Manual therapy is exactly what it sounds like. It is where we use our hands and body to mobilize, manipulate, stabilize or even strengthen the parts of your body that are components of the complaint you came to see us for. Manual therapy encompasses a variety of techniques including soft tissue mobilization of muscles, specific joint mobilization, joint manipulation and counter-forces that either free up or create self-sustaining localized support. Manual therapy is typically part of a complete treatment plan that is customized for your specific needs. Simple manual therapy techniques may be effective enough in isolation for your particular case; however, for most dysfunction, simple techniques are considered ineffective in isolation, yet collectively are tools to create ‘cocktails’ of approaches to address your problems.
Notable forms of manual therapy
- Manipulation is the application of a rapid force into a joint(s). Manipulation is often associated with an audible popping sound called cavitation.
- Mobilization is a slower, more controlled process of articular and soft-tissue stretching intended to improve joint mobility.
- Massage is typically the repetitive rubbing, stripping or kneading of muscle and fascia tissues to facilitate healing.
- Nerve mobilization, aka nerve gliding of flossing, is a way of easing neural tension in different parts of the body. The technique is sometimes required to mobilize entangled or hypersensitive peripheral and central nerves and may be applied manually or through exercise.
Manual therapy has been proven to be an important part of an overall conservative treatment plan for a variety of conditions including:
- Adhesive capsulitis
- Shoulder impingement
- Shoulder stiffness/limited range of motion
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
- Pinched nerves
- Limited joint range of motion
- Capsule tightness
- Postsurgical stiffness
- Much more.