Common Manual PT Techniques

Manual therapy is a very common technique in physical therapy. It involves placing targeted pressure on soft tissue and bones to lower pain, reduce stiffness, and help the body heal.

Here are some common manual therapy techniques you may see in a physical therapy setting:

Soft Tissue Mobilization
This approach works to break up muscle tissue, which can reduce inflammation and stiffness. A physical therapist may accomplish this by stretching and applying pressure to certain ligaments and muscles.

Joint Mobilization
Joint mobilization occurs when a physical therapist applies pressure to a joint to boost range of motion and aid mobility. This technique works well for those with tight and painful joints.

Myofascial Release
This treatment involves targeting the fascia, the thick tissue that covers all the bones and muscles in the body. Using this technique, the specialist will find stiff or problematic areas in the fascia and work to improve them.

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Strain-Counterstrain Therapy
Strain-counterstrain therapy is when a physical therapist holds your body in certain positions for about 90 seconds. This involves the sensory receptors within your muscles, helping them relax and heal.

Dry Needling
Dry needling is a technique that targets trigger points throughout the body. These trigger points are stiff areas of muscle fiber. To start the treatment, a physical therapist inserts thin needles into these areas to promote blood flow, improve tension, and reduce pain. Dry needling is typically used alongside other PT treatments, such as therapeutic exercise.

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