Manipulation under anesthesia, otherwise known as MUA, is a non-invasive procedure that may only be performed by chiropractic physicians and medical doctors who have been specially trained and state-certified in MUA procedures. Widely recognized in the medical arena for more than sixty years, MUA is a viable alternative for patients that have not responded to either traditional care or invasive surgical procedures. It is increasingly offered to not only treat, but in many cases eliminate, acute and chronic conditions including neck pain, back pain, joint pain, muscle spasm, shortened muscles, fibrous adhesions, and long term pain syndromes.

More specifically, MUA is utilized to treat pain from the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine as well as the sacroiliac and pelvic regions; it may only be performed in a hospital or surgery center by a team of three licensed physicians. In our practice, this team consists of the anesthesiologist, the medical doctor, and Dr. Alex, who is the MUA Certified Chiropractic Physician that performs the manipulation. In fact, Dr. Alex is one of a very few chiropractors in the greater Naples area that has earned this valuable certification.

MUA patients have often undergone various treatments such as physical therapy, conservative chiropractic care, epidural injections, back surgery, or other treatments that did not address very stubborn and painful fibrous adhesions.

An adhesion is a band of scar tissue that binds two parts of your tissue together that should remain separate and these adhesions may appear as thin sheets of tissue similar to plastic wrap or as thick fibrous bands. These tissues develop when the body’s healing processes respond to tissue disturbance (post-surgical, infection, trauma, or radiation). Although adhesions can occur anywhere, the most common locations are within the stomach, pelvis, and heart.

Some patients have felt temporarily better after conventional treatments, but their pain often returns. By lightly anesthetizing a patient before the MUA procedure is initiated, previously painful manipulations/adjustments and movements are accomplished quickly and pain free, helping to greatly improve or even restore range of motion.

Manipulation under anesthesia may be an excellent alternative for you if your condition has not responded to traditional treatment. It may also be viable for those patients who have undergone unsuccessful surgery, as well as for those who wish surgery to be a last resort.

In general, patients selected for manipulation under anesthesia are those with certain neck, mid-back, low-back, or other spinal conditions that have received conservative care for six to eight weeks with limited or no improvement in symptoms, or for those patients who are still experiencing pain after undergoing surgery.

Common indications for manipulation under anesthesia include neck pain, middle and lower back pain, acute and chronic muscle pain and inflammation, acute and chronic muscle spasm, chronic fibrositis, nerve entrapment, disc pathology including hernriated discs, torticollis, and failed back surgery. However, not all patients qualify for MUA, as certain contraindications prevent some from undergoing the procedure. Consult not only your regular physician, but Dr. Alex as well, to obtain the most comprehensive medical opinions in order to objectively assess if you are an MUA candidate.

The manipulation under anesthesia procedure involves three consecutive days of treatment which take about one hour each time. During each session, through the use of “conscious or twilight sedation,” a patient is conscious and responsive but relaxed, allowing the physician to administer manipulations/adjustments similar to those received during regular chiropractic visits — just with more effectiveness, because the discomfort and resultant resistance associated with manipulation is eliminated.

After the procedure, treatment continues as strengthening and stabilization programs are initiated over the next four weeks. Post-procedure care and follow-up visits with Dr. Alex are vital at this time as the stretches accomplished during the MUA procedure are built upon, helping the patient to regain strength and prevent future pain and discomfort.

The proposed benefits of manipulation under anesthesia therapy include the following:

  • Decreasing or eliminating pain in spinal joints, commonly caused by multiple injuries or failed back surgery
  • A decreasing chronic muscle spasm
  • Overcoming super-sensitivity of injured areas, which make the patient unable to cooperate for effective treatment
  • Breaking up scar tissue (adhesions) both in and around the tissue and stretching persistent shortened muscles, ligaments, and tendons
  • Relief from pain and radiating symptoms caused by damaged intervertebral discs

Most importantly however, MUA affords patients immediate relief and noticeable difference in their daily lives post-procedure. These positive results only continue to improve with time and post-MUA therapy.