What Is Manual Therapy?
Manual therapy is a treatment method used by athletic trainers, physical therapists and massage therapists. Generally, it is used to treat musculoskeletal pain and often includes joint manipulation, joint mobilization, and mobilization of muscles and connective tissues. Within the physical therapy profession, physical therapy is a clinical approach to implementing hands-on techniques to increase the range of motion, treat joint structures, reduce pain, reduce inflammation and enhance healing. There are many different styles and methods of manual therapy used by physical therapists.
The Types of Manual Therapy at ProMotion Rehab and Sports Medicine in Columbia, Florence, McColl, Lake City, and Camden
Often, patients are instructed to treat pulled muscles with rest and massage. These methods work well, but it is likely that the pain will return. That’s because the pain and muscle spasms are a result of a restricted joint. Joint mobilization used by physical therapists loosens up the restricted joint by applying slow velocity and increased amplitude. This type of manual therapy actually applies movement to the barrier of the joint. Joint mobilization is painless.
The high velocity, low amplitude thrust joint mobilization is an approach that entails taking a joint to its restrictive barrier and applying a quick thrust in a specific direction in a very small range of movement. This technique is used for pain relief and the restoration of joint motion and does not move a joint beyond its normal anatomical limit. It has been shown in many research articles to be highly effective and safe for immediate pain reduction in the spine, as well as in many peripheral joints.
Soft tissue mobilization is used by physical therapists to break up fibrous muscle or connective tissue, including fascia. This method of manual therapy entails rhythmic stretching and deep pressure. The therapist localizes the area of the greatest tissue restriction and begins to mobilize it with specific techniques, such as Graston or Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization.
Muscle energy techniques (METs) are procedures used to lengthen shortened muscles and mobilize restricted joints. During this procedure, the patient’s muscles are voluntarily contracted against a controlled counterforce applied by the physical therapist from a specific direction. After the contraction, the joint is taken to its new barrier. This is an active procedure technique in which the patient participates and is well-tolerated.
The strain-counterstrain method focuses on fixing abnormal neuromuscular reflexes that cause both postural and structural issues. The physical therapist will locate the patient’s position of comfort and hold that position for approximately 90 seconds. When holding, an asymptomatic strain is induced through stretching. The patient is then brought out of this position. This allows for a resetting of the muscles and sets the muscles for healing. It’s a gentle technique that is commonly used for back problems.
How Manual Therapy in Physical Therapy Helps
Before any physical therapist initiates manual therapy, a full assessment of the blood supply is done in addition to a muscle and bone assessment and other body systems screen, as appropriate. The physical therapist will then implement the best type of manual therapy for the patient. All around, manual therapy increases blood flow, reduces pain, increases the range of motion and just plain feels good. Contact Us today at Lake City, Florence, McColl & Camden, SC Physical Therapy Clinics to learn more about how manual therapy can help you get on the road to recovery.