The human body is a delicate and sophisticated network of complex systems. Muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons and nerves all work together to move the body in a variety of ways. Serious injuries or illnesses can impact a person’s ability to move and cause significant pain with discomfort. Among the wide range of physical therapy techniques available, manual therapy shows great potential during rehabilitation. This brief guide explains how manual therapy can help, plus other options that can complement its techniques.
Identifying the Source of the Problem
Before medical providers can create rehabilitative treatment plans for their clients, they must understand the root cause of each person’s problem. Some result from acute injuries, while other problems may develop over time. Pain and limited range of motion are common issues. Meanwhile, chronic pain can complicate the healing process and make it more difficult for patients to participate in rehab. Some conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, require unique treatment solutions. Fortunately, many people find relief when working with a North Carolina manual physical therapy provider.
Most forms of physical therapy are already hands-on. But with manual physical therapy, therapists directly work with a client’s body using their own hands. This method is useful for improving muscle flexibility, increasing joints’ range of motion, reducing pain or relaxing entire muscle groups.
Manual therapy is particularly helpful during the earliest stages of treatment. Usually, this is shortly after the injury has occurred and while the patient is experiencing greater pain and a more limited range of motion. Manual PT can include several techniques:
- Joint manipulation, involving fast sudden movements carefully executed to extend joints beyond their range of motion and increase mobility
- Joint mobilization, with slow repetitive movement to increase range of motion
- Soft tissue massage, often involving muscles or connective tissue to treat pain, help relaxation or improve mobility
- Friction massage, which breaks up scar tissue and can reduce pain
- Passive stretching, which lengthens and extended muscles to promote flexibility
Manual PT With Aquatic Therapy
Some treatment plans may pair manual physical therapy with aquatic therapy. This is helpful because of water’s distinctive properties. Its buoyancy temporarily cuts down on gravity’s effects. When you’re in the water, the reduced gravity can also mean less pain plus improved mobility.
Aquatic therapy typically uses warm soothing water. The therapeutic environment is somewhat spa-like, with relaxation promoting good outcomes during treatment. Many manual PT techniques can be done while in the water. Your North Carolina aquatic therapy provider can tell you more about how manual and aquatic therapies work well together.
Selecting a Therapy Provider
When considering treatment for injuries or chronic pain, it’s important to choose a trusted provider. While your insurance coverage may play a role in your selection, you do have choices. Research, patient reviews and talking to your physician can help you better understand what to expect when working with a North Carolina physical therapy provider. Whatever route your recovery takes, a solid partnership with your therapist is key to achieving the best possible outcomes.