Fluid Health & Fitness

Why Do We Use Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a type of physical treatment used by therapists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to address muscular-skeletal pain and disability. It typically entails muscle kneading and manipulation, joint mobilization and manipulation.

Traditional physical therapy, which primarily addresses symptoms, cannot address the cause of your condition. That means manual therapy offers a higher expectation for success since it addresses the source of your issue rather than simply masking its effects.

Increased Mobility

Manual therapy is an essential tool in our physical therapists’ toolbox, and we employ various techniques to help our patients move better. These skilled treatments target soft tissue, joints and the neurovascular system to increase mobility and reduce pain.

Manual physical therapy (PT) differs from machines in that it’s hands-on and tailored to your body’s individual needs. Drawing upon their extensive training, therapists are able to manipulate stiff muscles and joints in ways that restore motion, restoring your natural movement patterns.

Our physiotherapists often employ Muscle Energy Techniques (METs) to stretch shortened muscles and mobilize restricted joints. METs involve applying a controlled counterforce to your muscle for several seconds in order to increase its range of motion.

Our therapists use visceral mobilization or manipulation to release fascial adhesions that could be causing your back pain, abdominal discomfort, shallow breathing or other symptoms. This technique breaks up fibrous muscle tissue and restores organ function back to normal.

Reduced Pain

Physical therapists utilize a variety of hands-on techniques, such as soft tissue work (massage), joint mobilizations and manipulations, to increase range of motion, tissue mobility, reduce swelling and inflammation, and remove restrictions that inhibit functional activities.

Manipulation: Mobilization, traction and other manipulations involve using measured movements of varying force and speed to twist, pull or push bones and joints into position. This loosens tight tissues around joints, reduces pain in those affected, increases flexibility and alignment around them.

Massage: Massaging the muscles or soft tissue can help relax them, increase circulation and break up scar tissue. This is particularly beneficial for chronic conditions such as back pain relief and sciatica pain relief.

There is a wealth of research indicating manual therapy can be an effective treatment for managing muscular-skeletal pain. However, several factors can influence its efficacy: patient expectations, provider therapeutic alliance, and the context in which treatment is given.

Increased Blood Flow

Manual therapy involves manipulating, mobilizing and massaging tissues to increase tissue extensibility, promote blood flow for healing and restore functional mobility. They may break up scar tissue adhesions in recovering tissues as well as promote healing and tissue regeneration.

It’s essential to note, however, that these techniques are applied to muscles and other connective tissues not directly related to the musculoskeletal system. Since these tissue types tend to be chronically inflamed and resistant to healing, increased blood flow can be especially beneficial in order to deliver essential nutrients and oxygen the tissue may lack.

To determine if neck positions used in common manual therapy procedures were any more hazardous to craniocervical arterial blood flow or brain perfusion than the neutral position, we conducted an experiment. Results showed no differences between these positions regarding either total cerebral blood flow or flow rates compared with the neutral position.

Increased Flexibility

Manual therapy is a type of hands-on treatment used by physical therapists, massage therapists and chiropractors to target muscles and other soft tissues with mobilization, stretching and manipulation to improve how your body functions.

The therapist uses slow and controlled hands-on techniques to improve how your joints and soft tissues function, relieving pain and disability. These may include massage, joint mobilization, traction, myofascial release, and range of motion exercises.

When a physical therapist applies pressure to a muscle or joint, it increases blood flow and can help increase tissue extensibility. That’s why many physical therapists incorporate soft tissue massage into their manual therapy treatments as part of their manual therapy protocols.

Stretching not only increases flexibility, but it can help prevent injury as well. However, remember to only perform these exercises within your pain tolerance limit.

If you are interested in learning more about our services, including specializing in telehealth physical therapy treatment options and corrective exercise solutions, please visit our website or contact us to schedule an appointment with our team of specialists.