Manual therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy, delivered with the hands as opposed to a device or machine. In manual therapy, therapists use their hands to apply pressure to muscle tissue and facilitate joint movement. This decreases pain caused by muscle spasm, tissue tension and joint dysfunction.
What conditions can be treated with Manual Therapy?
Manual physical therapists treat acute and chronic conditions including head, neck, back, arm and leg pain, among many other musculoskeletal disorders. When soft-tissue and joint restrictions are present, which result in exercises or movements being painful or even making the condition worse, manual therapy will be of benefit.
In these instances, a physical therapist can provide hands-on techniques to improve mobility, reduce pain, and restore normal function of the soft tissues and joints. Along with the manual therapy, the therapist will prescribe and implement the most effective individualized exercise and movement re-education program.
How do you know if you need manual therapy?
Manual therapy services are recommended if you have muscle, joint, or soft tissue conditions that affect movement, strength, posture, or cause pain. This includes common disorders associated with trauma, post-operative recovery, poor posture, overuse, athletic injuries, and arthritis/degenerative changes. Studies have concluded that the combination of skilled manual therapy, exercise, and education is the optimal approach to conservative (non-surgical) and post-operative care of movement disorders.
Manual therapy techniques include but are not limited to:
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Joint Glides/Segmental Mobilization
Myokinesthetics (combination of myofascial and neurological techniques)