Abstract of The Week: How Should We Teach Lumbar Manipulation?

Before we jump into this particular Abstract of The Week, we just had to share this:


It’s one hundred percent true. While our mission with every North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy course or program is to ensure physical therapists have the evidence-based education they need to make good decisions in the clinic, we also feel it’s vital to understand that each and every case you see will be different. And our seasoned faculty and mentors are constantly tweaking our teaching approach to ensure we enable you to think independently and creatively to meet the needs of all patients, one by one….which is why Stacy Soappman wanted to share this with you:

How should we teach lumbar manipulation? A consensus study.

O’Donnell M1, Smith JA2, Abzug A3, Kulig K1.

I struggled to learn manipulation because I am quite small and on any given day, 99 percent of my patients are bigger then me. When I teach Manip Like a Girl, the comment I hear a lot of is that students can get the patients positioned, but then they do not know what to do with their own body to generate enough force/velocity. After my manipulation course, I remember being in the clinic and being so frustrated because I did not know how to generate the velocity needed to be successful. It was not until I learned what muscles to use to generate the force, that I was successful. Males are inherently stronger, and usually bigger, so they can position a patient and use smaller muscles to perform a successful manipulation. It is a lot more work for me to achieve the same results. This article was great in that it had good advice on positioning, but I feel like once the positioning portion was over, it did not give as much detailed help on how to execute the second half of the manipulation.

What I would like to add is that far too often I see people trying to manipulate by only using their arms. This may work if your patient is smaller then you, however, when your patient is bigger than you, I encourage you to make it a full body sport and use your big muscles to perform the manipulation. You will be much more successful. It may sound daunting as a small-in-stature PT, but it’s a skill you CAN learn! Let me know any questions you may have in the comments below!

And for a chance to explore this and more manual therapy topics in more detail, join me in Denver Colorado at the end of the month for Thoracic Spine!

Or browse our other upcoming manual therapy courses including: 

soappman175**Abstract of the week shared by NAIOMT Instructor Stacy Soappman, PT, DSc, COMT, FAAOMPT.

One thought on “Abstract of The Week: How Should We Teach Lumbar Manipulation?

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