Manual Therapy

A manual therapist is a physical therapist that has a specialty in the posture and movement mechanisms. The posture and movement mechanisms consist of muscles, joints and nerves of the spine and limbs. When the joints do not function properly for even a short time, pain or movement limitations can develop. During the examination the therapist makes a distinction between joint, muscle, and nerve function. He or she will use specific tests to investigate these systems, and their interactions. The examination goes beyond the damaged joint since the surrounding body structures greatly influence each other.

Purpose of Manual Therapy

The manual therapist aims to recover normal movement, or to stabilize excessive movement through training. The manual therapist also focuses on improving posture and movement patterns. To reach these goals the manual therapist uses a number of specific mobilization/manipulation techniques that can be applied to the joints. Usually a gentle pushing or pulling of specific body parts can be sufficient. Sometimes the manual therapist supplements these treatments with limited impulse techniques. Joints are moved with a quick impulse or jolt, which can sometimes release a crunching or crackling noise. People generally experience this as temporary unsettling, but not painful. Results are often immediately noticeable, with an improvement in mobility and a decrease in pain.

When to visit a manual therapist?

  • Decreased mobility or pain of one or more joints
  • Head – and or neck pain (possibly in combination with poor mobility of the spinal chord)
  • Neck – and shoulder complaints with or without radiation to the arms
  • Lower back complaints with or without radiation to the legs
  • Upper back complaints between the shoulder blades or thoracic spine, with or without a presence of rib and chest pain
  • Vertigo during neck movement
  • Jaw complaints with or without neck complaints
  • Hip complaints

A manual therapist’s treatment program contains:

  • Improving the function of the total posture and movement mechanisms
  • Providing proper instructions, advice, guidance, etc.
  • Providing insight into healthy movement choices
  • Improving posture and movement patterns through training, medical training therapy
  • Relaxation of muscles through massage, cross bar or dry needling
Recovery and improvement of the posture and movement mechanisms