Manipulation Under Anesthesia
An alternative route of service
Katherine McCarty, DC Student
The idea of chiropractic and medicine bestows upon healthcare a synergistic effect. Combined, their interactions lead to breakthroughs–literally through adhesions–but more metaphorically through a barrier of ideology. Some would say they should remain separate, while others consider their forces combined would equal a sum greater than their individual parts. Manipulation under anesthesia is a growing avenue which incorporates the two professions, one in which targets the everyday demand of relief and optimal health.
Dr. Scott Bertrand, D.C. works with a team of pain management professional who include anesthesiologists, medical doctors and many chiropractors around the United States. “Manipulation Under Anesthesia or MUA is an advanced procedure designed to optimize the ranges of motion in adhered or “frozen” joints,” Dr. Bertrand stated. He states that an MUA patient is defined as a patient who exhibits a restricted range of motion in any joint. This patient has failed to respond to a traditional regimen of six to eight weeks of conservative medical or chiropractic treatment. Adhesions create a large concern when it comes to physical movements of a person’s everyday lifestyle. They can develop in a matter of days following acute traumas, and if treated insufficiently, can lead to permanent restrictions.
A diagnosis of restrictions is determined during examination by reduced active and passive ranges of motion, and while the hope is that traditional therapy could reverse these restrictions, advanced methods such as MUA have been shown to break adhesions efficiently and painlessly. In other words, there is no longer conscious protective muscle guarding by the patient. When the patient is in this relaxed state the restricted joint is taken through a series of painless maneuvers which releases any restrictive scar tissue.
Before MUA can even be considered for a person, they must be cleared by a medical doctor. Bertrand states that it is imperative that a series of diagnostic studies be performed to rule out any contraindication to the MUA procedure. These studies include plain film x-rays, a recent MRI, bone density scans, and blood work. Once the patient has been cleared, MUA can be safely preformed.
How exactly is MUA performed?
The MUA procedure utilizes a series of specific maneuvers designed to release the joint from any restrictions that may have been caused by intra-articular or peri-articluar adhesions. Dr. Bertrand states that this is accomplished by gently stretching the musculature of the involved joint while the patient is in a state of monitored sedation. “These maneuvers take into consideration the actions of all the musculature that either originates or terminates in or around the involved articulation,” states Bertrand.
While the practice of MUA has opinions both for and against it, the results speak for themselves. When MUA is performed in a surgical setting, followed by physical therapy to maintain recovery and minimize new adhesion development, a 70-90% recovery rate has been verified. MUA is beginning to grow nationwide, with its roots deep here in the Atlanta area with several doctors working within a surgical facility in southwest Atlanta.
As future chiropractors, we expect nothing in our careers than to serve others. While manipulating under drugs seems to some an unusual practice for chiropractors, sometimes it is the only pathway for people to experience optimal health and relief, which is, after all, what we strive to serve. Dr. Bertrand strongly feels, “If any joint on anybody is to be mobilized in any setting, shouldn’t chiropractors, as the joint mobilization experts, become the doctors of choice?”
I have been fortunate enough with my acquaintance of Dr. Bertrand to witness a session of an MUA procedure, and have seen the profound effects of it. Not only can the patient move his/her extremities with normal ranges of motion again, but I have been told by the patients that they have had a life changing experience. For further information, please visit the website at http://www.MUAhealth.com.