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Spinal manipulation is a therapeutic intervention that has roots in traditional medicine and has been used by various cultures, apparently for thousands of years. Spinal manipulation is now most commonly provided by several health care disciplines. In North America, it is most commonly performed by chiropractors, osteopathic physicians, occupational therapists and physical therapists. It has been estimated that chiropractors perform over 90% of spinal manipulations.

The effects of spinal manipulation have been shown to include:   

  • Temporary relief of musculoskeletal pain
  • Shortened time to recover from acute back pain
  • Temporary increase in passive range of motion (ROM)
  • Physiological effects on the central nervous system
  • Altered sensorimotor integration

A 2010 systematic review found that most studies suggest Spinal Manipulation achieves equal or superior improvement in pain and function when compared with other commonly used interventions for short, intermediate, and long-term follow-up.

For neck pain, manipulation and mobilization produce similar changes, and manual therapy and exercise are more effective than other strategies. There is evidence that patients with chronic neck pain, show clinically important improvements from a course of spinal manipulation or mobilization.

Some evidence has shown spinal manipulation having improved psychological and non-musculoskeletal physical problems when compared with other interventions.