Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA)
For some patients suffering from acute and chronic conditions, such as back, neck, and joint pain, conservative care does not provide effective or adequate treatment. These patients are then faced with treatment options of more intense drugs or surgery. In these situations, manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) can sometimes provide a drug-free and non-invasion alternative option.
Other treatment efforts can fail because they do not stop the continued muscle spasm cycles and pain cycles that nerves are continuously sending to the brain. Manipulation under anesthesia is different from other options because, by having the patient be under anesthesia, the pain-perceiving nerves can be sedated and the muscle spasm cycles and reflex muscle guarding can be shut down. This enables complete muscle relaxation, allowing the physician to quickly perform movements or adjustments which would otherwise be impossible or too painful for the patient. Scar tissue and fibrous adhesions can be effectively broken up, which can reduce inflammation and pain, as well as improve mobility and flexibility.
Treatment is often performed in a surgical center or hospital. There is team involved, which includes an anesthesiologist, a primary chiropractor/surgeon/physician, and an assisting chiropractor/physician. The primary practitioner will perform a combination of specific passive stretches, short lever manipulations, and articular and postural kinesthetic maneuvers while the patient is under general anesthesia, often coupled with mild sedation.
These manipulations are focused on softening and breaking up scar tissue and fibrous adhesions in and around the spinal joint, which can provide pain relief in the neck, back, and joints. The patient can also experience additional benefits such as decreasing muscle spasms, increasing range of motion, overcoming localized sensitivity, and stretching persistent shortened tendons, muscles, and ligaments.
Depending on the circumstances, manipulation under anesthesia is sometimes performed over multiple consecutive days. Also, there is often ongoing therapeutic treatment afterwards, to aid patient rehabilitation and recovery, as well as prevent future pain or development of conditions.