What is manual therapy?

Manual therapy is a hands-on approach that is widely used in physiotherapy practice. It is incorporated in the assessment, treatment, and overall management of numerous conditions. In the context of physiotherapy, it can range from manipulation, mobilization, and soft tissue release of the affected structures. Manual therapy is used alongside other treatments, such as exercise prescription and therapeutic modalities.

Manual Therapy Techniques:

  • Manipulation: Application of a controlled, sudden force to a joint to enhance its range and ease of movement

  • Mobilization: Movement of a joint through its range of motion to improve mobility, reduce stiffness, and/or prepare the patient for exercise therapy

  • Soft Tissue Release: application of pressure to muscles, tendons, ligaments, and other soft tissues. Helps improve circulation, decrease muscle tension, and promote healing.

  • Stretching: Movement of limbs or body to increase flexibility and/or release muscle tension

How it Helps in Physiotherapy:

  • Pain Reduction: Releases muscle tension, improves circulation, and thereby reduces pain.

  • Improved Range of Motion: By targeting specific joints and soft tissues, joint mobility and flexibility are enhanced.

  • Enhanced Healing: Hands-on treatment can stimulate blood and lymph flow, thereby encouraging the body's natural healing processes.

  • Muscle Relaxation: Techniques like stretching and soft tissue release can help release muscle tension.

  • Preparation for Exercise: Before engaging in exercise or other aspects of physiotherapy treatment, manual therapy can prime the body by improving joint mobility and reducing stiffness.

In summary, manual therapy is a hands-on approach used by physiotherapists to improve movement, reduce pain, and enhance overall function. It can provide effective relief for a wide range of conditions, ultimately helping optimize quality of life.

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