What is Manual Therapy?

What is Manual Therapy?

Key Points:

  • Manual therapy is hands-on physical treatment from a trained professional 
  • Treatment and rehabilitation are personally tailored to your injury or condition 
  • Manual therapy is designed to treat pain at the source, not just the symptoms 

Between all the forms of treatment for aches and pains, it may not always be clear what your options are. For musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions or injuries, treatments can range from medication to physical therapy, or a more hands-on option, such as manual therapy.

But how do you know which one is right for you? Let’s take a closer look to learn more about what manual therapy is, its benefits, the differences between manual therapy and other forms of conservative care, and how Airrosti utilizes manual therapy.

What is Manual Therapy?

The primary goal of manual therapy is to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and promote overall physical well-being. Through individualized treatment plans, practitioners use a variety of techniques, including joint mobilization, soft tissue manipulation, and muscle energy techniques to address specific musculoskeletal issues and promote recovery. This method offers a holistic approach by considering the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of a person’s health.

The benefits of manual therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • Improved flexibility and range of motion
  • Possible shortened recovery time
  • Reduced muscular tension, imbalances, and inflammation

Manual therapy is often used to correct issues that stem from poor posture or overuse, such as Upper Cross Syndrome, tennis elbow, and low back pain among many other common muscle and joint injuries.  

One major benefit of manual therapy is that it is a non-invasive treatment option. At times, treatments for muscle and joint conditions or injuries may involve injections or possibly even surgery. However, invasive options may pose risks depending on your condition or age.

Man receiving range of motion test

How is Manual Therapy Performed?

Before treatment can begin, best practices and clinical guidelines for MSK care recommend a full assessment of a patient’s medical history, as well as screening for potential serious pathology. A diagnosis and treatment plan is provided after a thorough examination of your condition or injury to find the source of your pain.

Once treatment begins, providers use their hands to apply pressure to various muscles, joints, and trigger points primarily to relieve pain and release tension, as well as improve range of motion. This can also involve using myofascial release to break up tension in soft tissues, such as muscles and fascia. 

To help joints, providers may perform joint mobilization by applying pressure to help reduce pain and improve flexibility. Manual therapy is best performed when combined with an active rehabilitation program that promotes exercising and stretching to help strengthen weakened areas or tight muscles.

Man receiving manual therapy treatment from a healthcare provider

Manual Therapy vs. Chiropractic vs. Massage Therapy

Manual therapy, chiropractic care, and massage therapy are three distinct yet closely related approaches that focus on improving musculoskeletal conditions or injuries and overall health. Manual therapy involves a range of hands-on techniques targeting joints, soft tissues, and muscles to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and promote healing.

Chiropractic care, delivered by chiropractors, centers on spinal adjustments and manipulations to address misalignments that may affect the nervous system and overall body function. On the other hand, massage therapy, offered by trained massage therapists, utilizes various strokes and pressures to release muscle tension, enhance circulation, and induce relaxation. Each modality has its unique benefits and can be chosen based on individual preferences, conditions, and treatment goals.

Woman getting injury education

Airrosti & Manual Therapy: A Match Made in Heaven

At Airrosti, our Providers are trained and licensed chiropractors or physical therapists, who adhere to current clinical guidelines when treating patients. For all patients, our Providers perform comprehensive exams of medical history, as well as various tests to determine the range of motion and any muscle or joint imbalances or weakness. In addition, Providers will also educate you on the causes and severity of your injury or pain, as well as options for treatment or any other concern.

Once examined, your Provider will diagnose your condition or pain, working to treat it directly at the source. On top of receiving hands-on manual therapy from one of our Providers, an individualized treatment plan will be created for you consisting of exercises and stretches to help strengthen weakened areas and alleviate your pain.

Airrosti treats numerous conditions or injuries, from general hip, knee, or back pain to more specific injuries such as plantar fasciitis or IT band syndrome. If you are suffering from pain or an injury, schedule an appointment with Airrosti and get your body back on track!

For more information, call us at (800) 404-6050.

Read our Medical Disclaimer here.

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