Manual therapy describes a form of physical therapy delivered with the hands, as opposed to a device or machine. This type of therapy helps by treating the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints to restore normal movement and function to joints and soft tissues. These techniques are aimed at relaxing tense back muscles and restricted joints to decrease back pain and increase flexibility. In general, manual physical therapy techniques employ the following types of movement:
Soft tissue Mobilization:
Following some kind of trauma or injury, fascia and muscles may shorten and restrict movement and blood flow. Depending on where your restrictions are located, your physical therapist will apply different directions of pressure to break down muscle adhesions. This pressure can help relax muscles, increase circulation, break up scar tissue, and ease pain in the soft tissues.
This technique focuses on reducing or correcting chronic and acute muscle spasms and abnormal neuromuscular reflexes that cause structural and postural problems, resulting in painful ‘tenderpoints’. The therapist will locate the fascial structure involved in the spasm and work to subdue the major muscle groups involved to return to a pain-free state.
This is where the therapist uses measured movements of varying speed, force, and distances to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into position. This can help loosen tight tissues around a joint, reduce pain in the surrounding tissue of a joint, and help with flexibility and alignment.
Muscle Energy Techniques:
Muscle energy techniques (METs) are designed to mobilize restricted joints and lengthen shortened muscles. The therapist will guide you through performing a specific muscle contraction against a resistive barrier and will use manual contact with the joint of interest and will continue with this process until your muscle stretches further each time and range of motion improves.
Thrust Techniques, High Velocity/Low Amplitude(HVLA): Your physical therapist manually finds joints that are not moving symmetrically or incorrectly and applies a quick, shallow, and repetitive pressure to a particular joint.
Manual therapy can be helpful for the following conditions:
• Neck Pain
• Low Back Pain
• Thoracic spine/Mid-back Pain
• TMJ Dysfunction
• Hip Pain
• Knee Pain
• Ankle Pain
• Shoulder Pain
We do our best to combine the best of hands-on, manual therapy techniques with functional strength and stability critical for not only reducing pain, by restoring your body to healthy and efficient movement patterns.