Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Using Spinal Manipulation For Boulder Back Pain Patients

June 10, 2024

Spinal manipulation may be one of the oldest forms of treatment in medicine dating at least back to Hippocrates.  This intervention is most commonly performed by Physical Therapists, physicians, and chiropractors.  In our Boulder and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinics our Physical Therapists have advanced training in the utilization of manipulation for both the spine and extremities.  Consistent with the evidence we have found spinal manipulation to be effective for a range of conditions including headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, and low back pain.  This intervention plays an important role in the short term when combined with exercise for optimal results.  A recent study adds to the existing literature supporting this intervention has more general vs. specific effects on the area of pain.

Sorensen and colleagues published their findings on whether a specific manipulation vs. a general spinal manipulation is more effective for patients with low back pain (JOSPT. 2023).  Authors conducted a systematic review and meta analysis of the available studies.  They included 10 randomized controlled trials, of over 900 patients with low back pain, which compared a targeted vertebral level vs. a randomly selected vertebral level.  They found targeting a specific vertebral level in the spine was not more effective for reducing pain and disability.  This adds to the existing literature supporting the effectiveness of the intervention mainly takes place in the brain and spinal cord and may be independent on which spinal level is manipulated.

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