Spinal manipulation is a method by which a trained and licensed chiropractor, manipulates and adjusts areas of the spine. This may be done with the hands or with assistive devices. Typically, during the spinal manipulation, the joints within the spine are moved in a way they wouldn’t normally move on their own.
Another name for spinal manipulation is spinal manipulation therapy, or SMT.
How Does Spinal Manipulation Work?
During spinal manipulation, a chiropractor exerts thrust on a specific joint or area of the spine. The thrust is a force that must be in a certain direction and angle and with a specific level of strength to achieve the result desired. Depending on the goal of the spinal manipulation, chiropractors may use their hands or devices that help them apply more pressure or achieve a specific angle or direction.
During spinal manipulation, individuals might hear a cracking sound such as they might hear when they crack their knuckles. This isn’t the same thing, however, as “cracking your back.”