Do you suffer from pain? What if there were therapies that could not only ease aches and pains, but could increase the range of motion in your joints, reduce inflammation and reduce restriction in painful areas? Fortunately, there are and the key to finding this type of manual therapy can be found in your physical therapist’s office.
What is Manual Therapy?
Manual therapy is any form of hands-on treatment that is designed to help a part of the body function better. Injury, disease, swelling, or surgery often leaves joints and soft tissue inflamed and painful with limited flexibility and mobility. The types of manual therapy each patient receives is different and depends on pain levels, the area that is affected, whether they have had surgery, and their ability to move. Your physical therapist will evaluate your movement, pain levels and surgeon’s recommendations (if applicable) to decide the best course of therapy to pursue. The manual therapy portion of your rehabilitation experience may include some of the below.
When you are in pain, your body’s natural defense mechanism is to immobilize the joint where the pain is located. While effective, immobilizing the joint often leads to more pain, less movement and a decreased overall function of the area. Joint mobilization techniques allow a physical therapist to restore movement to the restricted joint. Even if you cannot move the joint a certain way on your own, your physical therapist will use slow motion to help it along. Joint mobilization may be uncomfortable at first, but it is an important step in the manual therapy process.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
If there is too much tension in muscle, it can spasm. In this case, simple mobilization can release the spasm and help the joint. If the muscle has been injured or if it had to be cut for surgery, scar tissue and adhesions may form causing painful stiffness and joint immobilization. During soft tissue mobilization, any fibrous scar tissue is broken up by applying deep pressure and rhythmic stretching to the muscle. Once the adhesions are broken up, pain tends to diminish and patients notice better movement in their joints.
Muscle Energy Techniques
Muscle energy techniques are used to intentionally lengthen and shorten muscles in an effort to mobilize a restricted joint. Your physical therapist will work with you to contract the muscle in hold and then release the hold. This active process effectively engages the muscles making them stronger and longer, thus limiting a joint’s restriction.
While manual therapy is an effective and vital part of physical therapy, it is only a part of what happens in an office. When combined with targeted exercise, many patients discover that physical therapy addresses not only their pain but their function as well. Don’t wait, find out more about manual therapy and the role it can play in your recovery. Call today for your consultation. For more information Contact us at Nashua, NH.