What Is Manual Therapy? (Part 1 of 3 Posts)

What Is Manual Therapy? (Part 1 of 3 Posts)

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What Is Manual Therapy? (Part 1 of 3 posts)

When people think of Physical Therapy, they often think about being prescribed exercises for stretching or strengthening to assist them in their recovery from an injury or ailment. Your physical therapist, however, can also use hands-on treatments that will augment your exercise program in order to expedite the rehabilitation process.

What is manual therapy? Does manual therapy really work? How does manual therapy work? In my next series of blogs, I will attempt to answers those questions.

  • The term “manual therapy” refers to hands-on treatments of muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.
  • Human touch is an essential ingredient in the treatment philosophy and approach.
  • Manual therapy encompasses a broad group of sophisticated techniques which include joint mobilizations, joint manipulations, and soft-tissue mobilizations performed by the hands of a physical therapist.
  • Manual therapy techniques aim to decrease pain, improve range of motion, and increase function.
  • Patients respond positively to hands-on, manual therapy treatments especially when combined with appropriate exercise and education.

I believe that manual therapy can be considered much more than just any hands-on treatment provided by a physical therapist. Physical therapists can use hands-on examination techniques along with specific questions to determine the need for manual therapy and the types of treatment most appropriate to assist in rehabilitation process. Once the need for and types of treatment are identified, the physical therapist will administer those techniques and then will most likely re-examine the person to determine the effectiveness of the treatment provided.

In that regard, manual therapy can then be considered not simply the application of hands-on techniques for the treatment of painful problems but a systematic clinical reasoning model of care. Physical therapists can use impairment based manual therapy treatments along with patient education, and appropriate exercise in order to promote a faster and more complete recovery as well as to be able to more effectively treat complex patient presentations.

I hope that helps you better understand manual therapy. If you are having pain and/or limited function, please call OSI Physical Therapy to make an appointment.

Steve Schneider, PT, MS, PT, CMPT.




Steve Schneider

Steve Schneider

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