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  • Dr. Mark Freund

What is Muscle Manipulation Therapy?

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

muscle manipulation therapy

Pain is often the result of tight muscles. Many patients think of manual therapy and most likely picture a day spa with soothing music. Many don't realize that they can reap all of the pain relief and structural benefits with our clinical approach of manual therapy.

The health practitioners at Natural Care Chiropractic in Lindenhurst are highly trained in a variety of techniques to maintain whole-body health. While we provide adjustments to misaligned joints, relieving pain and restoring muscle and soft tissue function require manual therapy.

Muscle Manipulation

Using hands to manipulate muscles and treat musculoskeletal issues is a component of physical therapy. It is broadly the same as a variety of other chiropractic therapies, such as chiropractic adjustment, manual therapy, and acupuncture. You may have heard about the spinal manipulation technique when discussing how chiropractic care and treatment work. However, a particular form of muscle manipulation is more common in the chiropractic field. Read on to learn about the techniques of muscle manipulation therapy.

What Is Muscle Manipulation Therapy?

Muscle manipulation therapy is a specialized technique that can provide instant relief from acute and chronic pain. It involves the application of sensitive touch and feeling as well as positioning techniques that attempt to change the position of muscles in the body, as they are used in rehabilitation after a head injury or tendon transplant, for example. Tendons play a very important role in the body. They not only hold the bones together but are also crucial for keeping the muscles in the right position. The fibers and ligaments can be replaced in many ways, e.g., through muscle manipulation or physical therapy techniques.

manual manipulation therapy techniques

How Muscle Manipulation Therapy Works

The therapist must know what he feels and apply the right move to bring back balance and alleviate pain. They feel the tissue with their hands and determine if they can correct musculoskeletal issues. The therapist needs to know how muscles and tendons work to feel where they need to be manipulated. This, combined with hand and visual assessment techniques, allows the therapist to immediately detect whether a muscle is weak enough to be pulled unevenly from the bony scaffolding of a body or weak muscles that allow asymmetry. You might expect the force to lengthen the shortened passive tissues, but that is not the case, especially if it is for rehabilitating head injuries and tendon transplants.

This muscle therapy uses the patient's muscle strength and energy. By controlling the activation of the Golgi tendon organs, the physical therapist will bring about the relaxation of muscles to relieve muscle cramps. While a manual therapist presents the stationary surface resistance, patients contract their muscles to stretch joints. With "muscle energy," physical therapists ensure that the muscles relax and lengthen to the optimum level to perform and heal better.

Physical Therapy vs. Manual Therapy

Many chiropractors or physical therapists have performed some kind of manual therapy technique. In manual therapies, practitioners use their hands to pressure muscle tissue or manipulate joints to reduce pain. If you ask most physicians, they can advise the best treatments and techniques that have worked for their clients in treating muscle pain.

physical therapist performing manual therapy on patient

Physical therapy techniques aim to relieve musculoskeletal pain associated with back pain and other pain in the body. Manual therapy methods are specifically designed to address postural and structural problems that may result from abnormal neuromuscular reflexes in the body.

Manual therapy is a method of treatment used by locomotor doctors, osteopaths, physical therapists, and chiropractors. Many other manual therapy techniques stimulate positive pain-soothing effects associated with muscle manipulation but lack the benefits of muscle manipulation therapy and joint mobilization manipulation. When manual therapy is used in physical therapy, we know that it heals the scar tissue to become pain-free, soft tissue constraints melt away, and joint movement improves.

Muscles are efficient biological machines that transform chemical energy into motion (mechanical energy). All human movements, from chewing food to breathing to blinking, have muscle origins. Manual therapies can improve overall muscle function and drastically reduce pain and inflammation in certain areas of the body.

Benefits of Muscle Manipulation Therapy

Muscle manipulation therapy can benefit patients suffering from chronic pain conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. To name a few, this therapy can treat conditions such as:

manual therapy for back pain
  • Back pain

  • Knee pain

  • Hip pain

  • Arthritis

  • Osteoporosis

Muscle manipulation therapy aims to help you get back to your active lifestyle as quickly as possible. Our experienced team uses many techniques and programs to ensure you can fully regain mobility and health. We recommend manual therapy if you have muscle tension or stiffness.

You may also benefit from manual therapy if you experience muscle spasms, tension, or stiff joints. We also may use manual therapy as part of your sports medicine or sports rehabilitation.

