Spinal manipulation is a specialized area of manual physiotherapy. In spinal manipulation, the physiotherapist uses their hands to apply a controlled, sudden force to a specific joint, patients often hear popping sound like when you crack your knuckles. Spinal manipulation is the use of high speed, small thrust movement of one bone to improve the motion of the joint between two bones (High Velocity low amplitude thrust). These are stronger hands-on techniques that are used to help restore alignment and joint movement and reduce pain. It can be performed at specific spinal joints (facet joints) or other extremity joints in the body. It can help loosen tight tissues around a joint and help with flexibility and alignment.
Spinal manipulation is used by physiotherapists to:
- Facilitate movement,
- Relieve pain, headache (especially cervico-generic headache)
- Increase circulation
- Relax muscles and improve muscle function
Physiotherapists who perform spinal manipulation must have successfully completed an extensive post-graduate manual therapy training program and the required examinations. In order to practice spinal manipulation in Alberta, the therapists must be authorized with the College of Physiotherapy Alberta.
Prior to manipulation is performed, you will be thoroughly assessed by the physiotherapist to ensure that the spinal manipulation is a safe and appropriate techniques for you.