Is manipulation under anesthesia safe? What should I know about it?
Manipulation under anesthesia, also known as MUA, is a type of manipulative technique that is non invasive. It is performed by a chiropractor and meant to offer relief from chronic pain that has been responsive to other forms of non surgical care. MUA focuses on breaking up internal scar tissue that is leftover from an injury or surgery, and as a result, restores movement while reducing pain. MUA can be used to treat the back, neck, shoulders, and joints as well as muscle spasms.
When a patient is undergoing MUA, they are sedated. An example of the amount of sedation used might be the “twilight” state which is common in the sedation of a patient undergoing a colonoscopy or tooth extraction. This type of sedation allows the chiropractor to adjust the joints and bones, or stretch and align the muscles without any resistance to the treatment. Less force is applied during the procedure making it painless and often effective.
MUA is performed by trained and certified doctors who work in chiropractic medicine, rehabilitation, osteopathy, or orthopedics. It is considered to be a subspecialty which means it may not be available in every clinical office.
Benefits of MUA
Many patients experiencing back, neck, or shoulder pain respond well to manipulation, exercise, massage, and rehabilitation. Some of these patients will find that their relief is limited to a few days or weeks. In this case MUA could be an option. Benefits of manipulation under anesthesia include:
It is safer than surgery
It is cost effective
It is covered by most insurance plans
It is covered by most workers compensation
Is MUA Right for You
Before scheduling you for MUA treatment, a chiropractic doctor should assess your medical history, symptoms, and previous chiropractic care. A physical evaluation and neurological exam may be conducted to confirm a diagnosis. The following tests might also be ordered:
MRI or CT scan
Nerve conduction velocity test
Patients who have been diagnosed with the following might be suited to MUA:
Chronic sprain or strain
Chronic disc pain
Acute muscle spasms
Failed back surgery
Loss of movement or motion
Chronic back, neck, or shoulder pain
MUA is not recommended for:
Acute inflammatory gout
Compression of the spinal cord
The aforementioned is not exhaustive. There are other conditions that could be treated with MUA, as well as those that should not be treated with it. Patients who are taking certain types of medication or cannot be sedated will also not be candidates for MUA.
How MUA is Performed
Manipulation under sedation is typically performed in a hospital. The anesthesia is given by an anesthesiologist. The patient will be sedated, but not unconscious. Various anesthesia could be given depending on the patient’s circumstances. Once the patient is sedated, the chiropractic doctor, like a chiropractor in Glen Burnie, MD, will begin to employ different techniques on the symptomatic part of the body. The entire procedure takes between 15 and 40 minutes. The patient slowly regains awareness and will be monitored for a brief period of time. He or she can return home on the same day. Typically noticeable improvements in range of motion and pain is immediately noticed. Localized muscle soreness is common and may be treated with herbal balms, ice, heat, or OTC medication. Physical therapy or cryotherapy might also be recommended.
In general, a patient will need between 2 and 4 MUA treatments. These are often done on consecutive days rather than at separate intervals.