Manual therapy is a hands-on treatment by clinicians to treat muscle aches, joint pain, and limited range of motion. It encompasses a variety of techniques including soft tissue mobilization and massage of muscles, specific joint mobilization, and joint manipulation.
The three most notable forms of manual therapy are:
- Soft tissue mobilization and massage works on the skin, muscle and fascia layers for optimum soft tissue mobility. Scars, muscle tightness and fascial adhesions can greatly limit movement and muscle firing so this technique is very useful in reducing stiffness and improve muscle fiber health. The massage physical therapists perform is different than massage therapists because of our working knowledge of muscle origin and insertion and fiber direction. Our anatomical knowledge and special mobilization techniques allows us to be healers, not just soothers.
- Joint mobilization is manual joint work done by a physical therapist to improve joint mobility and compliance. Oftentimes joints can be "stuck" in faulty positions from bad posture or injuries, and joint mobilization by a physical therapist can help release these restrictions. Though at times uncomfortable, this technique should not cause pain, and the benefit to mobility is huge.
- Manipulation is the application of joint mobilization using low amplitude, high velocity thrust. Manipulation is often associated with an audible popping sound called cavitation, and can bring about great relief and mobility to the patient. We typically reserve these techniques for patients who are comfortable with them, and also have chronic tightness in their joints.
Manual therapy has been proven to be an important part of an overall conservative treatment plan for a variety of conditions including:
- Adhesive Capsulitis
- Shoulder Impingement
- Shoulder Stiffness/Limited Range of Motion
- Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
- Golfers Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)
- Pinched Nerves
- Limited Joint Range of Motion
- Capsule Tightness
- Postsurgical Stiffness and scar immobility
- Much More
Manual therapy is typically part of our complete treatment plan and is customized for your specific needs.