Manual Therapy: the healing hands of physiotherapists
Managing the pain and mitigating the physical ailment is the primary role of a Physiotherapist. Among various treatment methods of Physiotherapy, manual therapy plays a major role in rehabilitation.
So, let’s get to know all about manual therapy!
What is Manual Therapy?
Earliest use of manipulative therapy dates back to 400BCE. Hippocrate, the father of medicine, also used manipulative therapy to treat few conditions like scoliosis.
Irvin Korr, J. S. Denslow and colleagues formed basic building blocks of manual therapy.
Manual therapy, or manipulative therapy, is a physical treatment primarily used by physical therapists, physiotherapists to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability; it mostly includes kneading and manipulation of muscles, joint mobilization and joint manipulation. (1)
Who does Manual Therapy?
Many physiotherapists use manual therapy as one of the treatment methods to have successful results. Along with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, athletic trainers, massage therapists and physicians also use manual therapy quite frequently.
Experts like Cyriax, Kaltenborn, Robin Meckenzie, Geoff Maitland and Brian Mulligan have made a great contribution in the field of manual therapy.
How to use Manual Therapy?
It involves using manually directed force used by placing hands in different positions. Sometimes mechanical devices or belts are used to increase the applied force. It includes moving the joint in specific direction with certain force, passive movement, moving the part against the resistance, breaking adhesions in muscle and stretching the muscle. Massage is a type of manual therapy that promotes use of certain liquids, powders or oils to have maximum effect.
When to use Manual Therapy?
There are various orthopaedic, neurological and cardiovascular conditions where manual therapy shows great effect. Right from treating COPD to treating headache, manual therapy works very efficiently. It can be used for:
- Clinical Examination and Diagnosis
- To increase joint range of motion
- To reduce muscle restriction and tightness.
- Neural Tissue Mobilisation
- Modulate pain
- Reduce local inflammation
- Increase stability
- Improve Functional level of patients.
Evidence has proved that along with exercise therapy, electrotherapy and ergonomic & posture correction, Manual therapy shows wonders with patients. Repositioning or realignment of faulty structure prevents recurrence of the same injury. Also patients get immediate pain relief with manual therapy.
What are the techniques of manual therapy?
- Joint manipulation: Passive, low amplitude, high velocity thrust applied to the joint within an anatomical limit. Greater precautionary measures are needed.
- Joint mobilisation: A passive movement with varying amplitude and speed that may include various permutation and combinations ranging from high to low.
- Trigger point release.
- Manual Traction
- Lymph drainage techniques.
- Stretch applied to muscle, fascia, neural tissue.
- Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, like IASTM
- Manual Therapy with MMO ( Magneto- Mechanical Oscillator)
What are the types of manual therapy?
Myofascial release : Use to reduce muscular pain, adhesion and tightness
Muscle energy technique: It uses energy of a particular muscle against therapist applied resistance in a particular direction with certain force for specific duration of time.
Medical acupuncture/ Dry Needling : It has use of thin needles which are inserted in the body at various depths.
Acupressure: A Chinese technique. It basically works on meridians (invisible channels in our body that carry energy). In this technique by the means of needles or some other form, the self healing mechanism of the body is turned on by sending certain signals.
Along with all above methods there are various methods like zero balancing, postural integration, myotherapy, nephratherapy, bone setting and many more which show very great results.
So, by using manual therapy technique, your therapist is showing the magic of his/her hands which will work wonders on your body. Just a slight push by a therapist can take you a long way ahead in your life.