Manual therapy is a technical term used to describe treatment using the hands that many physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists utilize and can be found in a variety of ways. Manual therapy can include spinal and joint manipulation and mobilization, massage, ART, Strain-Counter strain, muscle energy or PNF techniques, dry needling, acupuncture and IASTM to name a few. If you have ever been to a PT, Chiropractor, or Massage Therapist you have likely been introduced to one if not multiple techniques during your rehab.
Manual therapy has multiple effects on the human body. Hands-on treatment can affect up to three different areas of the human body. It can have psychological effects, musculoskeletal effects, and physiological effects.
- Psychological effects can have positive placebo response
- Musculoskeletal effects can include improved range of motion, flexibility, and mobility
- Physiological effects include decreasing pain, improving blood flow, and desensitization of nerve pain
Which hands-on treatment is the best? To be honest…I don’t know. Different techniques can have different results, and depending on who is providing the service, and at what point in the injury or pain cycle the method is being delivered can also have an effect on the desired outcome. There are pros and cons to every method and technique. Trust the opinion and education of your PT, Chiropractor, and Massage Therapist. Their experience, background, and education should help drive which technique is the best for whatever condition you may be dealing with or whatever goal you are trying to attain.
I’m going to end this post by using a quote I heard from Mike Scaduto, PT, CSCS at Champion PT in Boston. I think he summed it up the best by saying “the best manual therapy treatment is the one that the patient likes the best and delivers the desired outcome.” (Mic drop)
Come see us at Elite Health and Wellness if you are struggling with low back pain, neck pain, injuries resulting in sprains and strains of the upper and lower body, pre and post operative rehab, fibromyalgia, and headaches to name a few. We specialize in spinal and joint mobilization and manipulation, dry needling, acupuncture, ART, massage, and IASTM to treat a variety of conditions. We have licensed Chiropractors, Physical Therapy, and Massage Therapy on staff who can help get you back to where you want to be.
Matt Barth, DPT at Elite Health and Wellness