Manual Physical Therapy for Pain
By Western Berks on March 22nd, 2018
Modalities vs. Manual Therapy
Some patients arrive at their first physical therapy appointment expecting to receive hot packs and instructions on how to complete a series of exercises. Electrical muscle stimulation, heat and ice are all considered modalities. A modality is a type of electrical, thermal or mechanical energy that causes physiological change to relieve pain. To explain more, our friends at Western Berks Physical Therapy made a handy little video below!
So what other treatments are available other than modalities?
This brings us to Manual physical therapy! Manual physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy delivered with the hands as opposed to a modality. In manual therapy, therapists use their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue and manipulate joints to decrease pain. Manual physical therapy is proven to restore mobility to stiff joints and reduce muscle tension in order to return you to more natural movement without pain. It can also provide effective relief for patients with chronic and acute back pain from soft tissue injuries such as a back muscle strain or a pulled ligament.
WARNING: NOT ALL PHYSICAL THERAPY CLINICS ARE CREATED EQUAL!
While all physical therapists have the option to use manual therapy in their practices, many therapists don’t spend the time or the resources to become proficient in this area of practice. Make sure to research physical therapy providers near you before making your decision on where to attend therapy! Remember that YOU have the choice of where you would like to go for therapy. When a physician provides a prescription for physical therapy, it can be “filled” wherever YOU want, not where the doctor tells you. Some physicians with their own physical therapy office will tell their patients that they must use the doctor’s facility for rehabilitation. That is simply not true! In fact, it is unlawful to practice what is known as “self-referral”. We suggest finding a provider who is highly skilled in manual therapy and one that uses manual techniques aimed at relaxing tense muscles and restricted joints in order to decrease pain and increase flexibility.