Many patients come to their first PT appointment expecting to receive hot pack treatments, ultrasounds and instructions on how to complete a series of exercises. These are warranted in many instances and most of our therapists would agree that exercises/stretches are needed to help restore muscle imbalances. However, HealthQuest therapists approach the restoration of function from a different perspective! Physical Therapy is a great natural pain treatment! Our therapists are interested in why a muscle isn’t functioning properly and view exercise not as the driving mode of recovery but as a complement to our manual therapy.
What is Manual Therapy?
Manual therapy is an approach that uses hands-on techniques (as well as tools), to evaluate and treat soft tissues and joint injuries. At HealthQuest, we put a high value on manual therapy and as a patient, you will receive it every visit!
Why Manual Therapy?
Patients have better functional outcomes when their treatment includes a combination of procedures such as therapeutic exercise, neurological and functional training, and manual therapy, as compared to those receiving manual therapy techniques as their only form of treatment. Because manual therapy has so many benefits, we encourage our team to use a variety of types of manual therapy. Some of those include:
#1 Joint Mobilization / Manipulation
Passive movement of joints to stretch out tight joint capsules, using various grades, speeds, and amplitudes of pressure, to improve movement and range of motion
#2 Manual Traction
A form of decompression that relieves pressure on inflamed tissues. It can be performed manually or mechanically.
#3 Muscle Energy Techniques (MET)
Mobilizes joints and relaxes muscles using subtle muscle contractions to relax tissue and mobilize joints through the active participation of both the therapist and patient.
#4 Soft Tissue Mobilization
Hands-on techniques on your muscles, ligaments and fascia with the goal of breaking adhesions and optimizing your muscle function.
#5 Myofascial Trigger Point Release
Mostly consists of rubbing and pressing on trigger points or muscle “knots” to break up adhesions and cause relaxation of the muscles. Dry Needling is a popular form of this. (More information about Dry Needling)
#6 Deep Friction Massage
Specific connective tissue massage that maintains the mobility within the soft tissue structures of ligament, tendon, and muscle and prevents adherent scars from forming.
#7 Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization
Uses specific tools that help break adhesions and scarring brought on by surgeries, injuries, and overuse of muscles. Examples of this are Graston, HawkGrips, Adhesion Breakers.
#8 Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Gentle pressure technique used to move the fluids away from the damaged area.
Benefits of Manual Therapy
Manual therapy can help with many things, including:
- Eliminate pain
- Increase range of motion (ROM)
- Reduce or eliminate soft tissue and joint inflammation
- Induce muscle relaxation
- Increase circulation
- Break up scar tissue and adhesions
- Reduce swelling
- Improve tissue repair, extensibility and/or stability
- Facilitate movement
- Improve function
If you have questions regarding manual therapy or feel that one of the above procedures would be appropriate for you, speak with your physical therapist. If you’re not a current patient, schedule a Free Assessment at www.hqpt.com or call (855)477-8463.