Manual therapy involves hands-on manipulation by the therapist of a patient’s specific joints and/or body tissues. The goal of manual therapy is to improve mobility, to improve function to specific joints and to eliminate pain in targeted tissues of the body. The manual therapy technique is comprised of a continuum of skilled, passive movements, applied to the joints or tissues at varying speeds and pressures.
With joint manipulation, the physical therapist works to restore full and painless joint function by rhythmic, passive movements within the patient’s tolerance and within the patient’s voluntary and accessory range. This therapy application may affect a vertebral region or specific joints. Manual therapy for soft tissues generally seeks to alleviate pain or soreness as a result of trigger points or dysfunctional muscles following an accident, injury, strain or excessive exertion.
Manual therapy should always be followed by corrective exercises to enhance or extend the benefits of the therapy. Manual therapy is usually applied in multiple sessions, over time, to ensure the return of full function or the elimination of all pain.
Many physical therapists use Exercise Prescription as a logical follow-on to Manual Therapy. Exercise Prescription consists of an exercise (or series of exercises) prescribed by a therapist and performed by a patient, often with facilitation from your therapist. The exercises are designed to continue the improvement of functional movement after receiving manual therapy or other hands-on care.
Just as manual therapy and other forms of therapy may require repeated sessions for a patient to reach full healing and function, Prescription Exercise is generally recommended by therapists for a specified time. In cases where the patient seeks to maintain or improve function after therapy has concluded, Exercise Prescription is usually indicated long-term to ensure optimum muscle and joint tone and function.
Exercise Prescription may take on various forms, from stretches to weight lifting, from walking programs to exercise bands, and everything in between. Such programs are always tailored to your specific needs and goals.
Functional Dry Needling
Functional dry needling is a special procedure that helps increase a patient’s functional mobility while decreasing acute or chronic pain. A specially trained physical therapist targets dysfunctional muscle tissues by inserting disposable filament needles into the muscle’s trigger points that both cause and refer pain throughout the body. Muscle tension is greatly reduced, thereby restoring normal mobility to the muscles that are targeted.
Patients experiencing neck, back, shoulder, or knee pain, or from the pain of plantar fasciitis, headaches, or jaw pain (temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ) may all benefit from the application of functional dry needling. Athletes with limited mobility or difficulty with certain movements usually respond well to this therapy.
Restoring muscular “memory” is essential to a patient’s full recovery from injury or loss of mobility. Various therapy techniques are used to restore the normal function of nerves and muscles to ensure a patient’s fluid body movement, balance and coordination.
Neuromuscular re-education is a normal form of physical therapy following most musculoskeletal surgeries. It is also utilized for balance related issues as well as vestibular dysfunction (vertigo).
Gait dysfunction not only impacts your ability to walk or run, but also can lead to other problems if left untreated. For runners and walkers alike, whether a novice or a marathoner, the goal is to achieve optimal performance while avoiding injury.
A thorough gait assessment focuses first on the cause - the real source of the problem - and then follows up with physical therapy to address the underlying problem. A typical assessment may involve both a physical examination and a moving physical exam (walking or running under supervision).
Return to Sport
After an injury, an endurance or competitive athlete is primarily interested in returning to the level of competitiveness he or she enjoyed pre-injury.
Along the return pathway, a patient may require a range of physical therapy services. Some of the more frequently seen and prescribed are 1) Movement Assessments, 2) Sport Specific Exercise Prescription, 3) Running Evaluations, 4) Manual Therapy, 5) Dry Needling or IASTM.
Several packages of services, with varying prices depending on complexity, are available.