Manual therapy is a specialized physical therapy treatment that allows licensed staff to manipulate joints and soft tissue with nothing more than their hands. This form of treatment helps in relieving pain, decreasing restriction, mobilizing joints, reducing swelling, and increasing your range of motion.
There are several different types of manual therapy. Some of the most common include, but are not limited to:
- Massage – When you participate in physical therapy massage treatments, they may seem a little different than those you might receive at a spa. Physical therapy massages are meant to be more therapeutic in nature, rather than relaxing. Our physical therapists use massage treatments as a way to manipulate the soft tissues, in order to break up any scar tissue or adhesions in the affected body part. This is done through deep pressure and rhythmic stretching, allowing the physical therapist to find and mobilize areas of your body that are heavily restricted.
- Manual traction – When our physical therapists perform manual traction, they will apply a gentle force to a certain area of the body, in order to stretch it out. The neck is the most common part of the body to receive manual traction treatments; however, it is possible that your physical therapist may recommend manual traction on other parts of the body as well. To treat neck pain with manual traction, your physical therapist will have you lie down on your back, and then they will gently take the base of your skull in one hand and your chin in the other, in order to stretch the spaces between your vertebrae. This is typically done for 5-10 seconds at a time.
- Mobilization/manipulation – You may experience severe pain after an injury as a result of a restricted joint. Our physical therapists are trained in loosening restricted joints by applying pressure at a low velocity. Mobilization and manipulation techniques are painless, safe, effective. They also allow for an increased range of motion, in addition to the breakdown of the joint’s barrier.
- Myofascial Release - Myofascial release is a type of physical therapy often used to treat myofascial pain syndrome. Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder caused by sensitivity and tightness in your myofascial tissues. These tissues surround and support the muscles throughout your body. The pain usually originates from specific points within your myofascial tissues called “trigger points.”