Manual therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy used for treating an array of musculoskeletal conditions. Itis a combination of several techniques based on skilled hand movements as well as skilled passive movements of soft tissue and joints, which have a number of therapeutic effects. From increasing the range of motion, reducing muscle tension, and modulating pain, to improving tissue extensibility, promoting flexibility, and relaxing the muscles, manual therapy can be used effectively for it all!
Unlike many other techniques used in physical therapy, manual therapy is delivered with the hands as opposed to using a machine or a device for the purpose. Manual therapists make use of many differentmuscle and joint mobilization/manipulation techniques to provide comfort and improve overall fitness. Practitioners exert pressure on muscle tissue to manipulate the joints, relieving muscle tension, spasms, and dysfunctions.
Here’re some of the techniques we use in our manual therapy sessions at ProMove PT Pain Specialists:
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Soft tissue mobilization helps free up less mobile tissue (also known as myofascial adhesions) to ease muscle tension, improve range of motion, improve joint mobility, and decrease pain. This can beespecially effective for treating scar tissue formation caused by injuries,and moving tissue fluids accumulating in one area.
The procedure can be done to soft tissues surrounding the spine, in the extremities, or to muscles surrounding the jaw. Through pressure and rhythmic stretching, the musculature is mobilized and the normal texture of the tissue is restored, which can have a positive impact on a patient’s overall function and quality of life.
Joint mobilization and manipulationhelps improve the patient’s range of motion byloosening the tight and restricted joints and muscles. In this method, slow or high velocity movement isprovided to the affected joint to facilitate their motion. The therapist moves the bones underneath in a painless yet extremely effective way to pave the way for increased joint mobility.
Muscle Energy Techniques
In order to lengthen shortened muscles and mobilize restricted joints, therapists may also make use of muscle energy techniques (METs). Here, a controlled counterforce is applied in a specific direction to invoke a voluntary muscle contraction. This is then repeated a few times for enhanced results.
Unlike the joint mobilization techniques, METs are part of an active procedure where the patient is actively involved in stretching their muscles on their own without the therapist doing most of the work. These are generally well-tolerated by patients and don’t cause overstressing of joints.
This technique is used to counter the postural and structural problems caused by abnormal neuromuscular reflexes.An asymptomatic strainis induced by the therapist through mild stretching. This allows the patient to pinpoint when and in what position do they feel the tenderness and pain diminishing.
The body then resets and restores its normal level of muscle tension. This movement kicks off the internal healing process, countering the muscle strain caused and providing comfort.
At ProMove PT Pain Specialists in Bethesda, Dr. Michelle Finnegan provides effective manual therapyusing her years of experience and expertise in physical therapy. Book an appointment now!