Have you recently sustained an injury, undergone a surgery, or been diagnosed with an illness that’s causing you pain? If so, it is likely that you would benefit from manual physical therapy. Some people are apprehensive about physical therapy treatments, but there is no reason to be!
We receive many first-time physical therapy patients who come in thinking their treatments will be uncomfortable, painful, or even agonizing, due to the condition they are in. However, that is not the case at all! Our Kauai physical therapists have several tools in their arsenal that are meant to relieve your pain, while simultaneously improving your body’s function. If you are seeking relief and recovery, contact Hawaii Sports and Balance Center today to set up a consultation!
Is manual therapy safe?
We’d first like to ease your mind by saying YES – manual therapy is extremely safe! Just a couple of the greatest aspects of manual therapy is that it is non-invasive and it doesn’t require any harmful medications. Instead, our licensed physical therapists use a variety of techniques that help move your tendons, ligaments, and joints in ways that focus on pain relief and healing. They also help in minimizing swelling and reducing scar tissue.
Our Kauai physical therapists are highly-trained medical professionals who understand both the capabilities and limitations of your body. In fact, you may notice relief and/or improvement after just one session of manual therapy!
What exactly is manual therapy?
Manual therapy is a specialized physical therapy treatment that allows certified physical therapists to manipulate joints and mobilize soft tissue or joints with nothing more than their hands. That’s right – no intimidating equipment or machines, just hands. This form of treatment helps in relieving pain, decreasing restriction, mobilizing joints, reducing swelling, and increasing your range of motion. In order to achieve this, one of our experienced Kauai physical therapists will manipulate different parts of the body through massage and stretching.
What are the different types of manual physical therapy?
There are several different types of manual therapy. Some of the most common include, but are not limited to:
- Massage – When you participate in physical therapy massage treatments, they may seem a little different than those you might receive at a spa. Physical therapy massages are meant to be more therapeutic in nature, rather than relaxing. Our Kauai physical therapists use massage treatments as a way to mobilize the soft tissues, in order to break up any scar tissue or adhesions in the affected body part. This is done through deep pressure and rhythmic stretching, allowing the physical therapist to find and mobilize areas of your body that are heavily restricted.
- Manual traction – When our physical therapists perform manual traction, they will apply a gentle force to a certain area of the body, in order to stretch it out. The neck is the most common part of the body to receive manual traction treatments; however, it is possible that your physical therapist may recommend manual traction on other parts of the body as well. To treat neck pain with manual traction, your physical therapist will have you lie down on your back, and then they will gently take the base of your skull in one hand and your chin in the other, in order to stretch the spaces between your vertebrae. This is typically done for 5-10 seconds at a time.
- Lymphatic drainage – Lymphedema is a condition that causes swelling in the arms and legs, due to a blockage in the lymphatic system. It is typically a concern for those who undergo complex surgical procedures. If you are suffering from lymphedema, one of our Kauai physical therapists can perform manual lymphatic drainage by applying light pressure (similar to a massage) on the affected arm or leg, in order to encourage the drainage of fluid, or “lymph.” Lymphatic drainage is typically followed by compression, in order to reduce swelling.
- Mobilization/manipulation – You may experience severe pain after an injury as a result of a restricted joint. Our physical therapists are trained in loosening restricted joints by applying pressure at a low velocity called mobilization. Thrust manipulation or High-Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) manipulation involves moving a joint or spinal segment at a high speed sometimes producing an audible pop, is also considered manual therapy. Spinal and joint manipulation is an advanced technique that not all physical therapists are trained to perform. Our physical therapists have years of post-graduate education, fellowship training in orthopedic manual therapy. Joint manipulation When performed correctly, manipulation and mobilization techniques are painless, considered safe, effective, and a conservative alternative to medication and surgery. They also allow for an increased range of motion, in addition to the breakdown of the joint’s barrier.
Is manual therapy right for me?
Our Kauai physical therapists are highly trained in diagnosing and treating movement disorders. Many of these disorders can occur following surgery, especially if you have undergone a total joint replacement. However, many physicians will also prescribe physical therapy treatments for injuries, accidents, or illnesses – essentially, anything that makes you feel weak and unable to function at your optimum physical level.
Your treatment plan will likely include several different therapies, all aimed at helping a specific function of your body. Some exercises may focus on increasing your range of motion, while others may focus on improving your balance and strength. Manual therapy is a crucial part of a recovery plan, as it helps to minimize inflammation, reduce pain and swelling, and increase your range of motion. If you are interested in learning more about the many benefits of manual therapy, Contact Us Today at Lihue & Kapa’a, HI Centers! Our dedicated physical therapists will be happy to meet with you to get you moving once again.