In some cases, manual therapy is extremely useful in treating joints that lack adequate mobility and range of motion. Manual therapy can help to train muscles that do not work or limit your performance due to pain. Training the muscles in the lower back and upper back involves gently exercising the stiff joints and reducing muscle tension to restore natural movement and help you recover from injuries. Recent studies have examined the effectiveness of this technique for treating acute and chronic lower back pain and its potential for long-term health benefits, supporting muscle manipulation therapy as an alternative to physical therapy. In the short term, manual therapy is best suited to relieve pain, while strength exercises help to reduce disability symptoms and relapses in the long term. The researchers analyzed and examined the benefits of manual therapy and joint mobilization manipulation and concluded that the effects of muscle manipulation therapy in combination with exercise were more significant in treating chronic back pain than mobilization.

What is Manual Therapy?

Manual therapy is a treatment for joints and soft tissues by hand, as opposed to a machine or device. Manual therapies can strengthen joint movement where a range of motion was previously restricted and reduce painful muscle spasms. Practitioners approve different kinds of manual therapy for mobilizing stiff joints and soft tissues. Physiotherapists often recommend manual therapy techniques in conjunction with strengthening exercises to relieve musculoskeletal disorders and prevent recurring pain.

Manual Therapy for Pain Relief

Manual therapies as a treatment are generally designed to relieve pain and restore the normal range of movement in patients with a variety of conditions, such as chronic pain, chronic fatigue, and muscle inflammation. It is one of the most effective methods for treating a variety of common health problems and can help you achieve pain relief and recovery.

About 80% of physiotherapists commonly use manual therapy techniques to relieve pain in diseases ranging from osteoarthritis to traumatic injuries. It can also improve health and function and is often used to alleviate pain caused by various diseases and conditions, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and many others.

Conditions Manual Therapy Can Help With

The benefits of manual therapy go far beyond the patient's ability to heal themselves. Manual therapies can help patients heal in various ways and are, therefore, a useful tool in treating a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic fatigue syndromes. Below are some common conditions that manual therapies can treat:

  • Musculoskeletal Pain

  • Neck Pain

  • Low Back Pain

  • Mid-back Pain

  • Hip Pain

  • Knee Pain

  • Ankle Pain

  • Shoulder Pain

  • Frozen shoulder

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Spine and Jaw Pain

  • TMJ Dysfunction

  • Spinal stenosis

  • Thoracic spine

  • Headaches

  • Tension headaches

  • Migraines

Manual Therapy Benefits

People can develop tight muscles that cause pain if they sit in front of the computer all day long for work. They can take advantage of manual therapy by preventing muscle stiffness and muscle pain by loosening them. Other conditions such as back pain, headaches, foot pain, hip pain, and strain injuries can benefit from manual therapy and trigger point therapy. The results and benefits of trigger point therapy include releasing constricted areas in the muscles and thus alleviating pain. You can even experience a significant decrease in pain after just one treatment.

What to Expect

It is important to realize that not all manual techniques and therapists are the same. By receiving treatment at a chiropractic office, patients know they are in the hands of professionals trained in muscle, spine, and back pain management.

Physiotherapists and manual therapists use manual therapies to help patients improve mobility, and motor control, reduce pain, and improve movement efficiency. Therapists use specific, qualified manual therapies and techniques combined with progressive exercises to improve patient movement and overall function.

A practitioner can examine your condition and determine which manual therapy methods are the safest and most helpful for you. A physiotherapist may determine which technique best suits your needs if a specific type of physical therapy is required to address muscle spasms.

Manual therapists can use manual techniques to relieve symptoms and treat the disease, including prescribed exercises in the clinic. It can also include physical therapy, acupuncture, other chiropractic treatments, or even yoga.

Manual therapists know why joints and muscles do not function properly. Your doctor's job is to respond to your specific needs and suggest the right treatment. Whether you need manual therapy for pain management or treatment for muscle spasms and other ailments, they examine your condition and determine which manual therapy method is safest and most helpful for you. They evaluate your driving style and why the muscles are not working properly. They help eliminate fatigue, stress, pain, muscle spasms, and more.

Common Manual Therapy Techniques, Practices, and Benefits

Manual therapy is one of the safest and most effective chiropractic treatments, and many different types of manual therapy techniques are available. Various techniques involved in manual therapy help relieve pain and restore muscle and joint function while reducing pain and restoring mobility. If manual therapy is used more extensively in the later stages of rehabilitation, it can prove to be a method that not only reduces pain but also increases the range of movement despite the injured tissue.

