What is Manual Therapy?
Specific skilled movements performed on the joints and soft tissue of your body by a therapist (an experienced orthopedic clinician) is called manual therapy. It is one of the components of physical therapy and includes massage, manipulation, stretching, mobilization, and other soft tissue techniques.
Preparation for a Manual Therapy Program
The therapist performs a physical examination of your joints and plans a program specific to your post-injury or surgery needs.
Types of Manual Therapy
Different types of manual therapy include:
Passive Range of Motion (PROM)
Passive motion is the movement of a joint through its range of motion without the active involvement of muscles. It measures your strength, flexibility, and balance. It is recommended after a joint-replacement surgery during the initial healing phase.
This technique is used to treat spinal conditions such as a slipped disc, pinched nerves, or bone spurs. This therapy relieves pressure on the spine and may reduce pain caused by nerve compression. Your therapist places you in traction and applies force to increase the space between the edges of bone or other structures within the body. This relieves pressure and decreases pain.
Massage is the skilled manipulation of soft tissue and muscles with the fingers and hands. It involves the application of pressure to relax the muscles and increase blood circulation. Oils and lotions may be used during a massage. Massage therapy is found to be beneficial to those suffering from joint arthritis, cancer pain, and as a rehabilitation measure after joint-replacement surgery. It is also known to help with depression and improve sleep.
Mobilization or Manipulation Therapy
This therapy involves specific techniques such as short, quick thrusts to stimulate soft tissue and induce joint movements (manipulation), or taking the joint through its full range of motion (mobilization). It is usually combined with physical exercises, acupuncture or herbal therapy. It can be used to treat spinal conditions or osteoarthritis.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
This is the process of removing unwanted fluid that has accumulated in specific regions of your body. Fluid accumulation can occur after certain medical conditions, surgery, or cancer therapy. Manual lymphatic drainage helps patients suffering from osteoarthritis, injuries to the joints, or post-knee or hip surgery.
Advantages of Manual Therapy
- Reduction of pain and enhance healing
- Decrease in swelling or inflammation
- Improvement of function
- Increased range of motion
- Improved overall fitness