Manipulation of the spine or other joints in the body performed by Doctors of Physical Therapy and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine has been shown in medical literature to improve overall function and reduce pain in neuromusculoskeletal conditions. These techniques utilize high velocity, low-amplitude thrusts to create a quick stretch on the joint and usually result in a 'pop' medically referred to as a cavitation. The cause of this cavitation is unclear and the two leading theories have yet to be fully supported. Though, research does show there is a release of natural pain-killers, reduction of pain signaling to the brain, improved joint mobility, and reduced sensitivity in both the spine and corresponding areas into the arms and legs.
The techniques utilized by Doctors of Physical Therapy with advanced training are much safer and more effective compared to other professionals and research shows there are far fewer averse events (negative reactions) with these techniques. Manipulation techniques have been used by other professionals for nearly a century without any evidence to support their methods or physiologic effects on how or why it works. The most recent literature supports the use of manipulation in adjunct with dry needling as the most effective form to treat many different types of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, though is not appropriate for everyone including people with severe osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other connective tissue diseases or diseases of the spine.
If you have any questions about evidence-based practice and research supporting manipulation, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.