Once you understand the extent of your pain, gentle manual therapy uses techniques to change the pain pattern and help you move pain-free again. By applying specialized manual therapies and procedures, including deep pressure, you can help reduce pain and restore the right range of movement. There are a variety of different techniques that are used in manual therapies, and each has its own benefits. Read on to learn more about each technique and how each can help you on your way to recovery.

Soft Tissue Techniques

Soft tissue mobilization involves various manual therapies and modalities through hands-on techniques on muscles, tendons, and ligaments to improve muscle mobility and muscle function.

Functional Manual Therapy

Functional manual therapies are unique -using a variety of functional movement techniques to alleviate a wide range of diseases and conditions. Some types of functional manual therapy include targeted techniques that help relieve musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction symptoms.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial Release is the most common manual technique used at Natural Care Chiropractic, and it has many facets to the entire technique. The Myofascial manual therapy technique releases overly tight connective tissue, called fascia, which binds muscle fibers together. To understand how to release fascia, a practitioner needs a detailed understanding of anatomy.

It involves an expert working gently with sustained pressure without machines, oils, or other modalities. You will benefit from this technique if you have muscle knots on the shoulders, neck, and back. It can reduce muscle pain and swell by combining chiropractic spinal adjustment and similar treatments. Most patients can feel a difference after just the first treatment.

Lymphatic Drainage

The lymph nodes are designed to purify and filter the lymph. These lymph nodes create different kinds of lymphocytes. The lymphocytes eliminate harmful substances inside the body, making them a crucial immune system component. 40% of the liquid in the lymph is again reabsorbed by lymph nodes making the lymph thicker. The filtering process and this thickening increase the resistance to the flow of lymph in the body. Researchers have found that lymph nodes result in 15 times more resistance to the flow than the vessel itself. Improving lymphatic drainage can reduce resistance and improve flow.

You open the first lymphatic if a manual therapist performs the lymphatic drainage massage correctly. This increases lymph flow volume by 20 times.

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger points consist of a tight area inside the muscle tissue that can hurt a lot. The body comprises a huge network of intertwined joints, tendons, and muscles. Trigger point therapy helps by tapping into the network to provide relief from common injury-related and chronic pains that are caused by stress and tension.

Functional Isokinetic Techniques

At Natural Care Chiropractic, our experts guide patients in exercise techniques. We also treat patients with stretching protocols designed to increase the functionality of the musculoskeletal system, promote well-being, and eliminate pain.

Pregnancy Relief

You can benefit from therapists trained in pregnancy cases at the clinic. We all know the immense strain on the body during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. It causes intense discomfort and pain. The manual therapist needs to be properly qualified because there are different pressure points and a fetus to deal with too. Certified and trained therapists can ensure relief from chronic pain and increase movement in uncomfortable areas.

Joint Techniques

Manual therapy effectively mobilizes stiff joints and soft tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles without the need for surgery. It is a powerful tool to enable chiropractic assistants to manipulate joints and soft tissues with nothing but their hands. A physiotherapist trained in manual therapy techniques can use their hands to isolate the specific tissues and joints that cause the patient's symptoms.

In many cases, physical therapy involves manual therapy and chiropractic care as part of a personalized treatment routine, but this depends on the cause and severity of the pain. The options at this office include a combination of techniques such as acupuncture and manual therapy, isokinetic movement techniques, and manual muscle and joint manipulation to relieve pain and symptoms. Combining these treatments aims to relieve discomfort and help stiff joints and muscles move freely.

On the preventive side, people need to warm up before engaging in vigorous movement to prevent their muscles from tightening up. We can also help them get better nutrition to keep their muscles supplied with optimal fuel.

Do You Have Muscle Pain?

It is possible to live a fun life and be free from pain. Our team at Natural Care Chiropractic is here to help. Most muscle manipulation therapy treatment plans include treatment programs, including exercises, chiropractic adjustments, and other therapies, but these are not the only treatment modalities used. These therapies are just one of the many ways physical therapists and chiropractors can ease muscle pain and restore bodily functions. You will have to undergo a proper diagnosis to treat your specific condition so that your chiropractor can determine the underlying cause of the pain and treat it along with other symptoms to help you achieve a long-term, pain-free life and optimum health and well-being. A full assessment of the blood supply is carried out, and the therapist carries out a thorough check before the procedure starts; the patient's blood flow and blood pressure are checked to ensure that no further complications occur.​

If you have questions about manual therapy or think one of the above methods would suit you, schedule an appointment at Natural Chiropractic Care or contact us to learn more about our services. You can find more information on our services or schedule an appointment by contacting us directly.

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