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Manual Therapy

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is described as the “Application of an accurately determined and specifically directed manual force to the body, in order to improve mobility in areas that are restricted; in joints, in connective tissues or in skeletal muscles.”

How can manual therapy help me?

If you are experiencing increased pain and stiffening in any of your joints and muscles, manual therapy is often helpful. Patients seek out this type of physical therapy for a variety of mobility issues.

For example, you may be finding it difficult to get up from a sitting or lying position, as well as bending over, without back pain and stiffness. You may also find that your neck or shoulders “freeze” and give you pain when you pursue everyday actions such as reaching for items, or driving. In fact, debilitating pain and stiffness in muscles and joints can happen virtually anywhere on your body.

What kinds of manual therapy exist?

The three notable forms of manual therapy are: manipulation, mobilization and massage.

  • Manipulation
    Manipulation is the artful introduction of a rapid rotational, shear or distraction force into an articulation. Manipulation is often associated with an audible popping sound caused by the instantaneous breakdown of gas bubbles that form during joint cavitation.
  • Mobilization
    Mobilization is a slower, more controlled process of articular and soft-tissue (myofascial) stretching intended to improve bio-mechanical elasticity.
  • Massage
    Massage is typically the repetitive rubbing, stripping or kneading of myofascial tissues to principally improve interstitial fluid dynamics.

Manual therapy can be defined differently (according to the profession describing it) to state what is permitted within a practitioners scope of practice. Within the physical therapy profession, manual therapy is defined as a clinical approach utilizing specific hands-on techniques, including but not limited to manipulation/mobilization, used by the physical therapist to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joint structures for the purpose of modulating pain; increasing range of motion (ROM); reducing or eliminating soft tissue inflammation; inducing relaxation; improving contractile and non-contractile tissue repair, extensibility, and/or stability; facilitating movement; and improving function.

Soft tissue manipulation covers a range of treatments which aim to improve the mobility of stiff, immobile soft tissues and those with poor circulation due to inactivity or increased tension. It is also used to help mobilize scar tissue, thereby preventing long term recurrence of inflammation.

Physical therapists select, prescribe, and implement manual therapy techniques when the examination findings, diagnosis, and prognosis indicate use of these techniques to decrease edema, pain, spasm, or swelling; enhance health, wellness, and fitness; enhance or maintain physical performance; increase the ability to move; or prevent or remediate impairment in body functions and structures, activity limitations, or participation restrictions to improve physical function.  Free Consult at Bradenton, FL center or call us on (941) 752-0758.

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