Can Manual Therapy Really Help?
Manual therapies are extremely beneficial when dealing with chronic pain, inflammation, and stiffening in the joints that are caused by degenerative bone conditions and old injuries. A physical therapist can identify potential problems and provide exercises and activities that will eliminate the inflammation and allow your joints to move more freely.
Every day you experience subtle challenges. Joints can begin to “freeze” or lock up. It becomes increasingly more difficult to rise from a seated or prone position without feeling some degree of pain or physical discomfort. Pain and discomfort can occur almost anywhere in the body, your joints aren’t the only areas affected by chronic illness or injuries.
Are There Different Types of Manual Therapy?
Physical therapy can include many different types of manual therapy. Manual therapy includes several different hands-on techniques that offer a range of benefits that offer proven results that will not put your body under excessive amounts of stress.
Soft Tissue Massage – Soft tissue massage is manual manipulation of the soft tissues of the body. This primarily offers benefits to the muscles by improving circulation and preventing the muscle tissues from becoming stiff or tight. During recovery, the injured area of the body is immobilized, preventing the muscles in the area from moving or receiving the amount of blood, nutrients, and oxygen to remain healthy and vibrant. During a soft tissue massage, the physical therapist will manually knead the muscle tissues allowing blood to re-circulate through the tissues and softening any tightness that may have settled in them.
Joint Manipulation and Mobilization – An immobile or restricted joint often occurs after you have injured it through twisting, pulling, or wrenching it unnaturally. Inflammation that occurs immediately after the injury can lead to scar tissue that prohibits movement and dramatically decreases your range of motion. With exercises designed for each joint, the therapist can effectively release the restrictions and restore movement to the joint. The extent of the original injury will determine whether or not the full range of motion can be achieved.
Neuromuscular Techniques – Muscles can occasionally cramp without warning. This can be a result of higher than normal levels of lactic acid or holding the limb in a specific position for an extended period of time. These events can lead the nerves in the muscles to respond abnormally, causing chronic pain. One of the most effective treatment options for this type of condition is known as “strain/counterstrain”. It involves moving the muscles in the opposite direction and movement. The additional tension that is created helps to reset the muscle’s reflex and improve how the nerves respond to specific stimuli.
Who Provides Manual Therapy Services?
Physical therapists who offer a wide range of physical therapy services will also provide manual therapy as an effective treatment option. Manual therapy is included in the majority of pain management and injury recovery programs because it allows the muscles to remain pliable even when you are unable to move them effectively on your own. If you are experiencing chronic pain or are in the process of recovery, make an appointment with us to ensure that manual therapy is an effective solution that can be included in your treatment plan.