Manual Physical Therapy describes many different “hands-on” techniques that Physical Therapists use to help diagnose and treat musculoskeletal issues. Manual techniques can be used to normalize movement, increase range of motion (ROM), improve function and reduce pain and inflammation to joints, muscles and nerves. Some manual techniques that therapists at Jointworx Physical Therapy utilize are: joint mobilization and manipulation, trigger point dry needling, various types of soft tissue massage, assisted stretching, Muscle Activation Technique, scar mobilization, lymphatic drainage, neurodynamic mobilization and corrective functional exercise progression.
Within the scope of physical therapy practice, joint mobilization and manipulation are appropriate if the physical therapist has undergone adequate training in the techniques. Joint mobilization passively (or with some active assist from the patient) moves a joint to increase or normalize motion and function. Joint manipulation is typically a high-velocity, low amplitude thrust which may cause an audible “cavitation” or “pop” of the joint being moved. The applied force at the joint causes a brief separation of the joint surfaces, which results in a reduction of pressure within the joint cavity. The resultant gases escaping the joint cause the popping noise. It is a very safe and effective technique, but it is not appropriate for every joint or every person.