Manual Therapy

What Is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is skilled, hands-on treatment of injuries to the body’s musculoskeletal system. It encompasses a family of techniques, ranging from soft-tissue massage to dry needling, joint mobilization, and osteopathic manipulation. Manual therapy relies on the power of human touch to relieve pain and improve the safety and comfort of moving injured muscles and joints. In the hands of experts, manual therapy can often heal physical injury without the need of surgery. 

Baptist Health’s physical therapists and sports-medicine professionals use a variety of manual-therapy methods to get you moving again. Our therapists offer the latest massage-therapy techniques, restoring strength and mobility with safe and effective care. 

How Does Manual Therapy Work? What Does It Accomplish?

Manual therapy utilizes a variety of hands-on treatments to help increase flexibility or range of motion in specific areas. Manual therapies are adjunctive, meaning that we use them in combination with other treatments, such as physical therapy and hand therapy. 

Manual therapies available at Baptist Health include: 

  • Dry needling: Using thin needles, we gently stimulate bands of tight muscle tissue, helping them relax. Even if needles make you nervous, our gentle approach helps you have a good experience. 
  • Soft-tissue massage: This therapy works by gently kneading, stroking, or rubbing tight muscles to help them release unnecessary tensions and toxins. 
  • Joint mobilization: Applying gentle pressure, we carefully move or adjust joints to improve range of motion. Mobilization helps the body’s fluids flow more freely, which promotes healing.
  • Osteopathic manipulation: We use an array of techniques to gently move or manipulate injured muscles and joints. Osteopathic manipulation relieves discomfort while jumpstarting your body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Manual therapy is a proven treatment for a variety of sports and other physical injuries, including: 

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Golf elbow
  • Ligament injuries to the knee including anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries
  • Lower back pain
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Tendonitis
  • Tennis elbow. 

What Can I Expect During Manual Therapy?

At Baptist Health, you are in capable and caring hands. If you’ve never received manual therapy, it’s natural to be a little nervous. We take time to discuss with you how manual therapy combined with other treatments can help you feel better.

If manual therapy is right for you, here’s what to expect: 

  • Evaluation: Your treatment starts with a comprehensive evaluation. Our therapists listen carefully as you describe the injury and how it is affecting you in your daily life. 
  • Personalized treatment plan: We develop a plan tailored to meet your unique needs. If the injury is severe, we may allow time for swelling to go down before beginning treatment. If the injury is less severe, you may be able to start treatment immediately following your evaluation.
  • Getting comfortable: Our expertise helps you have a pleasant experience. We make sure you are comfortable before starting therapy. We also explain sensations you may experience, so that you know what to expect.
  • Manual therapy: We expertly deliver the manual therapy treatment that is best for you. Treatment may include massage, joint mobilization, dry needling, or osteopathic manipulative therapy. You will likely experience symptom relief even after your first treatment.
  • Next steps: We let you know how often you may need manual therapy. We also help you get the most out of each visit by combining manual therapies with physical therapy or other forms of treatment in the same visit.

What Are the Advantages of Manual Therapy Offered by Baptist Health? 

Sometimes the best care for physical injury is a healing touch. Using massage and mobility techniques, along with simple tools, we help you feel better so you can make steady progress toward your recovery goals.

Highlights of our program include:

  • Safety: Your safety is at the center of everything we do. Our team has completed advanced training in all the latest manual-therapy techniques, including dry needling. This expertise not only assures a safe experience, but also helps us better target treatment areas so you receive beneficial care.
  • Broad range of treatments: Manual therapy is one of many treatments available at Baptist Health. Our personalized approach helps you get the treatments that best meet your needs. For complex injuries that are unresponsive to manual therapy, we also offer advanced treatments, such as platelet-rich plasma therapy.

Are There Risks to Undergoing Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a safe and effective form of physical therapy, associated with relatively few risks. Minor adverse reactions are sometimes reported but more severe reactions are extremely rare. One study found that the adverse medical risk posed by manual therapy is less than that associated with drug therapy for similar ailments.

How Do I Start Manual Therapy?

To begin manual therapy at Baptist Health, contact a physical therapy location to make an appointment.

Next Steps with MyChart

Discover MyChart, a free patient portal that combines your Baptist Health medical records into one location. Schedule appointments, review lab results, financials, and more! If you have questions, give us a call.