What is a manipulation? A manipulation is a quick thrust (high acceleration, low amplitude thrust) applied to a specific joint in the body in order to increase the amount of motion at that joint. The manipulation causes a neurophysiological response, helping to decrease local pain and muscle tone.
Who should receive manipulation? Individuals with a fixated or “stuck” joint. A fixated joint is one that will not move in a certain direction and often leads to pain and dysfunction. This fixated joint could be causing a problem locally or somewhere else along the kinetic chain. This individual must be cleared for all contraindications prior to manipulation.
How can this help me as a patient with back pain? It has been shown that individuals with back pain can benefit greatly from manipulation immediately and several months after the intervention. The results from the study below by Janette Morton indicate that patients who received manipulation in addition to an exercise program experienced less pain immediately and 3 months after treatment compared to the group that performed exercise only. Not only did the group that received manipulation experience less back pain, they also demonstrated improved range of motion in their low back as well as improved ability to perform every day tasks.
Who can do this for me? Physical therapists are trained to perform these precise movements in a specific manner in order to produce the best benefit with little harm. Some physical therapists are trained in more advanced methods of manipulation. These therapists are considered manual therapists and should be certified. The team members at GOfit are both certified manual physical therapists!
Janette E. Morton (2013) Manipulation in the Treatment of Acute Low Back Pain, Journal of Manual & Manipulative Therapy, 7:4, 182-189, DOI: 10.1179/106698199790811546