What does it mean to be a Manual Therapist?
My name is Amanda Lee and I’m a Physiotherapist at Integra Health Centre. There were many reasons for choosing to work here but at the top of the list was the value this clinic placed on manual therapy. My colleagues and I strongly believe that the right manual therapy techniques combined with an individualized exercise program can effectively treat most injuries as well as help reduce acute and chronic pain.
Depending on your past experiences or knowledge of Physiotherapy you may already have an idea of what manual therapy is. The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists defines manual therapy techniques as: “Skilled hand movements intended to produce any or all of the following effects: improve tissue extensibility; increase range of motion of the joint complex; mobilize or manipulate soft tissues and joints; induce relaxation; change muscle function; modulate pain; and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation or movement restriction.” Although this universal definition exists not all practitioners incorporate enough manual therapy into their practice. Here at Integra Health Centre we value the importance of manual therapy and the positive impact that it has on each of our clients. Each practitioner has their own unique approach to manual therapy, but we all share the same goal. Below are some of the common manual therapy techniques that may be used during your visit:
Manual Traction: The therapist uses manual force with their hands or a belt on the joints and muscles to create space between the joints. This can help relieve pain from stenosis, disc bulge/herniations, degeneration, pinched nerves and other joint issues involving hips or ankles.
Soft Tissue Release/Active Release Techniques: These techniques involve the therapist applying precise pressure during a specific stretch performed in multiple planes of movement. The benefits include increased range of motion, correction of muscle imbalances, reorganization of scar tissue and decreased pain.
Muscle Energy Techniques: A manual stretching technique in which the patient contracts a specific muscle against a counter force by the therapist in order to improve flexibility and range of motion in joints.
Passive Range of Motion/Active-Assisted Range of Motion: If movements are too painful for you to move due to joint or muscle issues the therapist can perform the movement for you or assist you through it. This will help to preserve flexibility and joint mobility.
Joint Mobilizations: The therapist uses manual force to move the joint in a specific direction at a different speed and amplitude depending on the goal. This can help to improve range of motion or decrease pain at certain joints.
Manipulations: The therapist applies a specifically directed thrust to a joint at the end of its available range of motion. This can help to take pressure off sensitive nerves or tissue, increase range of motion, restore blood flow, reducing muscle tension, and release endorphins.
If any of the above techniques sound like they could have a positive impact on your current condition and for any other professional medical attention, book an appointment at Integra today.
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