Manual Physical Therapy in St. Louis: A Hands-On Approach to Healing
Manual physical therapy in St. Louis. Physical therapy is a medical specialty that focuses on restoring movement and function to patients who have experienced injury or illness. At Axes, our St. Louis physical and occupational therapists get our patients back to the activities they love by using proven treatment methodologies. One such treatment method is manual therapy, in which your Axes physical therapist uses their hands and specialized instruments to safely and effectively relieve pain and restore motion to your joints and soft tissue. If you’re experiencing pain or mobility issues in St. Louis that are keeping you from living the life you want, contact Axes online or call the location nearest you to find meaningful relief.
What Is Manual Physical Therapy?
a specialized area of physiotherapy / physical therapy for the management of neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, based on clinical reasoning, using highly specific treatment approaches including manual techniques and therapeutic exercises.
Manual physical therapy has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. Also known as hands-on therapy, manual therapy is specialty within the realm of physical therapy. It’s a type of treatment that involves the therapist using their hands to manipulate, mobilize, and massage the patient’s muscles, joints, and soft tissues. This approach can be used to address a wide range of conditions and injuries, including chronic pain, joint stiffness, muscle spasms, and more. It can help to promote healing, reduce pain, and restore function.
The goal of manual physical therapy is to help patients achieve optimal health and function through non-invasive techniques that can be used alone or in combination with other forms of therapy, such as exercise and stretching. Studies show that a combination of manual physical therapy and other types of physical therapy, such as exercise prescription, is more effective than either therapy used on its own. At Axes, our St. Louis physical therapists only use treatment plans that are backed by evidence and have been proven to work.
What Injuries and Conditions Can Manual Physical Therapy Treat in St. Louis?
Manual physical therapy can be used to treat a wide range of conditions and injuries. Here are some examples:
- Back pain — Manual physical therapy can be effective in treating chronic low back pain, which up to 84% of U.S. adults deal with at some point in their lives.
- Neck pain — Manual physical therapy can also be used to treat neck pain, which can be caused by poor posture, stress, or injury.
- Sports injuries — St. Louis athletes who suffer from sports injuries such as sprains, strains, and ACL tears can recover from their injury quicker and get back to peak performance with the help of manual therapy.
- Arthritis — Manual physical therapy can be used to treat arthritis, a degenerative condition that stems from the breakdown of cartilage in joints. Manual Therapy can be used to reduce pain and stiffness in the joints, improve mobility, and slow the progression of the disease.
- Fibromyalgia — Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that causes pain throughout the body or at multiple sites.
- Headaches — Manual physical therapy can also be effective in treating headaches, including tension headaches and migraines.
These are just a few examples of the many conditions and injuries that manual physical therapy can help treat. If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, or limited mobility, consult with an Axes St. Louis physical therapist to discuss if manual physical therapy is right for you. After one of our free injury screenings, we’ll form a team with you and your doctor to get you back to the activities you love most – safely and effectively.
Manual Techniques Our St. Louis Physical Therapists Use
There are several different types of manual physical therapy techniques that a St. Louis therapist may use, including:
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Soft tissue mobilization involves applying pressure to the soft tissues of the body, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The goal of soft tissue mobilization is to alleviate pain, increase range of motion, and promote healing by manipulating the soft tissues. This can be done using various techniques such as massage, myofascial release, trigger point therapy, and instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization.
During soft tissue mobilization, the therapist applies pressure and stretches the soft tissues in a specific manner to break up adhesions and scar tissue, release trigger points, and improve circulation. Soft tissue mobilization is commonly used to treat conditions such as sports injuries, chronic pain, back and neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and plantar fasciitis. It is often combined with other treatments such as exercise and stretching to help patients achieve optimal results.
Joint mobilization is a gentle, passive technique in which the therapist applies slow and controlled movements to the joint within its natural range of motion. The goal of joint mobilization is to restore joint mobility and reduce pain by gently stretching the joint capsule and surrounding soft tissues. Joint mobilization is often used for patients who have limited range of motion or stiffness in a joint, and it is usually performed without causing any audible popping or cracking sounds.
