedial techniques essentially zero in on a common objective – restoring or improving joint function by significantly reducing joint inflammation as well as general discomfort due to back pain. Certain approaches make use of more force, such as spinal manipulation, while others are comparatively more gentle – spinal mobilization.

What originally came to be known as spinal manipulation is referred to by many chiropractors as “high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust (HVLA). Newer spinal adjustment approaches entail a variation of existing techniques and often borrow their names from the chiropractor responsible for developing them.

Specific treatment plans are adapted to meet individual needs of every patient. In order to curb back pain, forceful and less forceful spinal adjustment techniques are administered either in a single visit or multiple ones.

Let’s take a closer look at spinal manipulation and mobilization techniques commonly practiced today.

 Spinal Manipulation – HVLA

The HVLA thrust is the most frequently used technique in spinal manipulation today. Your practitioner uses his/her hands to apply a controlled force that is quick and focused, resulting in an audible “pop”. You will be asked to position your body a certain way so as to target a specific joint.

Spinal Mobilization – Low-force / Gentle Chiropractic Techniques

Certain pre-existing conditions like osteoporosis and patient-specific factors – comfort level, size, pathology, preference – warrant a gentler approach. Also, some patients and even clinics simply prefer going with mild spinal mobilization techniques that leave twisting the body or a forceful thrust, out of the equation.

Apart from manipulation, a lot of chiropractors make use of adjunctive therapy like ice or heat. Other physical modalities include electric stimulation and ultrasound that form part of the overall program. As a patient, you need to discuss your symptoms and preferences beforehand, so that a thorough examination can be conducted to determine an ideal course of action.

Chiropractors are among the most well-trained, learned and experienced health care practitioners who serve as a homing beacon for those suffering from continuous back pain and other more serious conditions.

Image used under Creative Commons Licensing: chiropractic technique by Michael Dorausch