Physical therapy involves a collection of techniques aimed at helping you recover after an injury or surgery, and one subset of the program is called manual therapy. With manual therapy, the therapist physically manipulates specific areas of your body to help improve a number of functional aspects. Below, we take a closer look at some manual therapy techniques, and we explain why it can be helpful if you are dealing with certain conditions.
Manual Therapy Techniques
Manual therapy can be performed using a few different styles, but it often involves some sort of physical manipulation of the tissue, like by massaging, kneading, rotating or compressing. It is considered a passive treatment technique, so for best results, it should be paired with more active physical therapy solutions that work to develop muscle and joint strength.
Here’s a look at a few different manual therapy techniques we perform regularly at our clinic:
- Soft Tissue Mobilization – Manipulation of muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues.
- Joint Mobilization – Movement techniques aimed at key joints in hopes of improving their function.
- IASTM – IASTM stands for “Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization,” and it functions just like standard soft tissue mobilization, but it is performed using certain therapeutic equipment.
- Suction-Cup Assisted Mobilization – Suction cupping draws blood to certain areas to help improve soft tissue mobility.
- Taping and Banding – Neurofascial banding and medical taping helps to improve proprioception (your body’s ability to recognize its position in space), which can help with physical function.
All of these techniques help in their own right, but some of the benefits they provide to an area include:
- Improved blood flow
- Improved proprioception
- Improved range of motion and flexibility
- Improved tissue extensibility
- Faster healing
- Decreased muscle spasms
- Reduced pain and inflammation
Manual therapy can be a great technique to help you overcome your injury or while you’re working through rehabilitation after surgery, but you’ll want it to be performed by a skilled physical therapist. Not only will they be able to determine which manual therapy techniques would be right for your specific situation, but they’ll be able to help provide the manipulation in the correct manner to achieve the desired results without risking additional injury. So if you are wondering if manual therapy techniques would be right for your pain or physical restrictions, reach out to the experienced team at OrthoRehab Specialists today.