Typically, patients when they come to a physical therapy appointment expect to receive instructions on how to perform a series of exercises. And we agree that performing exercises is necessary in most cases. However, many physical therapists are interested in knowing why the muscle is not working properly and consider exercise not as the primary form of recovery but as an adjunct to manual therapy.
As its name suggests, manual therapy is performed with the hands, osteopaths apply pressure on the muscle tissue and manipulate the joints, thus mitigating pain, increasing the range of motion and repairing the muscles or soft tissues and decreasing inflammation.
- Improve tissue extensibility
- Increase range of motion
- Mobilize or manipulate soft tissues and joints
- Induce relaxation
- Change muscle function
- Modulate pain and reduce soft tissue swelling and inflammation.
Manual therapy encompasses many specific manual techniques, some are more common and known than others, most of us have received some type of manual therapy in our lives for a sports injury such as:
- Movement of joints in specific directions and at different speeds to regain motion
- Muscle stretching
- Passive movements of the affected body part
- Having the patient move the body part against the resistance of the physical therapist to improve muscle activation and timing
- Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization
- High velocity, low amplitude joint manipulation with the intention of restoring optimal motion and function and reducing pain
- Neck pain: disc pathology, muscle spasm, rib hypomobility, post-surgical neck pain
- Low back pain: disc pathology, joint impingement, post-surgical back pain
- Pain in the spine from mid back onwards.
- Headaches: headaches and migraines
- TMJ dysfunction
- Hip pain: hip impingement, hip pain in the buttock or lateral hip, post-surgical hip replacements
- Knee pain: patellofemoral dysfunction, tendonitis, post-surgical knees including total knee replacements
- Ankle pain: ankle sprains, chronic ankle pain, ankle arthritis, post-surgical ankle pain
- Shoulder pain: impingement syndrome, scapular dyskinesia, frozen shoulder/adhesive capsulitis, post-surgical shoulder
Why don’t all physical therapists use manual therapy techniques?
It could be said that almost all physical therapists use manual therapy techniques at some point in their treatments. But why not use it whenever possible in a rehabilitation process? It takes a lot of practice and skill to handle complex manual therapies such as neurological or respiratory physiotherapy to diagnose soft tissue problems and find the differences in consistency, so not all professionals manage to achieve this.
At Physiotherapy in Ibiza we do things differently and help patients who have not had good results with manual therapy in the past. Our physiotherapists combine the best of manual therapy not only to reduce pain, but also to educate the body with healthy and efficient movement patterns. Each of our physical therapists is an expert in manual therapy and each patient receives the best care from us, including this technique in pediatric physical therapy as well.