Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT)
Manipulation is defined as a form of manual therapy, which involves movement of a joint past its usual end range of motion. This can be applied to any joint. The patient is first positioned in a way that the involved joint or joints can be isolated from the others. Then, the doctor uses his hands to apply a gentle force to the joint. This moves the joint surfaces, and usually results in a popping sound.
Many times, back and neck pain is the result of joints that are not moving properly. Imagine a door that only opens halfway because of a stuck hinge. You could still use it, but it is more troublesome than a door that opens fully.
What Benefits Are Derived From Joint Mobilization and Manipulation?
- Improved joint mobility
- Decreased muscle spasms & tension
- Decreased pain
Joint mobilization is utilized on patients in which spinal manipulative therapy is not warranted, not appropriate or contra-indicated.
Joint mobilization is the careful use of skillfully applied passive graded forces to move a joint in a desired direction. It is usually used to improve motion and normalize joint function.
Mobilization can also be used to help control pain. Any joint that is lacking sufficient motion may be mobilized. It can be used on all regions of the spine and pelvis as well as all of the joints of the extremities such as the shoulder, wrist, hand, hip, knee, foot and ankle.
Therapeutic spinal traction uses forces to stretch and mobilize the spine. In doing so it separates the spinal joints, widens the intervertebral foramen to relieve nerve root impingement and decreases intradiscal pressure.
Recent evidence has found that therapeutic spinal traction is an effective treatment approach for cervical and lumbar pain originating from spinal joints, injured discs and pinched nerves or sciatica. A clinical prediction rule now exists that can determine who is most likely to respond to this form of therapy.