Manual therapy is a general term for hands on treatment provided by a physical therapist. Our therapists here at STAR Physical Therapy utilize many different types of manual therapy to help their patients get better faster. Manual therapy has consistently been shown to help patients decrease their pain and improve outcomes. Below you will find more detail on some different types of manual therapy we use here at STAR.
Soft Tissue Massage:
Soft tissue massage is a manual therapy focused on the muscles and tendons in the body. This technique can be applied to any body region. Soft tissue massage has been shown to decrease pain and helps increase blood flow to the area which decreases tissue healing time. The pressure and technique used during soft tissue massage can be adjusted to fit the patient's needs.
Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Massage:
Instrument assisted soft tissue massage (IASTM) is a technique that has been adapted from Eastern Medicine. IASTM is a version of soft tissue mobilization which typically utilizes a smooth metal tool. Similar too soft tissue massage the goal is to decrease pain and increase blood flow to the area helping decreased tissue healing times. IASTM has been shown to be especially effective with tendon injuries. Our therapists ensure that the amount of pressure applied during the massage is tolerable by the patient.
Joint mobilization is when a therapist uses their hands to glide the bony surfaces of a joint together. When we move, the surfaces of the bones that make up a joint slide on one another. Often times when there is an injury to a joint the joint surfaces will not glide on each other as intended causing limitations in range of motion. Joint mobilizations help improve the gliding between the two joint surfaces, decreasing pain and improving ROM in a joint. Joint mobilizations and be performed to any joint in the body, both joints in the spine and extremities.
Joint manipulation is a type of joint mobilization where a quick passive movement is imparted into a joint. Sometimes these are referred to as adjustments. The goal of joint manipulation is the same as joint mobilizations, improve range of motion and decrease pain. Often times when a patient receives a joint manipulation a popping noise can be heard. This sound is caused by gas being released from the joint. Joint manipulation is a safe an effective way to treat musculoskeletal pain.
Passive Range of Motion:
Passive range of motion is when a therapist stretches a joint to help improve the range of motion or mobility of that joint. This is often done after surgery to help patients regain lost range of motion. Our therapist maintain good communication between themselves and the patients during while stretching the make sure the patient’s are tolerating the treatment well.
STAR Physical Therapy is one of the few practices in the area that utilize manual cox traction. This is an extremely effective version of traction which is used to help patients with lower back pain. The purpose of traction is to help open up space in the lower back, decreasing compression on both the joints and the nerves in the lumbar spine. Patients with spinal stenosis and disc pain typically respond very well to lumbar traction. Because this is a manual therapy our PTs can perform real time adjustments in the amount of traction being provided to the patient.