Manual therapy techniques are skilled passive movements of joints and soft tissue, and are intended to improve tissue extensibility; increase range of motion; induce relaxation; mobilize or manipulate soft tissue and joints; modulate pain; and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction. Techniques may include manual lymphatic drainage, manual traction, massage, mobilization/manipulation, and passive range of motion.
Physical therapists select, prescribe, and implement manual therapy techniques when the examination findings, diagnosis, and prognosis indicate use of these techniques to decrease edema, pain, spasm, or swelling; enhance health, wellness, and fitness; enhance or maintain physical performance; increase the ability to move; or prevent or remediate impairment in body functions and structures, activity limitations, or participation restrictions to improve physical function.
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 of muscles, specific joint mobilization, and joint manipulation.
The three most notable forms of manual therapy are:
- Manipulation is the application of a rapid force into a joint(s). Manipulation is often associated with an audible popping sound called cavitation.
- Mobilization is a slower, more controlled process of articular and soft-tissue stretching intended to improve joint mobility.
- Massage is typically the repetitive rubbing, stripping or kneading of muscle and fascia tissues to facilitate healing.
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
- Golfers elbow
- Pinched nerves
- Limited joint range of motion
- Capsule tightness
- Postsurgical stiffness
- Much more.
Manual therapy is typically part of a complete treatment plan that is customized for your specific needs. Give us a call to learn how we can incorporate manual therapy into your rehabilitation program.