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.”
The art and
science of using
Three notable forms of manual therapy
- 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 is a slower, more controlled process of articular and soft-tissue (myofascial) stretching intended to improve bio-mechanical elasticity.
- 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.
Manual Therapy works best when used in conjunction with physical exercise and activity. Exercises will be prescribed by your physiotherapist to carry out in between the treatment sessions.