Manual physical therapy is hands-on treatment techniques used to decrease pain, reduce joint stiffness, increase muscle flexibility and improve range of motion. The most commonly used manual therapy technique at Sparks Physical Therapy is joint mobilizations, which involves skilled passive movements to a joint complex that is applied at varying speeds and amplitudes to restore optimal motion, function and/or to decrease pain. We also use spinal manipulations, a small, quick stretch to the spine that often is accompanied with a cracking sound. Spinal manipulations act like a “Control + Alt + Delete” for the nervous system to reset the pain cycle. We also use a technique called “Passive Range of Motion” to allow patients to regain motion while recovering from surgery or other ailments. If soft tissues (such as muscles and tendons) are more of the culprit, we use techniques such as instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilizations and active release techniques to reduce muscle spasms and improve flexibility.
Patients with a variety of orthopedic conditions may benefit from manual physical therapy. Orthopedics is the medical specialty that focuses on reducing pain and restoring function for the musculoskeletal system that includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves. The research is clear that manual therapy combined with therapeutic exercise results in the best pain-relief and improving function for patients with arthritis, plantar fasciitis, muscle-tension headaches, shoulder, back, neck, knee and hip pain. Manual therapy is also highly effective for patient’s post-operative (following surgery) to reduce swelling and improving range of motion.
All of our physical therapists at Sparks Physical Therapy have extensive post-graduate training in manual therapy. On your first visit, we do a very thorough evaluation and discuss with you the best forms of manual therapy for your condition. We never do a treatment without discussing it with you first.