Manual Therapy

At Mass Bay Spine & Sport Physical Therapy, manual treatment is one of the cornerstones of our success.  We find that with many of the conditions we treat, a balanced approach incorporating therapeutic exercise combined with carefully applied manual therapy to improve soft tissue and joint mobility is a critical part of assisting the body to heal itself.  Our expert clinicians are trained in advanced manual techniques designed to accurately and effectively pinpoint and treat soft tissue and joint restrictions and quickly get you feeling better again.

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What is manual therapy?

Manual therapy has many different definitions but simply put, it is the use of specialized hands-on techniques to help treat dysfunctions of soft tissue (connective tissue) and the joints in your body.  The goal of manual therapy is to help improve soft tissue extensibility, increase joint range of motion, provide for decreased pain and increased relaxation, and decrease muscle spasms. It is also used to increase resistance to movements during exercise for the purposes of improving strength.   There are many different types of manual therapy and our clinicians are trained in a vast array of manual techniques to effectively and efficiently identify and treat your condition.

What are the different types of manual therapy?

  • Soft tissue mobilization> Application of hands-on techniques to the muscles, ligaments, and fascia in order to break up scar tissue, release adhesions, improve circulation, and optimize normal functioning of the tissue treated.

  • Trigger point therapy> Application of deep pressure to tight bands of hypersensitive muscle tissue to help reduce muscle spasms and pain.

  • Joint mobilization> Hands on techniques that involve carefully guided passive movements of a joint in specific directions and of specific amplitude to help reduce pain, restore normal glide of the joint, and improve overall joint range of motion.

  • Joint manipulation> Quick but small thrust force to a joint to provide immediate pain reduction and improved overall joint mobility.

  • Manual stretching> This involves carefully placing soft tissue in a fully lengthened position and applying additional manual force to improve soft tissue extensibility and length and to decrease pain.

  • Manual resistive exercise> Hands-on techniques involving graded resistance while a patient performs movement patterns specifically geared towards improving strength in the weakest positions.

  • Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization> Involves the use of specialized tools enabling the clinician to efficiently locate and treat soft tissue dysfunction. The primary goal is to effectively break down myofascial restrictions and scar tissue, improve circulation, and decrease pain.

Can manual therapy help condition?

Most of the conditions that we see in our clinic can benefit from some form of manual therapy, however, as with any condition, a thorough evaluation needs to be performed first to enable the clinician to accurately assess what structures are involved to be able to determine the best techniques needed to restore normal function. Manual therapy has been proven to be an important part of an overall conservative treatment plan for a variety of conditions including:
  • Adhesive capsulitis
  • Shoulder impingement
  • Shoulder stiffness/limited range of motion
  • Tennis elbow
  • Golfers elbow
  • Pinched nerves
  • Limited joint range of motion
  • Capsule tightness
  • Postsurgical stiffness
  • Much more.

Manual therapy is typically part of a complete treatment plan that is customized for your specific needs. Give us a call to learn how we can incorporate manual therapy into your rehabilitation program.

Learn about the Graston Technique®