Physical therapists do not perform ‘adjustments’. We do, however, utilize spinal and extremity manipulation, along with other manual therapy techniques and exercise, in the treatment of neuro-musculo-skeletal pain and dysfunction in order to restore mobility within these systems. We do not utilize manipulation to manage, co-manage, or prevent diseases or conditions in the other body systems.
The physical therapist’s approach to treatment, whether utilizing spinal manipulation or another manual therapy, is predicated on identifying specific somatic dysfunction—in the spine, pelvis, or extremities—for the sole purpose of achieving clinical improvement within the neuro musculo-skeletal system.
Spinal manipulation is used by physical therapists to:
- facilitate movement
- relieve pain
- increase circulation
- relax muscles
- improve muscle function.
Evidence based therapy plan
The safe application of any technique requires the use of clinical judgment, specifically, determining not only who is appropriate for the technique, but also for whom the technique is contraindicated. This must occur prior to the procedure being performed. Adequate clinical judgment is based on knowledge of anatomy, pathoanatomy, biomechanics, pathomechanics, pathology, and a differential diagnostic process. The decision of whether or not to perform a manipulation must be evidence-based, i.e. take into account the best available evidence of the patient’s condition and the patient’s needs and goals.