What is manual physiotherapy?
Manual therapy is a very general way to say we are using our hands to provide treatment. In a traditional sense, manual therapy means joint mobilizations and manipulations (see below) but in reality it means just about any form of hands-on soft tissue manipulation. There are SO MANY manual therapy techniques, too many to name. This article will hopefully provide you with a general idea of what it is.
Joint mobilization and joint manipulations
Basically, we are using our hands to move your joints in a specific way. Think of joint mobilization as “wiggling” your joint around in a particular direction, speed and amplitude. Joint manipulation is a small, high-velocity (very fast) movement of the joint, at the very end of the joint’s available movement. Joint manipulations usually create an audible popping sound!
We use mobilizations and manipulations to restore movement and reduce pain and ultimately get you back to your daily activities. When combined with therapeutic exercise, joint mobilizations/manipulations have a much better effect.
Joint mobilizations/manipulations can:
- Relieve pain produced by both the joint and the surrounding soft tissues
- Improve mobility of the joint (like a frozen shoulder) by targeting the connective tissues
Muscle Release Techniques
Muscle release techniques (MRT) is another broad category of techniques we use to treat reduced muscle tone and relieve pain. We use different combinations of these techniques all of the time! Here are a couple of examples:
- Active and passive muscle release techniques: We’re holding down your muscle and releasing it through stretch and movement combined.
- Muscle energy techniques: We get you to contract and relax your muscles while we manipulate them in various ways. One example is getting you to push against us, and then relax while we move you into the opposite direction. With this method, every time you relax after pushing against us, we’re able to bring you a little bit farther.
Why would I want manual therapy?
Manual therapy is a very fast way to relieve pain (body pain, chronic back pain, chronic injury pain, muscle pain, neck pain, joint pain, shoulder pain, etc.) and improve range of motion with the end goal of getting you back to your daily activities. Manual therapy has also been shown to increase blood flow in the human body which accelerates injury recovery. At our clinic, we also use manual therapy as a diagnostic tool to help us understand your problem and provide you with the best possible specialized treatment plans.
Who can perform manual therapy?
All of our clinicians technically perform a wide variety of manual therapy treatments. Our massage therapists, acupuncturist and registered physiotherapists all provide a variety of services including therapeutic massage, deep tissue massage and myofascial release.
At Maximum Potential Physiotherapy we also offer direct billing to many insurance companies. Contact us today to get on the road to recovery and start achieving your health goals.