Manual physical therapy is a specialty within physical therapy based upon using a more hands-on method of addressing muscle, tendon, soft tissue and joint problems. Many of the things a manual therapist senses or measures with her hands are not visible through imaging. Why do we need manual therapy? Many types of chronic spine and joint pain are due to joints that lack normal motion, or have become rigid or fixed in an abnormal position. This can cause chronic inflammation in the soft tissues and thus chronic pain. By restoring mobility, manual therapy can bring rapid pain relief for non-resolving conditions like foot pain, post-fracture and casting soreness, chronic neck or spine pain, sacroiliac joint pain, ligament strains and spine muscle strains. Techniques
Soft tissue mobilization
Our muscles, tendons and soft tissues are in dynamic tension (tensegrity), which means they want the right tensile and compressive forces around the mechanical joints. When we adopt habitually off-centered postures, which may be part of a desk or physical labor job, we slowly create “tissue creep” changes in which new states of tone, stiffness or tissue density compromise our ability to stay in balance with gravity. A manual therapist detects these areas of tissue restriction through manual testing tools. Once identified, these restrictions can be mobilized with a wide variety of techniques.
Often the reason a muscle spasm or pain is not alleviated with ice and rest is that the muscle is trying to protect the joint by remaining tense. This attempt by the body to protect an injured region creates restriction and a pain reflex response. Joint mobilization involves loosening up the restricted joint and increasing its range of motion through gentle oscillating motions. Joint surfaces which should freely glide and slide against each other are slowly loosened up, restoring normal movement. This is called “direct releasing technique”, and helps a joint move in a way that cannot be brought about through self-correction. It should be a very comfortable and painless procedure. Preventative care home program, post manual therapy-
Once a manual therapist has identified and mobilized soft tissues and joints in an area of dysfunction, development of an exercise program is critical for stabilizing and protecting the affected area. We design an exercise program specifically tailored to each situation, with the goal of preventing inherent weaknesses from returning.
Holistic Physical Therapy: Integrating Physical Therapy , Chiropractic and Myofascial Massage Techniques Gale McIntosh PT, DC 650.563.4076 (Se Habla Español) 300 Main St. Suite 5, HMB, Ca. 94019