Understanding The Benefits Of Manual Therapy Techniques

by Brent Woods

Technology has improved mechanical physical therapy modalities a lot. But despite all the machines that can help you, there's still no real substitute for manual therapy techniques. These techniques are always attended and involve targeted exercises and means of stimulation that require a physical therapist, not just a device.

Getting Hands On with Your Physical Therapy

Manual therapy techniques involve a literal hands-on approach to physical therapy.  There are various manual therapy techniques, but all of them exist to help restore your mobility. If you didn't know any better, you would call many of these techniques massage. That's because massage is actually one of the many manual therapy techniques.

This hands-on approach is one of the main ways that manual therapies differ from other kinds of physical therapies and modalities. Manual therapies require a trained and skilled physical therapist. The therapist needs to know techniques for:

  • Manually dealing with soft tissue
  • Various types of massage
  • Facilitating passive movement
  • Nerve manipulation
  • Applying deep, targeted pressure

Your physical therapist will start with a screening to determine how severely your pain or injury affects your movement. He or she will test your balance, strength, and range of motion. From there, the physical therapist will work on a plan of action for working on your soft tissue and restoring your mobility.

That plan may not consist entirely of manual therapies, but it should include some. If you end up with a physical therapy regimen that doesn't include manual therapies, you should ask why. These hands-on techniques are not just important, they're the key to your rehabilitation.

Why is Manual Therapy a Necessity?

Notice the previously mentioned skills that are required for manual therapies. They're all about pinpointing exactly where your pain comes from. This isn't something that's always possible with other methods of physical therapy.

The practiced hands of the physical therapist can find joints or clusters of nerves that requires attention. That helps you to reach your recovery goals faster and more efficiently. In addition, this ability to pinpoint and work on the pain or injury also helps the physical therapist to figure out where the overall rehabilitative efforts need to focus.

Seek Direct Interaction

Another dynamic that makes manual therapy ideal for many is the direct interaction. You're not left to your own devices. You're one-on-one with the physical therapist, actively participating in your own rehabilitation. That helps you give direction while allowing the therapist to make modifications to your treatment on the fly.

If you have an injury or condition that calls for physical therapy, make sure you seek a practice that offers manual therapies as a part of its routines. There are many physical therapy techniques, but manual therapies may represent the most important of them.

Reach out to a service like St. Luke's Rehabilitation to learn more.