Richmond Physical Therapist

Manual TherapyRichmond, TX

Manual therapy is a longstanding form of physical therapy involving hands-on treatment of the affected joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Massage is one of the most popular types of this method. Manual therapy is especially beneficial for patients with motion impairments that cause pain and a decreased range of motion.

Manual therapy is available at Polygon Physical Therapy Center in Richmond and the surrounding area. No matter what type of accident you have suffered, we may be able to help. Call us today at 832-547-2282 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services.

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Understanding Manual Therapy

Also known as manipulative therapy, manual therapy utilizes manipulation, mobilization, and other techniques to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joint structures. This type of treatment can increase the patient's range of motion, reduce (or sometimes eliminate) soft tissue inflammation, assist in tissue repair, facilitate movement, and improve function. It is known as manual therapy because it includes the application of the practitioner's hands. Massage and chiropractic are two popular methods of manual therapy.

However, it is essential to note that manual therapy is not just referring to a technique. Instead, it encompasses an osteopathic philosophy of care — one that is firmly centered in the unity of the body, self-regulatory and self-healing systems, the relationship between structure and function, and a rational treatment approach. Manual physical therapists recognize that a patient's symptoms are only external manifestations of their illness and that the state of their musculoskeletal system directly impacts their body's ability to heal.

The Importance of Manual Therapy

Various forms of manual therapy have been practiced for centuries around the world. Such techniques can address issues with joint, muscle, and connective tissue. Alternatively, they can be neurovascular-biased, depending on which particular tissue requires focus. Manual therapy has been proven to produce measurable movement in the targeted areas, even causing some structural changes where necessary. There are also immediate neurophysiological benefits to manual therapy, such as:

  • Reduced inflammation
  • Decreased pain
  • Decreased spinal excitability
  • Modification to the cortical areas having to do with pain processing

The benefits of manual therapy are even more effective when complemented by other forms of physical therapy.

Additionally, operating under the osteopathic framework allows manual therapists to treat patients instead of isolated conditions. By viewing patients in their entirety, manual physical therapists can identify and address the root causes of their conditions rather than merely treating the symptoms.

They can also help patients become involved in their care, working collaboratively to determine a customized treatment plan for their unique needs, sometimes providing the patients with exercises to practices on their own. Since this technique is so involved and hands-on, it can be considered both a science and an art.

Conditions Treated by Manual Therapy

Manual therapy involves caring for the entire musculoskeletal system, including the bones, connective tissue, joints, ligaments and tendons, and muscles. Thus, manual therapy can treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions limiting a patient's mobility or physical function in day-to-day life. Patients seeking rehabilitation after surgery, acute injury, or chronic injury may find manual therapy especially useful.

Post-operative patients often see manual therapists after cancer surgery, heart surgery, hip replacement, knee arthroscopy, knee replacement, and rotator cuff repair. They often find manual therapy reduces pain, normalizes walking, improves balance and mobilization, regresses strength, and prevents excessive scar tissue buildup. Manual therapy can help patients with acute injury manage pain and swelling, regain mobility, rebuild strength, and prevent future flareups.

Additionally, a manual therapist may be able to help patients with chronic injury identify the source of their condition, manage symptoms, and avoid further damage.

What Happens in a Manual Therapy Session

Manual therapy is unique in that it is an almost entirely hands-on modality. There are almost no devices or machines involved. Each patient is different and has unique individual needs. As such, each manual therapy session will vary accordingly. However, there are some common components that every patient of manual therapy will experience. These involve patient education and procedural interventions. Additionally, a good manual therapist will contact the patient's other healthcare professionals as necessary.

Patient education is crucial because it allows patients to become active participants in their own care. Understanding their diagnosis and prognosis equips patients to set realistic goals, manage expectations, and avoid further aggravating their condition. Additionally, they are empowered to voice their opinions throughout the treatment process. Procedural interventions include manual therapy, therapeutic exercise, adaptive/assistive devices, ergonomic instruction, immobilization procedures, and physical agents.

Call Us Today

For many patients, manual therapy is an excellent, more traditional way of treating their mobility issues. Our team at Polygon Physical Therapy Center may be able to help. Call us today at 832-547-2282 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main types of manual therapy?

The two main techniques of manual therapy are soft tissue work and mobilization/manipulation. As the name suggests, soft tissue work involves applying pressure to the body's soft tissues. Massage and chiropractic are popular examples of soft tissue work. This pressure can help break up scar tissue, increase circulation, and reduce pain. Mobilization/manipulation uses measured movements of varying speed, force, and distances to place bones and joints back into position. This may be done through twisting, pulling, or pushing.

What is joint mobilization?

Joint mobilization is a manual therapy technique that aims to loosen up a restricted joint and increase its range of motion. This is done by the practitioner mobilizing the joint with slow speed and increasing the distance of movement. When done correctly, this technique should be painless.

Why do joints make popping noises when adjusted?

Manipulating a joint may release gas bubbles between the joints. This is responsible for the popping noise you hear. It is essentially the same phenomenon that occurs when you crack your knuckles. There should be little to no discomfort during this process.

How do I know if manual therapy is not right for me?

Manual therapy can benefit most patients, especially when complemented with other treatment methods. However, those with excessive joint mobility may be better suited to other modalities of care. Our qualified team members will carefully review your condition to determine the best course of treatment for you.

Contact Us

Polygon Physical Therapy Center is located at
7830 W Grand Pkwy S #270B
Richmond, TX

(832) 547-2282