Manual physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy delivered with the hands as opposed to a device or machine. Our physical therapists are specialized in manual therapy, which means they use their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue and manipulate joints in an attempt to decrease back pain caused by muscle spasm, muscle tension, and joint dysfunction.
While all physical therapists have the option to use manual therapy in their practices, many don’t spend the time or the resources to become efficient in this area of practice. At Smart Body Physical Therapy, we understand the importance of the use of the manual therapy technique and use is as our patients needs require. Many conditions that practitioners treat with manual therapy are not demonstrated with imaging or lab tests but rather by using motion testing and treatment.
Manual therapy treatment may include moving joints in specific directions and at different speeds to regain movement (joint mobilization and manipulation), muscle stretching, passive movements of the affected body part, or having the patient move the body part against the therapist’s resistance to improve muscle activation and timing. Selected specific soft tissue techniques may also be used to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT).
Manual therapy is an extremely valuable technique in physical therapy treatment able to be utilized for optimal recovery from various pain including but not limited to back, neck, pelvic, rotator cuff injuries, ACL or meniscus tears, pain related to multiple sclerosis, auto accidents and more. Here are a few more diagnosis manual therapy can help with:
- Neck Pain: disc pathology, muscle spasm, rib hypomobility, post-surgical neck pain
- Low Back Pain: disc pathology, facet joint impingement/hypomobility, spinal stenosis, post-surgical back pain
- Thoracic spine/Mid-back Pain
- Headaches: tension headaches, migraines
- TMJ Dysfunction
- Hip Pain: hip impingement, myofascial hip pain in the buttock or lateral hip, hip bursitis, post-surgical hip replacements
- Knee Pain: patellofemoral dysfunction, IT band 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