Manual Therapy: Healing Through Touch

Manual therapy Queens & Astoria, NY

Even though many patients come to their first physiotherapy session, thinking that
they will be given some exercises or tests, physiotherapy has many more modalities of treatments than exercises. Physiotherapists now use many different approaches to restore the functions of a human body. Rather than directly exercising the muscles affected, correcting the physical problems through alternative approaches has proven to provide effective results.

Manual therapy is one of those methods that do not involve exercises or application of cold packs on affected muscles. It is a special form of physical therapy that is delivered with the hands instead of a machine or some other device. During the procedures, physical therapists apply pressure on muscles decreasing the symptoms caused by muscle spasms, muscle tensions and joint dysfunctions. Moreover, manual therapy involves kneading and manipulating the muscles, which will relax the muscles, increase its circulation and reduce scarring. It is of course important that these manipulations are performed by a well trained physical therapist as it involves soft tissues which could easily get damaged if the therapy is not performed accurately.

Manual therapy does not only heal pain. But this could also increase joint mobility, improve joint stability, increase the level of physical fitness, increase the range of motion, reduce the soft tissue tension, improve the performance of certain muscle groups, eliminate joint inflammation and restoration of functions.

This manipulation of physical therapy uses five techniques such as;

  • Joint mobilization – often, muscle spasms occur as a response to restricted joints. It is necessary to mobilize these joints in order to improve their range of movements and this is performed using slow, painless movements of the joints that cannot be voluntarily performed by the patients themselves.
  • Soft tissue mobilization or myofascial release – Even though the muscle tension is usually reduced when the joints are mobilized, the muscular spasm will often remain. The physical therapist will use many techniques to reduce the pain associated with the muscle spasm. During this manipulation the tissue fluids will be moved, tension will be reduced and scar tissues will be broken through repetitive pressures and stretching.
  • Strain counter-strain – Repetitive changing of the normal position to the position in which the pain is felt the minimum. This will help in restoring the normal tension.
  • Muscle energy technique – This technique addresses the lengthening of the shortened muscles and mobilization of the restricted joints. This is the only active technique which involves patients’ voluntary involvement of the muscle contractions against a counterforce.
  • High velocity, low amplitude thrusting – This is a more aggressive form of manual therapy and involves moving the joints about 1/8 inch than the normal range of movement.

Even though manual therapy sounds like hurting, actually, it is not necessary that each technique should hurt. There might be a discomfort in the presence of restricted joints and tensed muscles.

Anyhow, before your therapist suggests the course of manual therapy, he will thoroughly inspect you in order to determine the range of your joint motion, soft tissue damages and muscular strength as well as the general condition of the patient. Manual therapy could be a better option than the physical therapy exercises or sometimes it can be combined with the other types of physical therapy treatments in order get fast and effective results.