Spinal Manipulation & Mobilisation

Sometimes called "spinal manipulative therapy", spinal manipulation is practiced by health care professionals such as physiotherapists.

Practitioners perform spinal manipulation by using their hands or a device to apply a controlled force to a joint of the spine, moving it beyond its passive range of motion. The amount of force applied depends on the form of manipulation used. The goal of the treatment is to relieve pain and improve physical functioning.

Reviews have concluded that spinal manipulation is relatively safe when performed by a trained and licensed practitioner. The most common side effects are generally minor and include temporary discomfort in the treated area, headache, or tiredness. These effects usually go away in 1 to 2 days.

Spinal mobilisation is a type of passive movement of a spinal segment or region. It is usually performed with the aim of achieving a therapeutic effect.

Spinal mobilisation has been described as "a gentle, often oscillatory, passive movement applied to a spinal region or segment so as gently to increase the passive range of motion of that segment or region."

Mobilisation is a hands-on manual therapy designed to restore joint movement, power, and range of motion. The therapist gently coaxes joint motion by passive movement within or to the limit of a joint's normal range of motion. The therapist's movement of the joint is very precise and is limited by the amount of joint play, which may be less than 1/8th of an inch.

The overall goal of mobilisation is to restore normal joint function including the surrounding soft tissue (e.g. muscle, ligaments, fascia).

Myofascial release, or soft tissue mobilisation, is a therapy used to release tension stored in the fascia. Fascia are sheets of fibrous tissue that encase and support muscles separating them into groups and layers. Fascia also covers joints capsules and ligaments. Following trauma, the fascia and muscles may shorten restricting joint movement and blood flow. The techniques used in myofascial release break up fascial adhesions and relaxes muscle tension helping to normalize physical motion within the joint capsule.

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