Manual Therapy includes several physical treatment techniques that can be used to reduce pain and stiffness. It is a hands-on treatment used to alleviate joint, muscle and soft tissue pain throughout the body. Mobilisation of tissue and joints is the main stay of any physiotherapy treatment approach.
Mobilisation and manipulation are skilled and highly trained movements, used by the physiotherapist to mobilise or manipulate soft tissues and joints for the purpose of reducing pain; increasing range of motion; reducing or eliminating soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction; inducing relaxation; improving tissue flexibility; and improving blood flow.
Mobilisations can be used on both spinal joints and peripheral joints for a multitude of conditions. Manual therapy has an impact on all soft tissues e.g. muscle, ligaments, tendons and nerves as well as the joints themselves.
- Mobilisations are passive movements performed by the physiotherapist on a joint.
- Joint mobilisation is a rhythmic, repetitive, passive movement applied very specifically to an injured or painful joint.
- The depth of application will vary according to the stage of injury or level of pain present.
- These movements can be performed anywhere within the normal range of motion of the joint.
- The purpose of mobilisation is to reduce pain, thereby restoring normal joint movement and function.
- Manipulation is a treatment technique within the practice of manual therapy.
- Less commonly used by physiotherapists but certainly can be used as one treatment option if required.
- A manipulation is a passive, high velocity, low amplitude thrust applied to a joint beyond its physiological limit of motion, but within its anatomical limit, with the intent to restore optimal motion, function, alter muscular tension and /or reduce pain.