After a decade of experience as a physical therapist, I reflect on the profession of physical therapy and how much this kind of expertise can improve quality of life. We are an extension of our referring physicians; our primary goals being to decrease our patient’s pain, train them to reach their functional goals, and improve their overall quality of life so they can best return to their jobs and/or activities of interest. Physical Therapists have 8+ years of advanced education and a wide variety of tools to help you reach these goals. One of those tools, that I have found to be especially effective with my patients, is a technique called Manual Therapy. Allow me to explain what manual therapy is and the benefits that it can have on a patient’s overall recovery…
What is Manual Therapy?
Manual therapy incorporates therapeutic touch to promote healing and relaxation of the surrounding tissues. It is a hands-on approach to improve musculoskeletal pain and joint/soft tissue restrictions. This pain is often relieved or aggravated by specific movements, motions, or with certain postures. Manual techniques require skilled hand movements and passive joint movements to improve range of motion, tissue mobility, swelling, inflammation, and restrictions that decrease a person’s ability to participate in their functional activities.
Physical Therapy and Manual Therapy
Manual therapy is a subset of physical therapy. There are several publications in the physical therapy realm that compare manual therapy techniques to exercise prescription. These publications show us that the combination of these interventions yield superior outcomes to either intervention used alone. Axes Physical Therapy is a patient-centered company that follows this current research and pairs manual therapy with exercise prescription to allow for the best outcomes possible for our patient. I have found that patients tend to lose their pre-conceived mindset that physical therapy is “pain and torture,” as they witness the benefits that occur by pairing these interventions. Let’s look at some of the positive benefits that people can have from manual therapy…
Benefits of Manual Therapy:
- Reduces pain
- Improves joint mobility/joint play
- Improve quantity of movement (i.e. range of motion)
- Improving quality of movement
- Decreases muscle tension/spasms
- Improves flexibility
- Improves dynamic balance·
- Neurophysiological effects: decreasing patient’s sensitivity and pain processing/perception
- Improves motor control and improves motor recruitment
- Improves therapeutic alliance with patient through therapeutic touch
- Improves overall function
If you sustain an injury, or just want to return to your normal level of ability/function, you can contact an Axes physical therapist directly for an evaluation – we will help you direct your care through your primary care physician. With now 14 Greater St. Louis area locations and an expert staff – we are here to help.