Manipulation is used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, relieve pain, improve athletic performance and neuromuscular function by restoring freedom to both spinal and peripheral joint movement.
In addition, through the effective manipulation of the spinal column and the body’s extremities, there can be a substantial improvement in nervous system function.
Historical records show that manipulative therapies have existed for thousands of years. Manipulation has been documented in Chinese and Indian literature as far back as 2000 years ago. In China, manipulation has always been considered an effective form of therapy. This statement holds more weight when you consider that these Chinese physicians were only paid when their patients remained healthy. Now that is what I call a proactive health care system.
Today the most common types of western manipulation are Chiropractic and Osteopathic Manipulation. Both professions have a colorful history with no lack of controversy. The key point here is that all that controversy is historical! Today these medical professions are regulated by government bodies with strict criteria. Practitioners of both professions have no less than 7 years of post- secondary education. In fact, the first three years of their training is identical to any other medical professional.
Essentially, practitioners of manipulation move joints in a manner that frees up or breaks restrictions that are causing neurological or biomechanical problems. These biomechanical problems do not just include the joints themselves; manipulation also has a significant effect upon the body’s soft tissues.
Manipulation affects muscles by causing the stress receptors in the muscles (Golgi tendons) to temporarily inhibit all activity in the areas being adjusted. This reaction causes the muscle group in the surrounding joints to go into an instantaneous state of relaxation. This intervention is a very important effect when your practitioner is trying to break a pain cycle. This approach to manipulation is strongly supported by scientific studies.
There are some opponents to manipulation that would still have the public believing that these therapies are unsupported. This is complete nonsense since there are literally hundreds of peer- reviewed scientific articles proving and supporting the benefits of manipulation.
Effectiveness of Manipulation
Manipulation is generally very safe and effective when performed by a trained professional. Just remember that manipulation can be used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, relieve pain, and improve function. I have seen hundreds of patient cases which would never have been resolved without manipulative treatments. On the other hand, for manipulation to remain effective, treatments must be combined with appropriate exercise. When manipulation is combined with soft-tissue techniques (such as Active Release Techniques, Graston Technique, or Massage Therapy) it becomes even more effective since both joint and soft-tissue restrictions are removed or released.
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