Manual Therapy

When many patients, friends, and family hear the term “manual therapy,” they all have the same question. What exactly is it? who does it? what is it useful for? Or, why isn’t everyone doing it? 

Manual therapy is often defined in different ways depending on the area of ​​the health care professional, such as an osteopath (DO), chiropractor, or physical therapist.

Uses of manual therapy

Manual therapy is a type of physical therapy that uses skilled, hands-on techniques, such as manipulation and mobilization to:

  • Alleviate pain

  • Diagnose and treat soft tissue and joints.

  • Improve range of motion

  • Reduce myofascial restrictions to increase muscle length

  • Help ease swelling or inflammation

  • Aid in muscle or soft tissue repair, extensibility, and stability

  • Improve function by facilitating movement.

 

Manual therapy is a broad umbrella that encompasses a variety of hands-on techniques.

 

 Here’s a few manual therapy methods:

Soft tissue techniques

Massage

  • Manual lymph drainage

  • Soft tissue mobilization

  • Functional Joint mobilization

  • Scar mobilization

  • Myofascial release

  • Strain counterstrain

  • Craniosacral therapy

  • Active Release Technique (ART)

  • Feldenkrais

  • Graston

Joint techniques

  • Joint mobilization

  • Joint manipulation/thrust

  • Muscle energy techniques

  • Mulligan techniques

  • Traction

 

Since some of these techniques are less well-known or common than others, most of us have had some form of manual therapy at some point in our lives. Getting a massage is one of the most self-rewarding treats that most people can enjoy. 

And who hasn't given someone a chair massage to alleviate stress and headaches? When faced with a stressful situation, humans will frequently unknowingly rub their skin or fidget in some other way to self-soothe. You can confirm this with a body language expert.

Why is the sense of touch so soothing?

 

We know that massaging a premature baby improves their health, just like rubbing your baby's back to relieve teething pain, gas pain, injury, etc. If a toddler stumbles or falls, they get up immediately to find their mother to get all the important hugs and kisses. 

 

Touch has numerous benefits, including soothing an overactive nervous system, improving sleep patterns, boosting the immune system, and more. We know that using manual therapy in a physiotherapy setting does not hurt scarring, eliminates soft tissue restrictions, and improves joint mobility. 


A physical therapist can help relieve joint pain to relieve pain, perform techniques to reduce swelling, control lymphedema, and even joint pain during the most common orthopedic treatments to stretch a joint to improve its movement.

What type of injuries or problems is manual therapy helpful? 

 

Here's a list of problems or injuries fixed by manual therapy:
 

  • Neck Pain: Pathology of the discs, muscle spasms, rib hypomobility, and post-surgical neck pain 

  • Shoulder Pain: impingement syndrome, scapular dyskinesia, frozen shoulder/adhesive capsulitis, post-surgical shoulder

  • Low Back Pain: Pathology of the discs, facet joint impingement/hypomobility, spinal stenosis, and post-surgical back pain

  • Headaches: tension headaches, migraines

  • Hip Pain: myofascial hip pain in the buttock or lateral hip, hip bursitis, hip impingement, and post-surgical hip replacements

  • Knee Pain: IT band tendonitis, patellofemoral dysfunction, post-surgical knees including total knee replacements

  • Ankle Pain: post-surgical ankle pain, chronic ankle pain, ankle sprains, ankle arthritis 

  • Fibromyalgia

  • TMJ Dysfunction

  • Thoracic spine/Mid-back Pain
     

Does every physical therapist do manual therapy techniques?

It can be said that almost all physical therapists perform some form of manual therapy. However, it takes a lot of practice, active learning, and skill to master the most intricate manual therapy techniques. To evaluate soft tissue and joint problems with your hands alone, without the aid of imaging, you must have a special ability to feel these differences in tissue consistency. It is a combination of motor and sensory skills that requires time and patience to master and is a talent and not all practitioners can or intend to develop.

 

This is one of the reasons why we advise patients who have not had success with physiotherapy in the past to try Radiation Physiotherapy Clinic. Here we do things a little differently, combining the best of manual therapy with the functional strength and stability that are important not only to reduce pain but also to restore healthy and effective body movement. Our physical therapists are qualified and knowledgeable in this approach to physical therapy, and every patient receives the best possible care from the people they treat. Experience the difference a direct approach to physiotherapy can make at the Radiant Physiotherapy Clinic!

Manual Therapy Calgary
Manual Therapy Calgary NW

Call and schedule an appointment with a member of our experienced physiotherapy staff today and see what they can do for you!