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The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore movement to fixed spinal segments. Your spine is composed of many individual vertebrae stacked on top of each other. There are moveable joints between all of these vertebrae, but sometimes certain segments of the spine will become fixed (meaning the joints are not moving properly).
Trauma/accidents, stress, muscle spasms, poor posture, poor body mechanics while working, sedentary lifestyles, and weak muscles are some of the possible causes of spinal fixations. These spinal fixations can lead to pain and more muscle spasm in and around the area. In order to restore movement to these spinal segments, your chiropractor will use his/her hands, an instrument, or a specialized table to move the fixed segments. By restoring movement to the fixed spinal segments, this treatment can relieve pain and reduce muscle spasms in the area of complaint.
Many recent studies have also suggested that spinal manipulation affects sensorimotor pathways of the nervous system which, as a result, improves motor control (muscle control). When motor control (muscle control) is improved, pain relief and restoration of joint function occurs.
The risks associated with spinal manipulation are very low and respected and responsible chiropractic physicians will always seek to apply this procedure safely and effectively.