Manual therapy is the direct manipulation of joints and muscles. It can involve stretching, massage and pressure. Many patients benefit from these techniques and often find their recovery happens sooner and with more success. If your doctor mentions manual therapy or it comes up for discussion in your plan when you seek rehabilitation in Brampton, you may need assistance understanding what it involves. Here are brief descriptions of five types of manual therapy:
- Strain-counterstrain: Pain is often limited to tenderpoints. These spots are sensitive to touch and movement. Good results often arise from the strain-counterstrain technique. Patients report feeling the most pain in these areas. Therapists treat them by asking the patient to get comfortable. After holding that position for 90 seconds, they slowly stretch to the point where discomfort starts. This approach slowly increases range of motion and decreases the pain response. We also work surrounding muscles so the patient gains full flexibility and is less vulnerable to injury.
- Joint mobilization: Pulled muscles are often treated with nothing more than opioids, rest, ice and massage. This helps control pain, but it does not address the underlying causes of the pulled muscles. Many times, the cause is joint restriction, and joint mobilization helps restore range of motion and reduce the chances of pulled muscles. This works by applying slow velocity and increasing amplitude (distance of movement) to the range of the joint. While this often sounds intense and frightening, the process is painless and patients feel better when treatment concludes.
- Muscle energy: This is another way to restore range of motion to restricted joints. Rather than directly manipulate the joint, as with joint mobilization, this works the muscles surrounding it. Therapists move the muscles in three- to five-second contractions, and when the joint finds a new barrier, the therapist starts a new contraction. These exercises repeat two or three times. Muscle energy is an active procedure that requires patient involvement, rather than a passive procedure like joint mobilization.
- Soft tissue mobilization: When spasms remain after other treatments, soft tissue mobilization is often the next step. Muscle spasms restrict range of motion and cause pain, which limits potential and leaves patients vulnerable to future injury. Soft tissue mobilization addresses connective tissue to break up scar tissue. This is common after spinal injuries. The stretching and deep pressure involve assessing limitations on a layer-by-layer basis and customizing the approach to the patient’s limitations.
- Myofascial release: Another technique that focuses on connective tissue, this safe, hands-on treatment also reduces restrictions. The approach works by adding pressure to restricted myofascial tissues to reduce pain and restore range of motion. It helps viscoelastic medium to elongate, which increases flexibility, reduces the chances of re-injury and controls pain. This works best for patients who sustained a traumatic injury or require post-surgery rehabilitation.
Paramount Physiotherapy & Sports Injuries Clinic is recognized as a leader in manual therapy and rehabilitation in Brampton. Call today if you need assistance feeling better after an injury or surgery.