Chiropractic manipulation under anesthesia, also known as M.U.A is a non-invasive stretching and musculoskeletal manipulation technique. This type of chiropractic treatment can offer relief from chronic and constant back pain and other types of pain that have not responded well or at all to conservative non-surgical care. Chiropractic manipulation under anesthesia breaks up adhesions/internal scar tissue that could result from an injury or previous surgery, helping restore the normal range of motion and reduce pain. This technique is utilized to treat:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Joint pain
- Muscle spasms
- Long-lasting pain syndromes
Adhesions can grow around:
- Spinal joints
- Nerve roots
- Inside the surrounding muscles
This can result in restricted:
- Limited flexibility
Undergoing chiropractic manipulation under anesthesia while sedated means the body is in a highly relaxed state. This sedation allows the chiropractor to adjust the bones, joints into proper alignment and stretch the muscles without the individual’s voluntary/reflexive resistance. And the sedation allows the chiropractor to use less force, making the procedure painless.
Manipulation Under Anesthesia Specialists
This type of manipulation is a specialty procedure. Trained and certified physicians only perform it in the fields of:
- Chiropractic medicine
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
Advantages to MUA treatment
There are individuals with pain that respond well to regular chiropractic manipulation, physical therapy, or exercise. However, depending on their condition, relief might only last for a few days or weeks. This is where manipulation under anesthesia could improve the range of motion and relieve pain. Manipulation under anesthesia has been performed for more than sixty years. It can be cost-effective and safer than invasive treatment like spine surgery. It is recognized and covered by most insurance and workers’ compensation plans.
Determining if MUA is right for the individual and their condition
Manipulation under anesthesia is not for all individuals with back pain. MUA is only recommended for patients that meet the procedure’s criteria. Like any other type of recommended treatment, a doctor will carefully consider the individual’s medical history, symptoms, previous treatments, and effectiveness. A doctor will also perform a physical and neurological examination with an individual’s complete medical history. Test results will confirm the patient’s diagnosis and determine if anesthetic manipulation can help relieve pain and other symptoms. Tests can include:
- CT scan
- A musculoskeletal sonogram uses sound waves to produce images of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
- EKG – electrocardiogram is a test that checks for problems with the heart’s electrical activity
- Nerve conduction velocity test sees how fast electrical signals move through the nerve/s
- Pregnancy test
Consideration for individuals with:
- Pinched or entrapped nerve
- Chronic/Persistent neck or back pain
- Painful, restricted range of motion
- Failed back surgery syndrome
- Chronic sprains and strains
- Acute muscle spasms
- Chronic spinal disc conditions
- Fibrous adhesion/s
Not an appropriate treatment for individuals with:
- Uncontrolled diabetic neuropathy
- Spinal cord compression
- Morbid obesity
- Any cancer
- Acute or healing bone fracture/s
- Osteomyelitis vertebral bone infection
- Acute inflammatory arthritis
- Metastatic bone disease
- Severe osteoporosis
- Acute inflammatory gout
- Tuberculosis of the bone
- Co-existing medical problems could mean an individual may not be able to undergo any procedure that requires sedation.
- Another reason why a patient’s complete medical history is vital
This procedure is usually performed in an ambulatory surgery center that is a modern healthcare facility focused on providing same-day surgical care for diagnostic and preventive procedures or at a hospital. An anesthesiologist administers the medicine/s. The patient could be sedated but not unconscious or general anesthesia meaning complete unconsciousness. The choice of sedation depends on various factors, like the patient’s diagnosis and how severe the condition is. The anesthesiologist can recommend a specific type of medicine or a cocktail of medications for the patient’s comfort during and after.
Once sedated, the chiropractor utilizes specialized techniques to stretch, adjust and mobilize the affected areas of the spine and body. The manipulations free up fibrous adhesions or scar tissue in one or more areas of the spine and surrounding tissues. The procedure usually takes 15 to 30 minutes. The individual will be awakened and then is carefully monitored in a recovery area. Many report an immediate reduction in pain and a broader range of motion after the procedure. There is usually temporary muscle soreness, similar to the soreness after an intense workout.
Before being discharged, the patient is provided instructions about aftercare therapy. Instructions may include:
- At-home warm-up movements
- Physical therapy rehabilitation
- Passive stretching
- Electrical stimulation
- Cryotherapy or cold therapy to reduce inflammation and pain
Depending on the diagnosis and response to the initial session, manipulation under anesthesia could be performed on consecutive days or two to four days sequentially. With each session, the chiropractor adjusts a little more, incrementally helping achieve the desired increase in movement and pain reduction/alleviation.
Physical therapy, exercise, and stretching
Three to six weeks after the procedure, individuals continue with physical therapy to help prevent back pain from returning and any fibrous adhesions/scar tissue broken up from reforming. Exercise and stretching will help strengthen and stabilize the abdominal and spinal muscles and prevent pain from returning.
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