Joint manipulation, on the other hand, is a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) technique that involves a sudden and controlled force applied to the joint. The goal of joint manipulation is to restore joint mobility and reduce pain by realigning the joint and breaking up any adhesions or restrictions. Joint manipulation often produces an audible popping or cracking sound, which is caused by the release of gas bubbles in the joint capsule.
Joint manipulation is typically used for patients who have acute joint pain, restricted joint mobility, or a joint that is out of alignment. It is important to note that joint manipulation should only be performed by a physical therapist or other qualified healthcare professional, as it can be associated with certain risks, such as injury or exacerbation of an existing condition.
Myofascial release is a manual therapy technique that is used to treat myofascial pain and dysfunction. Fascia is a thin, tough, and elastic connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, bones, and organs throughout the body. Myofascial release works by applying sustained pressure and stretching to the fascia and underlying muscle tissue to release tension and restore normal movement. Myofascial release is often used to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.
During a myofascial release session, the therapist applies gentle, sustained pressure to specific areas of the body where there is tension or restriction in the fascia. The pressure is applied slowly and gradually, allowing the fascia to lengthen and release. The therapist may also use stretching and other techniques to enhance the effects of the myofascial release.
Trigger Point Therapy
Trigger point therapy is a technique that involves applying pressure to specific points within a muscle or fascia that are tender or painful. The goal of trigger point therapy is to release tension and reduce pain in the affected area. It’s often used by St. Louis physical therapists to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, headaches, neck and back pain, fibromyalgia, and sports injuries.
During a trigger point therapy session, the therapist uses their hands or a specialized tool to apply direct pressure to the trigger point. The pressure is applied gradually and sustained for several seconds or longer, allowing the trigger point to release. The therapist may also use stretching and other techniques to enhance the effects of the trigger point therapy. In some cases, your physical therapist may recommend trigger point dry needling.
Benefits of Manual Physical Therapy in St. Louis
There are many benefits to manual physical therapy, including:
- Reduced pain — Manual physical therapy can help to relieve pain and discomfort caused by injuries and chronic conditions. By reducing pain, patients can experience an improved quality of life and get back to activities they enjoy.
- Increased mobility and flexibility — By restoring movement and function to the body, manual physical therapy can help patients to move more easily and perform daily activities more effectively. Improved mobility can also reduce the risk of falls and other injuries.
- Improved circulation — Some manual therapy techniques, such as soft tissue mobilization, can help improve circulation by increasing blood flow to the affected area.
- Increased range of motion — Manual physical therapy can help to improve flexibility and range of motion in the joints, allowing patients to move more freely. This can be particularly helpful for athletes and others who rely on their bodies to perform at a high level.
- Faster recovery — Manual physical therapy can help to promote healing and reduce inflammation, which can speed up the recovery process. This can be particularly beneficial for patients recovering from surgery or other medical procedures.
- Improved posture — Manual therapy can help improve posture by releasing tension in the muscles and fascia that support the spine and other joints.
- Reduced stress and anxiety — Manual therapy can be a relaxing and soothing experience, as it releases endorphins, the body’s own, homegrown feel-good hormone.
- Better quality of life — By reducing pain and improving mobility, manual physical therapy can help patients to enjoy a better quality of life overall. Patients may experience less stress, better sleep, and improved mental health as a result of finally being able to get back to the activities they love.
Manual Physical Therapy in St. Louis | Axes Physical Therapy
Manual physical therapy is a powerful and effective approach to treating a wide range of conditions and injuries in St. Louis. By using their hands to manipulate and mobilize the soft tissues and joints of the body, physical therapists can help patients achieve optimal health and function without the need for invasive procedures or medications. At Axes, we provide positive client experiences by helping St. Louis residents get back to the activities they love with proven treatment modalities. To learn more about what Axes can do for you, contact us online or reach out to the location nearest you.