Physiotherapy: How Will Manual Therapy Help Me?
When arriving to see a physiotherapist, you may have concerns as to what will happen over the course of your physiotherapy session. You may also wonder why and what the therapist is doing. In general, physiotherapists will utilise the following treatment modalities and tailor these to meet your needs.
Manual therapy consists of a variety of hands-on intervention techniques ranging from soft tissue mobilisation, joint mobilisations to joint manipulations. It is a highly effective treatment method that can provide pain relief, improve range of movement and improving function.
Soft Tissue Mobilisation
Physiotherapists use various techniques to have an effect on the soft tissue during physiotherapy. Common techniques used by our therapists include deep friction techniques, Myofascial release and Trigger point therapy. They help to break down scar tissues, improve the extensibility of the soft tissues, enhance circulation and encourage drainage.
The most common physiotherapy techniques are from Maitland and Mulligan. Passive mechanical pressure of varying degrees is directed at a particular joint. This encourages a specific movement in a specific direction. The movement aims to improve joint mechanics and/or correct joint positional faults. It also stimulates mechanoreceptors which helps to reduce pain. Because of their knowledge of joint kinematics, physiotherapists are able to facilitate small movements in joints to have a big effect in the overall range of movement.
The production of an audible ‘clicking’ or ‘popping’ sound is often associated with joint manipulation. This sound is believed to be the result of a phenomenon known as cavitation occurring within the synovial fluid of the joint. This refers to the rapid release of trapped gases in a high pressure environment similar to uncorking a champagne.
Maitland technique has classified this manoeuvre as a high velocity low amplitude movement. This technique is also seen in traditional barbershops, Thai massages and chiropractors; known to provide good short term relief. There can also be rare complications that arises from this technique especially to upper cervical spine. The rapid rotary movement of the neck has the potential to shear an artery supplying blood to the brain. Therefore, this technique is only performed by experienced and qualified physiotherapist with a prior assessment of the client. This is to ensure safe effective and appropriate application of technique.
Which Physiotherapy Technique Works Best For Me?
Your physiotherapist will have to perform a consultation and physical assessment to determine the cause of the problem before choosing the appropriate technique that works best. It is also important to determine the pain pattern in terms of severity, irritability and nature of pain.
Sometimes, a combination of a number of these techniques over a certain time frame is required during physiotherapy to achieve the best results.
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