A manipulation or an adjustment is the application of a specifically directed manual force to a joint with high velocity and a low amplitude. The objective of this force is to improve the joints range of motion, increase blood flow and decrease sensitivity of the joint, especially to pain. Often the manipulation is associated with a cracking sound, called cavitation. The widely accepted theory is that cavitation simply indicates a change in pressure and popping of bubbles within the synovial joint .
A mobilisation is similar to a manipulation in that it is a manual therapy intended to move a joint, however, its is considered to be low force and low velocity. There are different grades and each performed with a different target receptor or tissue in mind. It may be used to stretch joint capsules or reduce joint pain, and can often be used in place of manipulation, if manipulation is contraindicated or the patient or doctor so chooses.
Flexion-Distraction is a non-surgical technique used to treat many conditions of the lumbar spine. It increases spinal motion and can help with the symptoms of disc bulging and disc herniations. It reduces pressure on the spine and disc by gapping the joints and increasing the amount of space available to the structures entering and exiting around the spine. It is a safe, gentle, non-force procedure .
Dry needling is a treatment technique where a hypodermic needle is inserted directly into a trigger point within a muscle. A trigger point is a hard 'knot' within the muscle that can cause pain. Having many trigger points can cause myofascial pain syndrome. The aim of dry needling is to reduce pain and muscle tension by normalizing biochemical and electrical dysfunction of motor endplates.
Taping is commonly used as an adjunct or temporarily as a protective mechanism. The goal may be to prevent excessive movement of an injured joint or provide soft tissue compression to reduce swelling. There are three basic types of tape. Rigid taping is non-elastic and allows for physical support and to prevent excessive motion. Elastic taping is used when less support is required and stretch to some degree is encouraged. Kinesiology tape is a more advanced elastic tape that can dynamically assist or inhibit muscle function.
Sports massage is designed specifically to treat musculoskeletal injuries and pain. It may also help to prevent injuries and boost performance. Sports massage can be performed before, during or after athletic activity for several different benefits. Sports massage increases blood flow to tissues, warming and stretching the tissue. It can reduce swelling and assists with healing and preventing loss of flexibilty in tissue that occour with damage and scar tissue.