Manual therapy is a safe, effective and non-invasive treatment method that is used by physical therapists, massage therapists and athletic trainers. Typically, patients visit a manual therapist when they are experiencing musculoskeletal pain. During treatment, your physical therapist may work to relieve pain with joint manipulation, manipulation of the muscles, joint mobilization, active release and corrective movements. Through this type of physical therapy, our highly-trained and experienced manual therapist is able to implement a hands-on approach to healing that is designed to help manage chronic pain, increase range of motion, reduce inflammation, treat joint structures and promote faster healing. If you or a loved one is experiencing musculoskeletal pain, contact HealthActions Physical Therapy today to learn more about the benefits of manual therapy.
Types of Manual Therapy
Pain Neutralization Techniques (PNT)
Pain Neutralization Technique (PNT) is a manual technique that uses simple neurological reflexes to treat trigger points that are associated with any muscle or joint pain condition. PNT does not use mechanical force for treatment and is entirely different from other procedures for treating trigger points (e.g., ischemic compression, strain counter-strain, massage, myofascial release, etc.). Unlike other techniques, it uses fingertips with light pressure. Patients never feel discomfort with any of the PNT techniques but are often shocked at how rapidly a pain is removed.
Pain often stems from irritated trigger points. Trigger Points are tight bands of muscles or contraction knots in the muscles of our body; they often feel like nodules to palpation and are very sensitive and painful when pressed.
Active Neuromuscular Release (ANR)
Active Neuromuscular Release (ANR) is a unique treatment and differs from other manual therapy approaches in several ways.
During the patient’s examination, there are muscle tests performed and if positive for weakness, will direct the therapists to the problem area. Following ANR interventions to that area, the same muscles are retested. If the movement impairment has been successfully corrected, the weakness will be absent.
The interventions are accomplished by the therapists locking the tissue in a three- dimensional lock and the patient simply moves his/her joint to the start of pain and returns to the starting point. The movement is repeated until a maximum increase of range-of-motion is accomplished. The resulting mobilization affects nerve, vascular, fascia and muscle tissues. ANR is appropriate to perform on every single patient from acute to chronic and from head to toe.
ANR is a perfect complement to what we as physical therapists already do by assisting in discovering area of dysfunction followed by working to improve that dysfunction, restore movement, strength, and function.
ANR also provides patients with ways to become more active in their self-treatment which improves the speed in which results are seen. Patients get better so much faster with gains realized immediately during and after treatment.
One of the most common reasons for a physical therapy visit includes pulled muscles. Although many people rely on lots of rest to temporarily relieve the pain associated with a pulled muscle, it is likely that the pain will return without the help of targeted manual therapy. This is because the actual injury is most often caused by a restricted joint. With the joint mobilization technique, our physical therapist work to loosen up restricted joints with increased amplitude and the application of slow velocity. This safe, effective and painless manual therapy treatment also helps to apply movement to the barrier of the joint and increase range of motion.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
This technique is used by manual therapists to break up fibrous muscle tissue. Utilizing deep pressure movements and targeted rhythmic stretching, our experienced manual therapist is able to localize areas in the body that have the greatest tissue restriction and mobilize the area using specific techniques, including the instrument assisted soft tissue release (IASTM) technique.
High Velocity, Low Amplitude
This is generally considered to be a more aggressive approach to manual therapy that is designed to relieve chronic pain and restore range of motion by bringing a joint to the restrictive barrier and thrusting it. The high velocity, low amplitude thrusting technique is ideal for restoring joint motion without pushing the joint beyond its normal anatomical limit. While considered to be a more aggressive form of physical therapy, this technique is still completely safe and pain-free.
This manual therapy method is designed to address any abnormal neuromuscular reflexes in the body that may result in both postural and structural issues. During treatment, our physical therapist works to locate the area of discomfort and holds that position for around 90 seconds. While in the hold position, our physical therapist is able to introduce an asymptomatic strain with stretching. As you are brought into the hold position, your muscles are then able to reset and begin the healing process. This gentle technique is safe for patients of all ages but is most often applied to relieve back pain issues.
Muscle Energy Techniques (METs)
This popular treatment method is used to help lengthen any muscles in the body that are shortened and mobilize any restricted joints that are causing pain. During treatment, the muscles are safely contracted using a controlled counterforce that our physical therapist works to apply from a specific direction. Once contracted, the joint is taken to its new barrier, resulting in almost instant pain relief. This active procedure is also pain-free and requires patient participation to get the best results.
How is Manual Therapy an Effective Part of Physical Therapy?
Before our physical therapist begins manual therapy treatment, a full assessment of your blood supply is completed in addition to a comprehensive muscle and bone assessment. From there, the best type of treatment to fit your individual needs will be implemented in the hopes of achieving fast pain-relief. Manual therapy is ideal to help increase blood flow, reduce chronic pain, restore full range of motion and muscle balance and achieve an optimal level of overall wellness. This integral part of physical therapy treatment is safe, non-invasive and ideal for treating patients of all ages. Contact us at Jackson, Thomasville, Monroeville, Troy, Dothan, Atmore, Enterprise & Daphne, AL centers today to learn more about how manual therapy can help relieve your chronic pain symptoms and begin your journey on the road to recovery!
What is Dry Needling?
Dry Needling is a treatment technique that utilizes thin, solid filament needles designed to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying neural, muscular and connective tissues. Dry Needling evokes a healing response in painful neuromusculoskeletal conditions and improves movement-related impairments. The goal of dry needling is primarily to control pain by harnessing the body’s natural ability to heal.
How long does it take for the procedure to work?
In some cases, decreased pain and improved mobility is immediate. Typically, it may take a few treatment sessions for a lasting positive effect. Mechanical, biochemical, and neurophysiological changes occur after Dry Needling to deactivate trigger points, disrupt pain, and restore optimal muscle function without any additional pharmacological means.