What is Manipulation Under Anesthesia?
Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA) is a non-invasive procedure increasingly offered for chronic conditions, including: headaches, neck & back pain, leg pain, joint pain, muscle spasm, fibromyalgia, and long term pain syndromes. It is consideredsafe and is utilized to treat pain arising from the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine as well as the sacroiliac, pelvic regions, and joints.
Manipulation under anesthesia uses a combination of specific short lever manipulations, passive stretches and specific articular and postural kinesthetic maneuvers in order to break up fibrous adhesions and scar tissue around joints, the spine, and surrounding tissue.
Licensed physicians who have specialized training and certification specifically for this procedure perform the treatment in a surgical center. A team approach is required to have a safe and successful outcome.
The team includes the anesthesiologist, the primary physician/surgeon who performs the manipulation, and the first assistant, also a physician certified in manipulation under anesthesia.
The combination of manipulation and anesthesia is not new as this treatment has been part of the medical arena for more than 80 years.
When body movement is difficult the benefit of being sedated is obvious, but the anesthesia performs other important functions such as:
- Interrupting the cycle of muscle spasm to allow for increased movement
- Sedating the pain perceiving nerves that have been irritated due to the dysfunctional spine or joint
- Allowing complete muscle relaxation so that the doctor can stretch shortened muscle groups and reduce adhesions caused by scar tissue
MUA can be a valuable procedure for those who suffer with pain caused by:
- Low back pain
- Neck pain
- Lumbar/thoracic disc displacement
- Neuralgia, radiculitis
- Frozen shoulder
- Headache/migraine headache
- TMJ (Costen's Syndrome)
- Curvature of spine
- Cervical and lumbar disc conditions
- Joint calcification
- Capsulitis of hip
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Piriformis Syndrome
- Pelvic instability
- Gait abnormality/imbalance
If you are experiencing any of these conditions, please make an appointment with your physician. After a thorough examination your doctor will determine if you are a candidate for MUA.
MUA is not an available option for some conditions including:
- Advanced heart disease
- Advanced age
- Bone weakening diseases
- Certain circulatory diseases
- Uncontrolled diabetes
What To Expect
Prior To The Procedure:
After a patient is approved by their physician a typical MUA treatment plan begins with a medical screening process, clearing the patient for anesthesia. Medical tests usually will include:
- CBC blood studies
- SMA 6
- Chest x-ray and EKG for patients age 50 and older
- Pregnancy test for female MUA patients
After receiving medical clearance, the patient is scheduled at the facility where the MUA will be performed.
On the day of the MUA, the patient must be accompanied by someone who is able to drive them home after the procedure. (Most offices also have transportation available upon request.) MUA is not an invasive surgery and the actual procedure is very gentle. An intravenous catheter is inserted into the patient's arm and a board certified anesthesiologist administers a small amount of anesthesia. After the patient has fallen asleep, a process of stretching the muscles takes place for about 20 minutes. Afterward the patient wakes up and is monitored by qualified personnel until discharge. Most MUAs take place over a period of 3 consecutive days.
After the last MUA procedure, the patient should follow an individualized 4-6 week program designed specifically for MUA patients by a specially trained team of physical therapists. Rehabilitation includes stretching, flexibility and strengthening exercises. This regimented post-MUA therapy will help the patient regain pre-injury strength and help prevent future pain and disability.