Manipulative Therapy

Manipulative therapy is primarily used as treatment for muscle injuries in the lower back and associated structures. It is performed by a variety of professional practitioners including osteopaths, physiotherapists, and chiropractors.

Overuse and trauma can cause debilitating injury to lower back muscles, making it a challenge to relax, sleep or move normally. Spinal manipulation has been a treatment option for thousands of years, cited as far back as Hippocrates and ancient Egyptians.

Manipulative therapy uses manual therapy or a device to apply controlled force to the spine in order to move it beyond its normal range of motion. The force used will vary depending on the type of spinal manipulation being used. The goal of the treatment is to release joints that have become stuck. An immobile joint causes surrounding muscle spasm and leads to injuries such as neck pain, lumbar pain, sciatica, and chronic back pain.

A badly stuck joint will have very little or no range of motion. Manipulative therapy techniques involve either a straight stretch of the joint, or a sharp movement in the opposite direction to which the joint is stuck.

Treatment typically begins with an initial consultation involving medical history and current health concerns. A structural exam will be performed to assess posture, spine and balance. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the back are also checked for tenderness and joints are evaluated for range of motion.

A treatment plan will be designed to the individual’s specific needs. Generally, manipulations are designed to release the “stuck” joints, align muscles and joints and improve blood circulation.

In British Columbia, registered physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopathic doctors and physical therapists are available to provide more information on manipulative therapy techniques.

Specific Techniques