Manual Therapy Techniques
Manual therapy technique is defined 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; mobilise or manipulate soft tissues and joints; induce relaxation; change muscle function; modulate pain; and reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation or movement restriction.
What is Manual Therapy For?
During your physiotherapy session, your physiotherapist might perform some manual techniques to ease your pain, reduce your stiffness, and improve your movement.
The common manual techniques include:
- Myofascial release
- Joint mobilization
Trigger points are often formed due to injuries that cause the muscle fibers to get damaged. These damaged muscle fibers often go into a contracted and protective state, forming trigger points. Your physiotherapist will be able to palpate and identify these trigger points that cause pain, stiffness, and tightness. As such, myofascial release will be used to relieve the hyperirritable taut spot. This is done by applying a gradual sustained pressure along the myofascial trigger point of a muscle. It frees up the tissue, restrictions, and adhesions along the muscle to reduce your pain, stiffness, and tightness.
A joint is an area where 2 different bone structures are attached together to allow for movement.
There are 2 types of movements that occur within a joint:
- Physiological movement
- Accessory movement
These are movements that can be performed by you (e.g. bending and straightening of your knee).
These are small, passive movements in the joints that occur with the physiological movements that you do. There are 3 types of accessory movements that occur at different joints: roll; glide; spin. However, these are movements that you are unable to actively control when moving a joint yourself. As such you might require help from a physiotherapist to assist you with certain accessory movements. This is when your physiotherapist can utilize joint mobilizations to help you with your movements.
Joint Mobilisation Effects
Common effects from joint mobilisation can include:
- Reduction in pain and stiffness
- A decrease in muscle guarding around the joint
- Mild soreness after joint mobilizations might be a side effect, but it should not cause you much pain or prevent you from moving your joint