What are the Benefits of MUA? (Manipulation Under Anesthesia)

There are times when chronic pain, surgery, an acute or a long-standing injury can create deep scar-like conditions called adhesions, which may not respond to conservative care and/or exercising and stretching.

The providers at Valley Pain Centers offer manipulation under anesthesia (MUA), a technique that uses sedation to relax you, making MUA more effective than when you’re fully alert. Suitable for treating joint pain and decreased range of motion virtually anywhere in your body, MUA restores range of motion allowing normalized function to return

Understanding adhesions

If the term “adhesion” brings the word “adhesive” to mind, you’re on the right track, since an adhesion is a band of scar tissue that connects other tissues together that aren’t normally connected. For example, an adhesion could cause two muscles or joints to stick together as if they were being held in place by a piece of tape. The adhesion layer could be thick or thin, depending on where it is and what tissues it connects.

Inflammation is a natural part of your body’s healing response, developing after certain events, such as infections, trauma, surgery, or even radiation therapy. Inflammation and/or reduced range of motion left unchecked can cause unwanted adhesions to form. You likely won’t experience symptoms at the time the adhesions form. However, they can slowly restrict normal movement and cause chronic inflammation in nerves and muscles and create stiffness and pain. 

Manipulation under anesthesia

To determine if you're a candidate for MUA, your provider will perform a thorough physical examination. The precise set of manipulations you receive will depend on where your adhesions are and how it affects your mobility.

Using anesthesia as part of the process is crucial, because if you’re fully conscious, you may naturally resist some movements due to the discomfort and pain.

A team of two physicians will run your joints through a series of motions that would not be possible with regular stretching exercises. As these manipulations and mobilizations are performed, they should release the adhesions allowing increased mobility and function.

Typically, anti-inflammatory medication is also used to prevent a healing response that might form more adhesions. Once your therapy is complete, you’ll undergo a short period of observed recovery. Many patients find immediate reduction in pain levels while also noting increased mobility in the treatment area. 

Follow-up rehabilitation

For 2-4 weeks after your MUA treatment, you’ll undergo a mild rehabilitation program with your physical therapist or chiropractic physician to help prevent the reformation of adhesions. While individual responses can vary, the goal of treatment will be to reduce pain and make your body more flexible.

At Valley Pain Centers, with three convenient Arizona locations in Phoenix, Peoria, and Scottsdale, you are never a number. Your consultation, examination, and treatment are always administered by a highly qualified physician. When it comes to neck, back, and joint pain, we have several experienced physicians who can help you, including Toure Knighton, MDDinesh Chinthagada, MDJin Yuk, MD, and Patricia Henthorn, DC, DAAMUAP. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today. 

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