Manual therapy refers to the “hands-on” treatment of under performing muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. Encompassing a broad group of techniques performed by trained physical therapists, manual therapy treatments may include moving the joints in specific directions to regain movement (joint mobilizations), muscle stretching, passive movements and movements designed to improve muscle activation. Specific soft tissue techniques are also used to improve the mobility and functioning of tissues, nerves, and muscles.
In addition, the natural healing effects of human touch is an essential aspect of our treatment philosophy. Most patients enjoy a faster recovery and improved sense of well-being when manual therapy in used in conjunction with exercise and education.
How Is Manual Physical Therapy Different From Other Types of Therapies?
It may seem that manual therapy is similar to other types of treatments, such as massage, chiropractic, or other osteopathic therapies. However, one key difference is in the assessment process behind the treatment and integration of manual therapy into the patient’s personalized exercise program.
Manual physical therapy is based on careful examination of the patient’s movement patterns, including range of motion restrictions and compensatory movements that can prevent healing. Assessment is continuously done throughout treatment and techniques are altered to accommodate the patient’s response to the treatment provided. Research has shown that the most effective treatments involve a combination of customized manual therapy interventions combined with specific exercises to restore function.
What Conditions Can Benefit From Manual Therapy?
Orthopedic manual physical therapists treat acute and chronic pain conditions affecting all areas of the body. When injury causes soft-tissue and joint restrictions that produce pain during movement, manual therapy can improve mobility, reduce pain, and restore normal functioning of the soft-tissues and joints.
Manual Therapy Techniques
At Drayer Physical Therapy Institute® (DPTI), we employ a range of manual therapy techniques, including:
- Joint mobilization
- Passive range of motion
- Soft tissue mobilization
- Myofascial release
- Trigger point release