WHAT IS MANUAL THERAPY?
Physical Therapists often implement manual therapy techniques when the examination findings indicate, to improve tissue extensibility, increase range of motion, induce muscle relaxation, mobilize or manipulate soft tissues and joints, modulate pain; and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction. Most commonly, manual therapy techniques involve soft tissue mobilization (STM) and/or joint mobilizations, but can also involve various other skilled “hands-on” techniques.
DEFINING SOFT TISSUE
Soft tissue is everything under your skin except for your bones and organs; this includes muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, nerve connections, proprioceptors, arteries, veins, capillaries, and fat. The soft tissue acts as an intricate network of pulleys that holds the body together and creates human movement.
Functional soft tissue structures:
Disruptive soft tissue structures:
• Myofascial trigger points
• Scar tissue
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Soft tissue mobilization is used to break down scar tissue and fibrotic adhesions that are typically associated with trauma to the soft tissue(s).
Joint mobilizations are skilled passive movements of various grades of the articular surfaces to decrease pain or increase joint mobility. Active-assisted mobilizations with movement can also be performed where a passive joint mobilization is performed in conjunction with active weight bearing movement to the restricted joint.
Range of Motion
Range of motion in manual therapy can be improved via active assistive or passive techniques, to help improve end range mobility, motor coordination through a joint’s movement, or reduce resistance to a limb.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is a stretching technique utilized to improve muscle elasticity via stretching and contracting of the muscle group being targeted, and has been shown to have a positive effect on active and passive range of motion.
TYPES OF MANUAL THERAPY
It’s all about skilled hands-on techniques to get you moving more optimally! So why doesn’t every Physical Therapist do manual therapy techniques? It takes a lot of time, hands-on learning, and skill to become adept at performing the most complex manual therapy techniques. To be able to assess the problems with soft tissues and joints with our hands alone, without the assistance of imaging, takes a special ability to feel these differences in tissue consistency. This is a motor and sensory skill that takes time and patience to master, that perhaps not every practitioner can or chooses to pursue.
This is one of the reasons why we tell patients to give TrueMotion Physical Therapy a try! We do things a bit different here, combining the best of hands-on, manual therapy techniques with functional strength and stability critical for not only reducing pain, but restoring your body to healthy and efficient movement patterns. Our Physical Therapists are skilled and knowledgeable in this approach to Physical Therapy, and every patient receives best in class care by people who really care. Experience the difference that a hands-on approach to physical therapy can make at TrueMotion!