What is manual therapy?
Manual therapy is the foundation upon which minimizing pain and enhancing movement is built. These techniques reduce muscle guarding and restore impaired range of motion associated with injury or movement dysfunction.
Our expertise lies in one-on-one care, including soft tissue and joint mobilization techniques for the spine and extremities. These hands-on manual techniques restore joint and soft tissue biomechanics needed for progression toward exercise and daily activities.
"Hands-on" techniques and evaluations are performed during practically every patient visit in a manual therapy clinic to reassess, progress and determine why the pain or dysfunction is still present. The patient is then treated with hands-on techniques, followed by prescriptive exercises that support what the practitioner is trying to achieve through the skilled hands-on movements and techniques.
Some of the common manual therapy techniques we use are:
- Soft Tissue Mobilization (STM) - Often muscle tension will interfere or inhibit normal joint motion and function. STM breaks myofascial "adhesions" that may be caused by scare tissue, swelling, edema or spasms. Each layer of tissue is evaluated from the skin down to the muscle and areas of greatest resistance are released through various movements and pressures.
- Strain-Counterstrain - A technique that corrects abnormal neuromuscular reflexes, often referred to as tender points, and many people call them "trigger points". This technique is gentle enough to be used with patients that have acute, hot low back pain to treat with other techniques.
- Joint Mobilizations - Often muscle spasms are secondary to a restricted joint. Joint mobilizations loosen up restricted joints and increase their range of motion by providing slow and repetitive movements to improve joint range of motion.
- Muscle Energy Techniques (MET) - This technique is widely known to the osteopathic community. However, most DOs do not have the time to treat their patients with such techniques. If your primary physician is a DO, let him know this is one of the primary treatment techniques used in our facility by our manual therapists. MET is designed to mobilize restricted joints and lengthen shortened muscles. This is an active procedure with patient involvement where the patient is asked to perform specific resisted movements and muscle contractions with guidance provided by their therapist.
- Spinal Manipulation Technique (SMT) - The goal of this procedure is to restore the gliding motion of joints, enabling them to open and close effectively. It is more aggressive than a joint mobilization or METs and involves a single thrust type of movement into the restriction barrier of the joint. Increased range of motion along with increased muscle tone is normally seen after SMT. If you are currently seeing a chiropractor, we work synergistically with them and we will provide you with prescriptive exercises to aid you in the recovery processes and promote healing as a team!
- Prescriptive Exercises - Prescriptive exercises are prescribed to the patient to complement the desired goal of the manual therapy technique applied. These are not to be confused with generalized therapeutic exercises. These exercises are very specific, down to the joint level, and have a specific purpose and goal related to your manual therapy treatment.
- Therapeutic Exercises - Maintaining long-term pain relief and optimal function is the goal. Therefore, once the root cause of your dysfunction is treated through manual therapy, we design a therapeutic exercise program that promotes full recovery and wellness. Often referred to as "core stability programs, back programs or functional exercise programs," these exercises are the core of traditional physical therapy.