A Hands-On Approach: Effectively Treating Pain With Manual Therapy
Have you recently sustained an injury? Are you recovering from a surgical procedure? Is your illness or ailment causing you aches and pains? If so, you would likely benefit from manual therapy treatments.
When some first-time patients participate in physical therapy, they may think their treatments will be painful or uncomfortable, due to their painful condition. However, that is very rarely the case. Our physical therapists have several tools in their arsenal that are meant to relieve your pain, while simultaneously improving your body’s function. To learn more about how our manual therapy services can help you achieve relief and recovery, contact The Fit Institute (TFI) today to schedule your appointment.
Manual therapy explained:
Also known as “hands-on therapy,” manual therapy is a specialized treatment performed by licensed physical therapists. During this treatment, your physical therapist will manipulate joints and soft tissue with nothing more than their hands. That means no intimidating machines or equipment involved – just hands!
Manual therapy is used as a way to relieve pain, reduce swelling, decrease restriction, improve range of motion, and mobilize joints. In order to do so, your physical therapist will conduct targeted massages and stretches to the affected part(s) of your body.
How safe is manual therapy?
Very! Manual therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that doesn’t require any harmful pain-management medications. Your physical therapist will use a variety of techniques aimed at moving your tendons, ligaments, and joints in ways that facilitate pain relief and healing.
Our physical therapists are highly-trained medical professionals who understand both the capabilities and limitations of your body. In fact, you may notice relief and/or improvement after just one session of manual therapy!
How is manual therapy performed?
There are several different types of manual therapy. Some of the most common include, but are not limited to:
- Manual traction. Manual traction is done by applying a gentle pressure to certain areas of the body, in order to stretch it out. One of the most common areas to receive manual traction is the neck; however, your physical therapist may also recommend it for different areas of your body. When manual traction is performed as a treatment for neck pain, your physical therapist will have you lie down on your back while they gently stretch the spaces between your vertebrae. This is done by taking the base of the skull in one hand and the chin in the other while applying slight pressure. Manual traction treatments are generally done for 5-10 seconds at a time.
- Massage. Massage treatments performed by a physical therapist are a bit different than those you might receive at a spa. They are meant to be more therapeutic in nature, rather than relaxing. At The Fit Institute (TFI), we use therapeutic massage treatments as a way to manipulate the soft tissues. This is done through deep pressure and rhythmic stretching, allowing your physical therapist to find and mobilize areas of your body that are heavily restricted. By doing this, your physical therapist is able to break up any scar tissue or adhesions in the affected body part(s).
- Mobilization/manipulation. If you have recently sustained an injury, you may experience severe pain. This is typically the result of a restricted joint. Fortunately, our physical therapists are trained in loosening restricted joints by applying pressure at a low velocity. Mobilization and manipulation techniques are safe, effective, and painless. They also allow for a breakdown of the affected joint’s barrier, resulting in an improved range of motion.
- Lymphatic drainage. Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling in the arms and legs, due to a blockage in the lymphatic system. It is typically a concern for those who have undergone complex surgical procedures. If you are suffering from lymphedema, one of our experienced physical therapists can perform manual lymphatic drainage by applying light pressure (similar to a massage) on the affected arm or leg, in order to encourage the drainage of fluid, or “lymph.” Lymphatic drainage is typically followed by compression, in order to reduce swelling.
How can I get started on manual therapy treatments?
We have some of the most highly trained physical therapists in . They are movement experts, equipped in diagnosing and treating painful conditions and disorders. Many of the disorders they treat occur following surgical procedures, especially a total joint replacement. However, physical therapy is also an effective treatment method for injuries, accidents, or illnesses – essentially, anything that makes you feel weak and unable to function at your optimum physical level.
Your physical therapist will design a personalized treatment plan for you that will likely include several different therapies, in order to improve your overall function. For example, some targeted exercises may focus on improving balance and strength, while others may focus more on improving your range of motion.
Manual therapy is a crucial part of a recovery plan, as it helps to reduce pain and swelling, minimize inflammation, and increase your range of motion. If you are interested in learning more about the hands-on approach of manual therapy, contact our physical therapy practice today at Chicago, IL. At The Fit Institute (TFI), we are dedicated to treating your pain and helping you get active once again!