By definition Manual Therapy is a clinical approach utilizing skilled, specific hands-on techniques to diagnose and treat soft tissues and joint structures for the purpose of decreasing pain and inflammation; increasing range of motion (ROM); improving tissue repair and improving function. These therapies include, but are not limited to, joint mobilization, joint manipulation, soft tissue manipulation, myofascial release (ART®), therapeutic exercises, and neural mobilization techniques.
The term applied to the use of several of these techniques together is a "multi-modal approach". The reason this is so effective is simple, but often overlooked. A multi-modal approach allows the practitioner to treat the function of the individual. The function of the neuromuscular system is as true as anatomy. How an individual walks, moves, bends or lifts can determine which structures are susceptible to being over-loaded, under-loaded or injured.
Another reason a "multi-modal" manual therapy approach should be taken is because the most current research in the field of neuromuscular treatment has exposed it to be the most effective. The combination of muscle work (myofascial release), therapeutic exercise (correcting abhorrent movement patterns) and joint mobilization/manipulation (joint restrictions) gives superior results when compared to performing just one of these forms of treatment.
The long and the short of how a manual therapy clinic works would be: Treat tight/short muscles with a myofascial release technique; Treat a weak muscle with a therapeutic exercise; Treat a joint restriction with a joint mobilization or a manipulation – and this would be performed on an individual basis, because your problem is probably a little different than your neighbors.
For more information about Manual Therapy, please contact In Motion Spine and Joint Center, please contact us at (615) 302-4747.