Lasting Pain Management Relief With Manipulation Under Anesthesia


Anyone who has long-term pain syndromes may consider manipulation under anesthesia as an alternative treatment to painkillers and surgery. Basic conditions that may lead to this procedure are acute and chronic neck pain, joint pain, back pain, shortened muscles, muscle spasms, and fibrous adhesions (scar tissue).

Pain caused by the lumbar, thoracic, or cervical spine, frozen shoulder, and any discomfort in the pelvic region or sacroiliac may be treated by manipulation under anesthesia (MUA). The treatment is safe and can serve as a replacement for more intrusive and dangerous medical procedures. There are three primary ways that patients undergo this procedure.

1. During mild sedation
2. Under general anesthesia
3. After injection of the anesthetic into a specific area of the spine

Specialists working in a team environment to assure the safety of the patient may perform this procedure in a medical surgery facility. Manipulation under anesthesia is always a team effort, which generally consists of the anesthesiologist, the chiropractor or doctor responsible for the manipulation, and an assistant. Unlike general chiropractic procedures, manipulation under anesthesia is almost always performed in a hospital or other traditional medical facility such as an outpatient surgery center.

The primary aim of manipulation under anesthesia is to break up scar tissue or fibrous adhesions that center around the spine. The process uses specific kinesthetic maneuvers of postural and articular varieties, passive stretches, and short-lever manipulations of the spine specific to the problem areas.

Although the terminology might be new to many people, manipulation under anesthesia is far from a new procedure. It has been a part of medical treatment for more than sixty years and has its own CPT Code designation.

Who Receives Treatment

Back and neck injuries are the leading reasons for spinal manipulation, but not every situation requires the procedure, and some doctors might be hesitant to perform manipulation based on many factors including the physical condition of the patient. One of the main reason the procedure is done is for frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis

Other care and treatment is often attempted before spinal manipulation, but if those efforts prove ineffective, manipulation is the next step. Scar tissue builds up along with adhesions during prolonged aggravation of spinal joints. Over time, this produces chronic pain in the spine and surrounding muscles.

While chiropractic treatments, epidural injections, and physical therapy often give temporary relief from pain, they do nothing to treat the underlying problem of fibrous adhesions. Back surgery most often does nothing for this either and may make that problem worse. Manipulation under anesthesia can bring results that are more permanent for chronic back and neck pain.

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