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Spinal Manipulation - Topic Overview

Spinal manipulation, also called spinal adjustment, is a treatment that uses pressure on a joint of the spine. It is used to improve pain and function. Manipulation can be done with the hands or a special device. The careful, controlled force used on the joint can range from gentle to strong, and from slow to rapid. Sometimes other joints of the body are also worked on to help treat the spine.

Like most back pain treatments, spinal manipulation works for some people, but not for others.

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Back Pain: Finding the Right Doctor

Start with your primary-care physician; back pain is so common that most family docs have seen lots of it. Your PCP is also a good person to return to if, later, you get conflicting treatment advice from specialists. He or she can help you evaluate what would be your best next step.  

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Spinal manipulation is safe when done by a trained health care provider. Afterward, some people feel tired or sore. But serious problems are very rare.

If you have tight muscles or muscles that spasm, your health care provider may first use heat, ultrasound, or electrical current. This helps relax your muscles before you receive spinal manipulation.

Who can do manipulation

Health care providers who are commonly trained do spinal manipulation include:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 30, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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