Joint manipulation is a type of passive movement of a skeletal joint. Manipulation is known by several other names. Chiropractors often refer to manipulation of a spinal joint as a spinal adjustment or chiropractic adjustment.
Joint manipulation is characteristically associated with the production of an audible ‘clicking’ or ‘popping’ sound. This sound is believed to be the result of a phenomenon known as cavitation (air gas release) occurring within the synovial fluid of the joint.
Claims made for the benefits of spinal adjustments range from temporary, pain relieving effects to long term wellness and preventive care. We do recognize that some claims are controversial, particularly with regard to indications and health benefits, and at this clinic we don’t make any false expectations or promises.
The effects of spinal manipulation have been shown in studies to include:
- Temporary relief of musculoskeletal pain.
- Shortened time to recover from acute back pain.
- Temporary increase in passive range of motion.
- Physiological effects on the central nervous system, probably at the segmental level.
There are some reported common side effects of spinal manipulation described as mild to moderate and may include: local discomfort, headache, tiredness, or radiating discomfort. We at this clinic find that this is usually not the case and is short lived. There is debate concerning the safety of some of the procedures used in spinal adjustments, particularly those including upper cervical manipulations. In our year of practice we have had no problems with this issue.
In North America, it is most commonly performed by chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, and physical therapists. Chiropractors perform the majority of manipulative treatments in the United States and have the most training in manipulative techniques.