What is manual therapy?

A wide variety of treatments fall under the manual therapy umbrella, but the most common thread is that they all involve direct contact from the therapist, with or without using a supplemental tool. These techniques can be divided into three categories: myofascial tissue, neural tissue and joint. During myofascial tissue work, the therapist applies pressure to specific myofascial tissue areas, such as muscle and cartilage, to relax tight muscles, improve muscle and neural tissue mobility and flexibility, increase circulation, improve joint mobility and break up scar tissue. When a therapist performs joint techniques, they use measured movements to push, pull or twist joints to loosen, release pressure and improve flexibility and alignment.

What are the benefits?

Virtually all patients can benefit from having some type of manual therapy treatment integrated into their care plan. Manual therapy is most effective when delivered as part of a comprehensive care plan involving prescribed exercise, including a home exercise program. From carpal tunnel syndrome to low back pain, this type of treatment can effectively reduce pain and improve movement. Your physical therapist may use spinal manipulation, joint and myofascial tissue mobilizations, dry needling, cupping and other therapies in your care.

Related Services

Many physical therapy services are commonly used in combination. Learn more about our related services.