Are you struggling with a recent injury that seems slow to heal – or an old injury that never healed properly? Do you feel as if some part of your body is “stuck” or otherwise unable to function as it should? Do you suffer from chronic pain and other uncomfortable musculoskeletal or neuromuscular issues? If you answered in the affirmative to any of these questions, then you may discover the answers to your distress in a form of care known as manual therapy. Manual therapy makes a natural complement to rehabilitative exercises and other physical therapy techniques to enhance your health and quality of life!
What Is Manual Therapy?
Manual therapy is just one tool in a physical therapist’s kit that allows them to manipulate joints and soft tissue with nothing more than their hands. This specialized form of treatment helps in reducing swelling, decreasing restriction, mobilizing joints, and increasing your range of motion. In order to achieve this, our physical therapist will manipulate different parts of your body through massage and stretching.
The term “manual therapy” applies to a broad range of modalities and techniques. Essentially, however, it refers to the mobilization or manipulation of body parts to help them heal properly, relieve/manage pain and other symptoms, or improve range of motion and other functionality. Manual therapy techniques commonly recommended by our physical therapist include:
- Joint manipulation – Manipulation of ailing or injured joints can correct small but significant alignment errors between different joint structures. These corrections can help joints move more normally, with less pain, while also improving your overall posture and mobility.
- Joint mobilization – Some joints benefit from mobilization rather than manipulation. Getting these structures moving can help build up their strength and support, increase comfortable range of motion, and boost the flow of blood and healing nutrients to painful or damaged joints.
- Soft tissue mobilization – That painful “stuck” feeling you’re experiencing may be due to internal scar tissue accumulations called adhesions. Adhesions sometimes form over injured tissues, limiting their motion and causing chronic pain. This is done through deep pressure and rhythmic stretching, allowing them to find and mobilize areas of your body that are heavily restricted. Muscles and connective tissue can also suffer from chronic tension and spasms, often referring pain to other parts of the body as trigger points. Our physical therapist can help you combat these issues through soft tissue mobilization techniques.
Good Candidates for Manual Therapy
Manual therapy can help people suffering from a wide range of conditions and issues. You may be an ideal candidate for a course of manual therapy if you need help with:
- Acute or chronic back or neck pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in an arm or leg
- Shoulder, knee, ankle, or hip pain
- An old injury which continues to cause pain and stiffness, even years later
- Chronic soft tissue pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia
- TMJ pain and stiffness
How Manual Therapy and Physical Therapy Work Together
Why might our physical therapist prescribe both physical therapy exercises and manual therapy for your condition? As powerful as each of these disciplines is in improving function and easing discomfort, they appear to offer special benefits when used in combination. For instance, a study of ankle sprain sufferers found that the ones who received a combination of manual therapy and physical therapy exercises had fewer functional problems and discomfort (both at 4 weeks and at 6 months) than those who only performed the physical therapy exercises.
Our physical therapist will perform a careful examination to see whether your particular health challenge will likely respond to certain kinds of manual therapy. If you’re showing signs of swelling, muscle spasms, chronic/acute pain, or restricted mobility, we will probably recommend at least one manual therapy technique to go along with your physical therapy exercises and other treatments. Manual therapy is ideal to help increase blood flow, reduce chronic pain, restore full range of motion and achieve an optimal level of overall wellness. This integral part of physical therapy treatment is safe, non-invasive and ideal for treating patients of all ages. Our goal is always to help you move better, feel better, and maintain a higher overall standard of health and wellness.
How safe is manual therapy?
Manual therapy is very safe! One of the greatest aspects of manual therapy is that it is non-invasive. It also doesn’t require any harmful medications. Instead, our physical therapists use a variety of techniques that help move your tendons, ligaments, and joints in ways that relieve pain and promote healing. They also help in reducing scar tissue and minimizing swelling.
Our physical therapists are highly trained medical professionals who understand the limitations of your body, as well as its capabilities. In fact, many patients notice improvement after just one session of manual therapy!
Schedule an Appointment Today
Be sure to give us a call today to learn more about how manual therapy can help relieve your chronic pain symptoms and begin your journey on the road to recovery!