Spinal Manipulation: What You Need to Know

Chiropractor examines models of spinal cord

Did you know that there are more than a hundred different types of adjustments a chiropractor might do to help a patient? Most practitioners will focus on a few techniques, and adjust these for each patient, given their health issues and goals. Typical goals include improving mobility, reducing joint inflammation, and relieving pain.

Is Spinal Manipulation Only for Your Back?

No. Chiropractors can definitely treat back pain, but they can also help with a wide range of issues that may, on the surface, seem unrelated to your spine. It’s important to remember that your brain receives pain signals from all over the body, and these signals are carried by nerves. All of these nerves connect back to the brain through – you guessed it – the spine.

We’ve helped patients with conditions ranging from back and neck pain to migraines and breathing difficulties. For this reason, we recommend people explain all their health difficulties to their chiropractor, even if they are seeking treatment for back pain.

The Two Main Types of Spinal Manipulation

The two most common ways of manipulating the spine are “high-velocity low-amplitude thrust” (HVLA), and “spinal mobilization” (low force technique).

If you’ve been to a chiropractor and recall hearing your spine or other joints make a popping sound as they were adjusted, you probably had HVLA. In this treatment, the chiropractor uses their hands to apply a controlled force to a joint.

Woman receives a neck adjustment
The “popping” sensation of a HVLA adjustment may sound unnerving, but it’s painless and effective at relieving pressure in the neck joins, spinal cord, and back muscles.

Although the popping sound may concern some patients, the treatment itself is painless, and often patients experience relief from their previous pain afterward. Frequently people also report feeling the muscles in the area are more relaxed. This is because spinal manipulation improves blood flow and unblocks nerves in the affected area.

Spinal mobilization is an even more gentle technique that is sometimes used if the patient has lower mobility (the body needs to be in a specific position before HVLA can be used) or other conditions, such as osteoarthritis, where mobilization is a better choice. This technique avoids twisting the body or using a forceful thrust. However, the chiropractor is still able to adjust the spine, opening up blood flow and healing the nerves.

Will My Insurance Cover Spinal Manipulation?

In many cases, yes. In particular, most insurance policies cover chiropractic care for people suffering from low back pain. Other conditions may or may not be covered depending on your policy. If you’re unsure what your insurance will cover, contact our friendly staff to find out if your insurance will cover the treatment.

If your pain is the result of a car accident, you will probably be covered under your own car insurance. In Florida, PIP coverage (or “personal injury protection”) covers up to the first $10,000 of your medical treatment, including chiropractic care, massages therapy, and physical therapy.

However, these benefits expire just 14 days after your accident, so you will need to act quickly and come see us right away after an accident. We are happy to refer you to a personal injury lawyer who can recover this injury and medical treatment compensation from the insurance companies with no out of pocket costs to you.

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