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Manual therapy: application and effect

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 356 views

Manual therapy treats functional disorders of the musculoskeletal system – the focus is on muscles and joints and their interaction. This form of treatment works with special hand movements and techniques for mobilization, with the help of which mobility can be increased and pain reduced. Read everything you need to know about manual therapy and its techniques here.

What is manual therapy?

Manual therapy is a method of physical movement therapy . It is carried out by specially trained physiotherapists and aims to improve the mobility of muscles and joints and to relieve pain. Certain mobilization techniques are characteristic of manual therapy, for example stretching or straightening limbs and joints using traction stimuli (traction treatment, extension treatment).

Manual therapy is based on the knowledge that vertebrae that move, for example due to unusual stress, irritate the surrounding nerves and can thus trigger painful blockages. Manual therapy techniques aim to remove these blockages.

When is manual therapy used?

Manual therapy can help with a wide variety of functional disorders in the area of ​​the musculoskeletal system. Common areas of application are:

How is manual therapy used?

There are different techniques. An experienced therapist selects the appropriate method based on the individual symptoms.

grip techniques

The therapist can move the affected body parts quickly and vigorously to work on blockages (manipulative technique). Alternatively, mobility can be gently improved through slow stretching (mobilizing technique).

traction treatment

During the extension or traction treatment, the therapist applies tension to the spine or individual joints. This is usually done using special equipment. This pulls the joint partners apart, which relieves the joint surface, stretches the surrounding muscles, relieves nerves and reduces pain. When a disc is herniated, the tension increases the space between the vertebrae, giving the disc enough room to slide back into its normal position.

Important areas of application for traction treatment are:

  • Spinal problems (including herniated disc)
  • back painjoint pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Rheumatic diseases
  • Sciatica (sciatic nerve irritation)
  • joint osteoarthritis

How is traction treatment applied?

The following methods are available for traction treatment:

Sling table: The therapist can hang up individual limbs in a sling table and then pull on them manually or with the help of expanders. Treatment with the sling table is also well suited for a herniated disc.

Spine stretcher: The spine stretcher is used to stretch and relieve the spine. The flat, slightly curved device has several rubber rollers. For treatment, the patient lies on the device for a while. In addition, exercises can be performed in this position, which increases the training effect. When is traction treatment not suitable?

When is manual therapy not suitable?

For manual therapy, it must be ensured that there are no acute injuries to the spine, for example fractures, burns, inflammation or metastases.

What do I have to consider before and after manual therapy?

If the symptoms have subsided through manual therapy, you should actively do something to ensure that they do not come back. Doctors and physiotherapists recommend regular training to strengthen the musculoskeletal system and prevent future dysfunction. In this way, the effect of manual therapy can be maintained over the long term.

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