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The Difference between a Spinal Mobilisation and Spinal Adjustment

The Difference between a Spinal Mobilisation and Spinal Adjustment

A commonly asked question at Lakeside Chiropractic is, are Spinal manipulations and Spinal mobilisations different? These are two terms often associated with chiropractic care, but they have distinct differences that are important to understand in terms of goals, techniques, and applications. In this blog, let’s break it down into 10 different aspects.

chiropractic adjustment

Definition and Purpose

Chiropractic adjustments, also known as spinal manipulations or joint adjustments, are precise movements using a high-velocity low amplitude thrust applied to a segment of the spine to improve their function. The primary goal of Chiropractic adjustment is to restore proper joint alignment and movement, and lastly alleviate pain. In contrast, spinal mobilisations are a lower grade of adjustments, typically involving a low force slow to address similar complaints like joint dysfunction, increase range of motion and reduce pain.


Mobilisations are slow controlled and gentle applied force to specific areas of the body or spine. The chiropractor uses their hands to guide and encourage the joint through its natural range of motion. They are tailored to the patient's needs and the nature of their condition. On the other hand, spinal manipulations involve a more forceful, quick thrust, usually accompanied by an audible "cracking" sound, which results from the release of gas within the joint.

Training and Certification

All Chiropractors undergo extensive training and education to perform both adjustments and spinal mobilisations safely. However, spinal manipulations may require additional training and expertise due to the higher forces involved. Our Chiropractors at Lakeside Chiropractic specialize in spinal manipulations and often pursue advanced certifications to treat a wide range of musculoskeletal complaints.


Adjustments are commonly used to address a wide range of musculoskeletal issues, including joint stiffness, muscle tension, and minor misalignments. They are also employed for preventative care. Spinal mobilisations, on the other hand, are typically reserved for specific conditions such as acute lower back pain, osteoporosis, or discogenic pain thus requiring a lower force correction

chiropractic adjustment

Risk Factors

Both adjustments and spinal mobilisations are generally safe when performed by qualified professionals. However, spinal adjustments may carry a slightly higher risk of adverse effects, such as muscle soreness or muscle aches or tenderness after treatment. Our Chiropractors at Lakeside Chiropractic will screen the patient thoroughly and do necessary imaging to ensure that they can perform a safe and effective adjustment.

Patient Preferences

Patient preferences play a significant role in the choice between adjustments and spinal mobilisations. Some individuals may prefer the gentler approach of mobilisation, while others may seek relief with spinal manipulations.

Post-Treatment Considerations

After treatments, patients may experience a gradual improvement in their symptoms, and they are usually advised to maintain proper posture and follow home care instructions. In addition, it is encouraged for patients to rest and avoid strenuous activities for a brief period to allow the body to settle down.

Integration with Other Therapies

Chiropractors often integrate adjustments and spinal manipulations with other complementary therapies like massage, exercise and lifestyle modifications to achieve holistic and long-term pain relief.

chiropractic adjustment

Evidence and Research 

Both adjustments and spinal mobilisations have been the subject of scientific research. While there are evidence supporting their effectiveness for certain musculoskeletal conditions, more ongoing research aims to further clarify their benefits and mechanisms of action.

In summary, spinal mobilisation is a specific technique within spinal adjustments, and it typically involves a slow gradual, controlled force applied to a joint in the spine. Spinal adjustment, on the other hand, is a broader term that encompasses various methods aimed at improving spinal health. Both are used by chiropractors to help patients with conditions like back pain or headaches and many more. The choice between them depends on the patient's condition, preferences, and the recommendations of a chiropractor.

chiropractic team

Here at Lakeside Chiropractic, not only do our chiropractors do adjustment and manipulations, but also provide laser treatment and other therapies. Feel free to call us at 9300 0095 to book in an appointment or visit our website at for more info.

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October 31, 2023