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What is Manual Therapy?

Manual Therapy is any “hands-on” treatment provided by the Physiotherapist. Treatment may include moving joints in specific directions and at different speeds to regain movement (joint mobilization and manipulation), muscle stretching, passive movements of the affected body part, or having the patient move the body part against the therapist’s resistance to improve muscle activation and timing. Selected specific soft tissue techniques may also be used to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles.

manipulationManual Therapy at Head2Toe

Manual therapy is the cornerstone of Physiotherapy treatment at Head2Toe. Head2Toe physiotherapists pride themselves on their excellent hands-on treatment skills, as a means to help your body restore its correct movement patterns and to assist in the recovery of function and the resolution of pain.

When is it appropriate?

When someone suffers from a neuromusculoskeletal disorder, an exercise and movement re-education program may be sufficient to restore full pain free movement, function, and return to full activity. However, in some cases, soft-tissue and joint restrictions are present, resulting in these same interventions being painful or, worse, aggravating to the condition. In these instances, a Physiotherapist can provide hands-on techniques to improve mobility, reduce pain, and restore normal function of the soft tissues and joints.

Manual Therapy Techniques:

Manipulation – High-velocity thrust movements which ‘click’ or ‘pop’ a stiff joint

  • The ‘pop’ sound is not ‘bones cracking’ as many people think. The sound comes from the creation of a gas bubble in a joint which suddenly is stretched. When the bubble has been created once, the joint is immediately more mobile and the joint lining (Synovium) is stimulated to produce more synovial fluid, which is the lubricant found inside all joints.

Mobilisation

  • Accessory Glides: Small amplitude, varying intensity pressures are applied to bony structures in in the spine in order to progressively stretch the joint capsule over an elongated period. Mobilisation takes longer than manipulation, but is generally more comfortable and allows your therapist to target specific joints. Mobilisation is also used before and after manipulation.
  • Range of Motion Mobilisation: Movement of a body part in the desired direction that is lacking, including contract & relax techniques, passive stretching and varying amplitude and intensity (Graded) mobilisation.

Distraction & Traction – Stretching of the joint in a linear direction to effectively ‘pull apart’ the joint surfaces and stretch the capsular ligament structures. These techniquies are often combined with Range Of Motion Mobilisation, or active patient activities guided by your physiotherapist.

Compressions & Glides – Impaction or lateral joint stretches performed by your physiotherapist whilst you perform actions as directed.