Manipulation is a technique we use in Physical Therapy that involves a quick stretch of a region of your body. It is sometimes associated with the feeling of a pop or crack, but not always. Some people can manipulate their own joints by “cracking” their knuckles or back. The biggest difference between a manipulation performed by you and one performed by a Physical Therapist is that a therapist can be very specific with the location of the manipulation. Self-manipulations aren’t very specific, and therefore sometimes can’t achieve the same effect as a manipulation performed by a therapist.
Physical Therapists use manipulation as a way to reduce pain and/or improve range of motion of a part of your body. Manipulation often creates a relatively short term change in the way you feel and move, so we use exercise as a way to try to maintain the improvements you can feel after manipulation. There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that manipulation and exercise used together can have a greater impact on the way you feel than just manipulation alone.
A common question people have about manipulation concerns whether or not it is a safe thing to do. Research shows that it is absolutely safe to do, particularly considering the fact that your Physical Therapist will know what questions to ask to determine whether or not you may be a candidate for this type of treatment.
We’ve filmed some videos of our Physical Therapist Chad Blomquist performing various types of manipulations that you may experience during your plan of care in the clinic. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about manipulation specifically or Physical Therapy in general!