Manual therapy is one of the most important tools in physiotherapy and has been around since the 1970s.
Our practice utilizes manual therapy as a pivotal part of the examination and treatment process in addition to functional movement analysis.
Working With Our Hands
The basis of manual therapy is the use of specialized hand grips and mobilization movements to analyze the functional issues a patient is experiencing. Various information such as joint play, elasticity of the joint capsules, muscle function (in terms of stability and strength of muscles surrounding the joint) and flexibility of the nerve tissue are all recorded and evaluated in detail. Ultimately, the goal is the restoration of joint interplay, the retraining of muscles and compromised nerves – thus, eliminating the disturbances in movement as much as possible which results in the prolonged relief of a patient’s pain and discomfort.
Manual Therapy as a First Step
In most cases, both joints and soft tissues – i.e. muscles, tendons, ligaments, connective tissue, and fascia must be treated. A functional massage is an example of a method often prescribed to prepare the muscles for the next step in treatment which is typically to mobilize the affected joint(s) in the restricted direction. During mobilization, the structures consisting of collagen fibers are stretched and conditioned. Collagen is the form of protein that gives joints and tissues their strength and flexibility and is thus extremely important as it relates to restoring full athletic ability. The process of manually manipulating collagen fibers takes both patience and a calculated application of strength. The intensity of manual therapy treatment is largely dependent on the specific problems identified during the initial diagnostic and our continual observations throughout the recovery process.
Following a manual mobilization session by one of our physical therapists, a patient will also be prescribed an at home training program consisting of repetitive movements, stretches, and stabilization exercises.
Manual therapy is one of many components of our comprehensive rehabilitation approach. The long-term success of treatment is heavily dependent on the use of active movement exercises and functional movement sequences to restabilize the injured joint or muscle group.
This form of therapy is suitable for reversible disorders of the musculoskeletal system, which can occur at every joint of the body including the spine or extremities and can be extremely painful.