Many patients, friends, and family all ask the same question when they hear the term “manual therapy.” What is it? Who does it? What is it good for? Why doesn’t everyone do it? We hope shed some light and answer these frequently asked questions right here.
Manual therapy is often defined slightly differently, depending on the medical professional’s scope of practice, whether an osteopathic doctor (DO), a chiropractor, or a physical therapist. In the physical therapy field, manual therapy is utilizing skilled, hands-on techniques, including but not limited to manipulation/mobilization, used by the physical therapist to diagnose and treat soft tissue and joints to reduce pain, increase range of motion, decrease myofascial restrictions to improve muscle length, decrease swelling or inflammation, assist the body in muscle or soft tissue repair, extensibility and/or stability, and facilitate movement to improve function.
That’s a whole lot of words, but manual therapy is really a large umbrella under which many specific hands-on techniques reside.