Manual therapy is one of the simplest and effective ways of treating a variety of common health problems. As a very specific, hands-on approach to physical therapy, manual therapy treatments are designed to restore more natural movement to your body without causing harm to the muscles or joints.
Manual therapy focuses on relaxing tight, painful muscle tissues and resolving the sources of your pain through therapeutic techniques. By improving overall muscle function and encouraging relaxation, manual therapy can drastically reduce pain and inflammation in targeted areas of the body. This approach to physical therapy is delivered exclusively with the hands, unlike other types of therapy that require machines or external devices. Manual therapy is a safe, highly effective treatment that can successfully treat a variety of painful conditions, including:
- Chronic back pain and spasms
- Muscle tension in the neck and shoulders
- Problems with joint mobility and stiffness
- Headaches and migraines
At Total Motion Physical Therapy, we provide both soft tissue massage and manual manipulation to help relieve tight muscles and increase circulation in the areas that surround them. By encouraging healthy blood flow and relieving inflammation, we can help ease even the toughest areas of pain.
What to Expect with Manual Therapy:
Before your manual therapy session begins, we will perform an assessment of your current health as well as evaluate the current condition of your bones and muscles to ensure you are in good enough shape to undergo treatment.
The most common techniques used in manual therapy include the following:
- STM Treatment: During your session, one of our physical therapists will typically start out with soft tissue mobilization,also known as STM. STM helps break up those tough areas of muscle tension where scar tissue and other tissues have built up and caused restricted movement or pain. Using specialized massage therapy techniques that include applying deep pressure and a gentle stretching technique, we can help reduce pain and restore proper range of motion.
- Joint Mobilization: This is typically the next step in a manual therapy session, and it’s important for reducing pain in the long term. With joint mobilization, our physical therapists perform gentle movements that increase your range of motion slowly without causing any harm to the joints. These technique are often followed by Muscle Energy Techniques (MET), which help lengthen muscles that have been shortened over time and those that don’t move as well. Over time, these combined actions result in increased motion, less pain and improvement of overall symptoms.
- Strain/Counterstrain: This is a helpful technique that aids in correcting issues commonly associated with bad posture and other sources of back pain. Through mild stretching that includes intervals of rest, we can help relieve acute back problems and other types of pain safely and comfortably.
In order to get the most benefit from manual therapy, your physical therapist may recommend additional exercises and stretches that should be performed while you are in treatment and for a period of time after treatment has ended. By helping relieve your pain now and showing you how to maintain your new pain-free lifestyle through healthy exercise, manual therapy can be a highly effective treatment for many patients.
Let Total Motion Physical Therapy help get rid of back pain, reduce inflammation and help correct chronic muscle and joint issues. Contact us today to schedule an consultation.