The primary goal of chiropractic manipulation is to restore normal joint motion, particularly to areas of the spine. When a joint is unable to move freely, pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm can result. There are three common ways that joints may become restricted:
- Over-activity or injury can restrict joint movement by causing muscles to retain a state of continual contraction.
- Joints are lined with synovial folds of cartilage that may become entrapped between the two joint surfaces preventing normal movement.
- Adhesions and scar tissue can develop around the joint and restrict normal movement. This can be a result of trauma, inflammation, immobilization or degenerative joint disease.
Joint Manipulation vs. Mobilization
Joint manipulation is a highly controlled, impulse-like movement across the joint to separate the two surfaces. Joint mobilization is similar to manipulation but entails oscillations or tractional movements that coax movement. Each of these methods can correct alignment, increase or restore joint mobility, and decrease muscle tone around the joint. These procedures are adapted to meet the specific needs of each patient.