Manual Therapy

Are you suffering from pain as a result of injury, illness, or surgical procedure? If so, it is likely that you would benefit from physical therapy. If you are apprehensive, let us ease your mind a bit:

We receive many first-time physical therapy patients who come in thinking their treatments will be painful, uncomfortable, or even agonizing due to the condition they are in. However, that is not the case at all! Our physical therapists have several tools in their arsenal that are meant to relieve your pain, while simultaneously improving your body’s function. Are you looking to ease some discomfort and heal at the same time? If so, contact RX Physical Therapy today to set up a consultation!

How does manual therapy work?

Manual therapy is just one tool in a physical therapist’s kit that allows them to manipulate joints and soft tissue with nothing more than their hands. This specialized form of treatment helps in reducing swelling, decreasing restriction, mobilizing joints, and increasing your range of motion. In order to achieve this, our physical therapist will manipulate different parts of your body through massage and stretching.

Are there different types of manual physical therapy?

Physical therapy techniques may include, but are not limited to:

  • Manual traction

When our physical therapists perform manual traction, they will apply gentle force to a certain area of the body, in order to stretch it out. The most common area that manual traction is performed on is the neck. To treat neck pain with manual traction, our physical therapists will have you lie down on your back, and then they will gently take the base of your skull in one hand and your chin in the other, thus lightly stretching the spaces between your vertebrae. This is typically done for 5-10 seconds at a time. While the neck is the most common area for manual traction, it can also be performed on other parts of the body, including the arms, legs, and back.

  • Massage

Physical therapy massage treatments are a little different than those you might see at a spa. These are meant to be more therapeutic in nature, rather than relaxing. Our physical therapists use massage treatments as a way to manipulate the soft tissues, working to break up scar tissue and adhesions caused by inflammation or injury. This is done through deep pressure and rhythmic stretching, allowing them to find and mobilize areas of your body that are heavily restricted.

  • Mobilization/manipulation

When you experience severe pain after sustaining an injury, it is usually the result of a restricted joint. Our physical therapists are trained in loosening restricted joints by applying pressure at a low velocity. Mobilization and manipulation techniques are safe, effective, and painless, allowing for an increase in your range of motion, and the breakdown of the joint’s barrier.

  • Lymphatic drainage

A major concern for those who undergo surgical procedures is the possibility of lymphedema. Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling in the arms and legs, due to a blockage in the lymphatic system. Our physical therapists can perform manual lymphatic drainage by applying light pressure (similar to a massage) on the affected arm or leg, in order to encourage the drainage of fluid, also known as lymph. Lymphatic drainage is typically followed by compression, in order to reduce swelling.

How safe is manual therapy?

Manual therapy is very safe! One of the greatest aspects of manual therapy is that it is non-invasive. It also doesn’t require any harmful medications. Instead, our physical therapists use a variety of techniques that help move your tendons, ligaments, and joints in ways that relieve pain and promote healing. They also help in reducing scar tissue and minimizing swelling.

Our physical therapists are highly trained medical professionals who understand the limitations of your body, as well as its capabilities. In fact, many patients notice improvement after just one session of manual therapy!

How will manual therapy fit into my treatment plan?

Our physical therapists are highly trained in diagnosing and treating movement disorders. These disorders often occur following surgery, especially if a patient has undergone total joint replacement. However, many physicians will also prescribe physical therapy treatments for injuries, accidents, or illnesses – essentially, anything that makes you feel weak and unable to function at your normal physical levels.

Your treatment plan will likely include several different therapies, all aimed at helping a specific function of your body. Some exercises may focus on improving your balance and strength, while others may focus on increasing your range of motion. Manual therapy is a crucial part of a treatment plan, as it helps to reduce pain and swelling, minimize inflammation, and increase range of motion. If you are interested in gaining the many benefits of manual therapy, contact RX Physical Therapy today at Stevensville, St Joseph and Benton Harbor, MI center! Our dedicated physical therapists will be happy to meet with you get you moving once again.