What Is Manual Therapy?

What Is Manual Therapy?

July 21, 2017

When most people think of treatment for a sports injury or other musculoskeletal issue, they think of physical rehabilitation. Re-learning how to use different muscles and strengthening different ligaments are important after a major injury. But this isn’t the only form of physiotherapeutic treatment out there. In some situations, an approach like manual therapy can also affect healing and positive recovery.

If, after a sports injury, you visit a Brampton physiotherapist, you’ll likely experience a degree of manual therapy for yourself. It can take many forms, but the most familiar involves kneading and manipulating an affected area. The concept at work is to reestablish range of motion, increase blood flow to the area and mobilize the joints to prevent scar tissue buildup. The reason it’s called “manual therapy” is because it’s a hands-on approach to rehabilitation.

Benefits of manual therapy

Manual therapy’s hands-on approach to facilitating rehabilitation after an injury has some of the advantages of traditional rehab. Instead of relying strictly on exercises and strengthen to rebuild physiological standards, manual therapy offers the following benefits:

  • Sports massage and muscle stimulation increase blood flow to an area, bringing about quicker healing and more natural recovery.
  • Forced manipulation pushes the body to reclaim range of motion and familiarizes the body with natural limits to redefine these boundaries.
  • Kneading of muscles and joints relieves the strain on soft tissue to prevent scarring and stiffness that can impede rehabilitation.
  • Mobilization helps to provide longer-term rehabilitation results by continuing to push the body back towards its natural limits and boundaries.

Often, manual therapy is used in conjunction with other therapies, as a catalyst for affecting positive change. A Brampton physiotherapist will integrate different manual therapy modalities into treatment programs to supplement rehabilitation in any feasible way.

Manual therapy’s forms

Typically, manual therapy is administered based on the nature of the injury and the path towards rehabilitation. For example, a broken ankle may need joint manipulation to regain its natural range of motion, while a shoulder injury may instead require myofascial release, massage therapy and general physiotherapeutic movements.

Understanding the injury is just as important as administering treatment for it, which is why manual therapy is often a supplement to traditional physiological rehabilitation. Physiotherapy seeks to treat the injury as a whole, while manual therapy acts as the modality for administering care.

Restoring the body’s mobility

Any sports injury, no matter its nature, is bound to impact the mobility of the body. Whether it’s a broken bone, torn muscle or damage to nerves, it’s critical to remember that the musculoskeletal system is so named because the two are entwined. It’s only through a holistic approach that truly effective rehabilitation can occur. This is why physiotherapy and manual therapy work so well in tandem.

If you’ve suffered from a recent sports injury or have limitations in what you’re able to do after an injury, it’s important not to waste time in visiting a Brampton physiotherapist. Waiting only makes it more difficult to rehabilitate and re-train the body to resume its natural range of motion and abilities.

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