Manual therapy, also known as hands-on therapy, is a type of physical therapy that involves the use of the therapist’s hands to manipulate and mobilize the soft tissues and joints in the body. It is a popular form of treatment for a variety of conditions, including musculoskeletal pain, sports injuries, and chronic conditions.
Hands-on therapy is a form of physical therapy that includes conditions that can be combined or used individually, especially in the initial stages of rehabilitation. As therapy progresses, manual therapies may be combined with exercises. Let’s take a closer at some of the benefits and risks of manual therapy that might be helpful for you.
Benefits of Manual Therapy
One of the primary benefits of manual therapy is its ability to provide relief from pain. Through the use of gentle and specific techniques, a therapist can manipulate the soft tissues and joints in the affected area to reduce tension and inflammation, leading to a decline in pain. This makes manual therapy an effective approach for individuals suffering from chronic pain, headaches, and other conditions that cause discomfort.
Improved Range of Motion
Another benefit of manual therapy is that it can help to improve the range of motion. This is achieved through the therapist breaking up adhesions (scar tissue) and restoring proper alignment to the affected joints. This improved range of motion can lead to better flexibility, reduced pain, and a reduction in the risk of injury.
During manual therapy, the therapist applies gentle pressure to the affected area, promoting increased circulation. This increased blood flow can help to reduce swelling, enhance healing, and also provide oxygen and nutrients to the affected area. It can also help to speed up the recovery process.
Reduced Muscle Tension
Hands-on therapy can help to release tension in tight and overworked muscles. This reduction in muscle tension can lead to reduced pain, improved range of motion, and better posture. It can also help to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and promote overall well-being.
Enhanced Athletic Performance
Athletes can also benefit from manual therapy. By improving the range of motion, reducing pain and stiffness, and promoting relaxation, manual therapy can help athletes perform better and reduce the risk of injury.
Risks of Manual Therapy
Pain or Discomfort during Treatment
While manual therapy is generally considered to be a gentle and non-invasive form of therapy, some people may experience discomfort during treatment. This may occur if the therapist applies too much pressure, or if the individual is particularly sensitive to touch. However, this discomfort is commonly short-lived and can be easily managed.
Worsening of Symptoms
In rare cases mostly caused by inexperienced therapists, manual therapy may result in a worsening of symptoms, especially if the therapy is performed on an injury that hasn’t fully healed. This is why it is important to seek the advice of a qualified therapist before undergoing manual therapy.
Risk of Injury
The risk of injury can occur if the therapist is not properly trained or does not use the proper technique. This is why it is important to choose a qualified and certified therapist who has received proper training and is experienced in performing manual therapy. Additionally, it is essential to communicate any concerns or discomfort during the therapy session to the therapist, so they can adjust their technique if necessary.
In a Nutshell,
Manual therapy (hands-on) is a highly effective form of treatment for a variety of conditions. However, as with any form of therapy, there are, of course, some risks and benefits to consider. If you are considering manual therapy, you must speak with a qualified therapist to determine if it’s the right option for you.