Spinal manipulation is also called spinal manipulative therapy. It’s a technique where practitioners use their hands or a device to apply a controlled thrust (that is, a force of a specific magnitude or degree in a specific direction) to a joint of your spine. The amount of force can vary, but the thrust moves the joint more than it would on its own. Spinal manipulation is different from spinal mobilization, which doesn’t involve a thrust (and is performed within a joint’s natural range of motion and can be controlled by the patient).