Frequently Asked Questions About MUA
What is Manipulation Under Anesthesia or MUA?
MUA is a non-invasive procedure offered for acute and chronic conditions, including neck, back, and joint pain, muscle spasms, fibrous adhesions, and long-term pain syndromes.
MUA is seen as a more successful, less expensive, and safer pain management tool than surgery. It’s generally regarded as safe and is used to treat pain originating from the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine in addition to the sacroiliac and pelvic regions. (each of those terms should be links to glossary entries)
How Does MUA Work?
MUA utilizes a combination of spinal manipulations, passive stretches, and articular and postural inesthetic moves (links to glossary terms) in order to free up fibrous adhesions and scar tissue around the spine and neighboring tissue. Mild sedation techniques are performed to increase mobilization and reduce discomfort.
Treatment is performed by licensed doctors at an outpatient surgery center. Dr. Holvick and Dr. Callaghan are both trained, certified, and experienced in performing the MUA procedure.
Is MUA New?
MUA is not a new or experimental procedure. Osteopathic physicians and orthopedic surgeons pioneered the treatment over 70 years ago. In recent years, chiropractic care through Manipulation Under Anesthesia has experienced a resurgence in interest due to important advances in anesthesiology which make it safer and more viable than ever.
What Conditions Respond Well to MUA?
Common conditions that respond well to Manipulation Under Anesthesia include:
- Fibrous Adhesions
- Chronic disc conditions
- Pinched or entrapped nerve
- Persistent neck or back pain
- Frozen shoulder syndrome
- Painful, restricted range of movement
- Failed or ineffective back surgery
- Acute muscle spasms
- Injuries due to motor vehicle accidents
- Work or sports related injuries
What Are Some Advantages of MUA?
MUA is often…
More successful in improving range of motion and relieving pain
- More cost-effective
- Safer than more invasive treatments
- The path to a faster return to a healthier, pain-free life
Why Does MUA Work So Well?
Manipulation Under Anesthesia succeeds where many other treatments do not for two reasons:
- MUA allows a physician to adjust bone alignment and stretch muscles while the patient is in a relaxed state achieved with sedation. The patient doesn’t offer voluntary or reflexive resistance to the treatment.
- MUA directly addresses the root cause of most neuromusculoskeletal conditions: fibrous adhesions. A fibrous adhesion is internal scar tissue that has resulted from trauma or injury. These adhesions can grow around spinal joints and nerve roots and inside the surrounding muscles. This results in restricted movement, limited flexibility, chronic pain, and even decreased blood flow to the damaged area.
- The primary objective of MUA is to restore a normal range of motion and reduce pain by breaking up these adhesions. By using a form of “twilight” sedation to relax the body, your doctor is able to gently move joints and stretch muscles through the full passive range of motion, breaking up the adhesions and unlocking the fixations of the spine. Anesthesia not only makes the procedure painless, it also helps overcome the body’s natural reflex mechanisms – or muscle guarding – allowing the doctor to apply less force while achieving greater results.
What’s The First Step for Beginning an MUA Treatment Program?
Before a Manipulation Under Anesthesia program can begin, Dr. Callaghan or Dr. Holvick must determine if you’re a good candidate for MUA and establish medical clearance for the procedure. This entails a thorough evaluation and full diagnostic work-up which may include CVC test, a pregnancy test for women of child-bearing age, X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and electro-diagnostic studies. Once a patient has been cleared for the procedure, an appointment for the MUA can be scheduled.
What Can I Expect at an MUA Procedure?
You arrive an hour prior to the scheduled MUA appointment accompanied by someone who will drive you home after the procedure. You’re prepared for the procedure in Pre-Op, meeting with a board certified anesthesiologist and having an IV inserted for sedation. In the operating suite, anesthesia is administered by the anesthesiologist to achieve conscious sedation, known as “twilight sleep.”
Based on the assessment, doctors Callaghan and Holvick work together to carefully apply a combination of specialized techniques to stretch, adjust, and mobilize the problem areas of the body. A team approach safeguards the patient and ensures for optimal success. While the procedure takes place, the anesthesiologist closely monitors the patient’s condition.
An experienced or nurse is also on hand to assist the team.
Depending on the nature of the physical complaints, the MUA procedure may require between one to three separate sessions. Each session lasts between 15 to 30 minutes.
Recovery from anesthesia is usually only between 10 to 15 minutes and you’re carefully monitored until cleared for discharge.
MUA is an established medical procedure with a CPT Code designate of 22505 and conforms to nationally published practice guidelines and protocol.
What Happens After the Procedure? What Can I Expect?
Most patients notice an immediate reduction of pain and a fuller range of motion after only one session. While some temporary muscle soreness may be experienced, it is generally equivalent to that encountered after a vigorous workout. After the procedure, some therapies like electrical stimulation, hot moist packs, massage, and ultrasound may be prescribed. The key to Manipulation Under Anesthesia’s long-term effectiveness and the patient’s gaining full relief lies in the post-procedure care program.
Over the few weeks following the procedure, the patient will return for regular visits to build upon MUA’s positive results. A regimented program of exercise and stretching will be used to help strengthen and stabilize the muscles and prevent a return of pain or discomfort.
How Do I Know If MUA is Right For Me?
Manipulation Under Anesthesia has proven to be a safe, effective treatment for many patients suffering from painful and debilitating back, neck, and joint conditions particularly those who have experienced limited or no relief from regular manipulations or conventional treatments like surgery and epidural injections. It is not for everyone however. A consultation with Doctor Callaghan or Dr. Holvick can help you determine if you have any contraindications for the procedure and if your condition warrants MUA.