Is Manual Therapy Effective?
Manual therapy has been shown to be effective in modulating pain, increasing joint range of motion, improving soft tissue extensibility, reducing swelling, and encouraging relaxation.
Manual Therapy Techniques
Manual therapy can be defined as the use of skilled, hands-on technique to diagnose and treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. These manual techniques include:
Soft Tissue Mobilisation
Therapists make use of various massage techniques to stimulate the soft tissue structures in your body to reduce pain, increase circulation and promote healing.
The fascia is a band of connective tissue that encloses and aids in stabilising the muscles in your body. When you move, the muscles and joints produce mechanical strain on the fascia. Therapists make use of myofascial release techniques to relieve tension within the fascia, allowing for greater range of motion around joints and reducing musculoskeletal pain.Learn More
Joint Mobilisation and Articulation
Therapists use joint mobilisation and articulation techniques to improve and restore range of motion, decrease pain and swelling, and to induce muscle relaxation.
Muscle Energy Technique (MET)
A technique that uses your body’s own muscular energy to encourage lengthening of the muscle. Your therapist will get you to exert an isometric contraction against his or her force for about 5 seconds. Upon relaxation, a stretch will be performed by the therapist to allow for greater lengthening of the target muscle.
High Velocity, Low Amplitude (HVLA) Thrust Technique
The therapist executes a quick, controlled force that travels a short distance within a joint’s anatomical range of motion. This usually results in an audible “pop” or a crack which is a release of gas from within the joint. HVLA is performed to restore normal range of motion in a joint, to reduce pain, and to relax surrounding muscles.
Manual therapy is a form of specialised hands-on treatment that physical therapists may choose to use as part of their management of the patient. On top of manual therapy, physical therapists may also use other treatment modalities, such as therapy, shockwave therapy, dry needling, taping, and exercise prescription.
Manual manipulation therapy has been shown to reduce pain for many individuals, but the mechanism is currently not fully understood. It is hypothesized that a mechanical stimulus provided by the practitioner creates a chain reaction of neurophysiological changes within the patient that modulates the amount of pain that they are experiencing.