Solutions for the Chiropractic Profession:
Part 31: Is All Manipulation the Same?

chiropracticThe problem with this question is the word “manipulation.” Too many healthcare practitioners interchange words and with the homogenization of manipulation the true meaning has gotten lost. Historically osteopaths manipulated for the purpose of increasing blood flow to a region, where chiropractors “adjusted” the spine for the purpose of removing nerve interference. Today there is a third group of healthcare providers laying claim to manipulation as well: the physical therapist, which further muddles the landscape of professionals who treat both spine and extremities.

Having hired and worked with physical therapists (including doctors of physical therapy) I can tell you unequivocally that for extremity care they are excellent. However, for spinal care they do not have the training and experience to diagnosis and treat spinal related issues. Mobilization of spinal regions as typically performed by physical therapists is not a chiropractic spinal adjustment, nor will it ever be. In fact, the state of Tennessee has regulated that for any physical therapist to perform spinal manipulation they must have an equivalent level of education of a chiropractor.

This regulation was prepared to protect the public and I applauded those legislators for doing their job and realizing that people will both get her or not get well under the banner of one word “manipulation.”

The research that is being written today on chiropractic is very specific as to what is helping patients and it would appear to be not in the best public interest to allow physical therapists attempt perform chiropractic under another banner.

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