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Spinal Manipulation:
How Does it Work?


Spinal manipulation has been used for a long time and can be found dating back to ancient Egyptian and Chinese cultures but the exact mechanism of how it works has not been fully understood.

A simple biomechanical explanation considers restoring movement within the spinal joints by breaking down local adhesions and restrictions. A more complex theory considers how spinal manipulation stimulates sensory input (muscle spindles, golgi tendons) to the muscles surrounding the spinal joints. This causes an increase in the amount of pain stimulation needed to produce pain at the specific spinal level. A recent study confirmed that spinal manipulation produced an inhibitory effect on back pain. Other possible explanations include the alteration in motor output of spinal nerve activity going to the local muscles or the production of endorphins from spinal manipulation.











Whatever the mechanism, we know that spinal manipulation is effective for some types of acute and chronic neck and back pain along with headaches when used in a multimodal approach with other types of therapy along with exercise and patient education. Therefore, spinal manipulation of the spine can be used as one of the options in correcting spinal movement problems and controlling pain with many of your recent and persistent problems.


Picker J, Neurophysiological Effects of Spinal Manipulation, The Spine Journal (2) 2002; 357-371.

Randoll c et al, The Mechanism of Back Pain Relief by Spinal Manipulation relies on Decreased Temporal Summation of Pain, Neuroscience 2017 (May); 220-228.

effects of spinal manipulation
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