What is Manual Therapy and who needs manual therapy?
Manual therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy in which therapists use their hands and other tools to apply varying amounts of pressure, stretching, or mobilization to joints, muscles and tissues to treat musculoskeletal pain and disability.
Almost everyone can benefit from manual therapy, from office workers and dancers and sports professionals all the way to construction workers and teachers and mostly medical health providers who experiences muscle pain and stiffness, mobility restrictions, and other forms of pain associated with feelings of heaviness, lethargy, headache and tightness.
Do I need to see a doctor before having Manual therapy?
It is always best to seek a doctor’s advice especially in cases that needs medical attention like heart related disorders, presence of tumors, pregnancy, and blood related problem. However, if you are dealing with problem that purely involves muscle soreness and feelings of heaviness, anxiety, and discomfort that are not associated with dizziness, vomiting, fever, inability to move and weight loss then you are a good candidate for manual therapy.
Manual therapy is done by skilled and well-trained physiotherapist who will conduct a thorough evaluation and assessment. If condition is beyond the scope of a physiotherapist, patient will then be referred to a doctor.
Benefits of Manual Therapy?
- Reduces stress
- Reduces muscle soreness
- Improves your flexibility
- Boosts your immunity
- Improves your circulation to help you relax
- Boosts your mood
- Warms up your muscles before exercise
- Helps you get to know your body — and its limits
- Makes exercise feel easier
- Alleviates morning stiffness
- May help you sleep better
- Alleviates strain from typing and texting
- Can be a pain reliever
How often should I have manual therapy and how long essentially for the session
It varies from person to person. If you want to address a specific condition, you may be required to come frequently at first and then tapers down to maintenance phase. The therapist will determine how often and for how long whenever he/she have a hands-on understanding of your condition and till your goals are met. A 20-minute initial session can suffice for a localized problem.
What is the difference between manual therapy and massage?
Massage is another form of technique used in manual therapy, the only difference between them is that manual therapy is a combination of different manual techniques not limited to massage or deep tissue work which is applied specifically to a particular area of discomfort more targeted to re-establishing a body’s structure and integrity as a whole.
What is the difference between Manual therapy and Chiropractic?
Manual therapy is a general term used in providing therapeutic manual techniques that involves manipulation, mobilization, massage, which is often used as a combination by different health practitioners to address a specific problem of a patient. Chiropractic on the other hand is another form of manual therapy that focuses on the relationship between body’s structure- mainly the spine and it’s functions- which primarily involves manipulation or adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body with the goal of correcting body alignment problems, improve functioning of the body and etc.
Are there any tools used in Manual therapy?
Yes, there are tools developed to accentuate the effect of manual therapy which can also be used independently as part of a home exercise program.
- Trigger Point machine –utilizes the high velocity-vibratory deep pressure application that breaks up tissue adhesion
- Rock Blade- IASTM (instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization)
- Foam and Grid rollers
- Lacrosse ball
- Deep tissue massage/Sports Massage
- Wooden trigger point equipment
Is it enough to cure my pain? Should I do exercise?
Certainly not, regular and corrective exercise plus healthy diet is still highly recommended.
Warm bath or Cold bath after doing manual therapy?
A warm shower bath is soothing over a cold bath as it further relaxes the body and improves blood circulation. Hot shower may predispose feeling of dizziness especially for patients with low blood pressure. Localized cold application however is suitable in the presence of swelling and fatigue after manual therapy. Cold bath causes vascular restrictions that may be predisposed to reflex muscle tightness.