Wellness Embodied Blog

What is manual therapy?
Manual therapy is a technique that is applied by hand from the physiotherapist, and has a neurophysiological effect that can modulate and reduce pain. It is an umbrella term and it consists of a variety of different techniques, such as joint mobilisation and soft tissue release techniques.

What does manual therapy do?
In the past, it was thought that manual therapy can physically put structures that are “at fault” or “malaligned” back into places. However, more recent scientific evidence has shown that manual therapy does not work this way. Manual therapy actually provides a neurophysiological effect which reduces inflammatory substances, and deceases pain sensitivity. It also helps reduce muscle spasms, and increase dopamine release, which in turn, reduces pain.

There have been arguments about whether manual therapy is effective, and whether it should be performed. Manual therapy is certainly beneficial if it is used correctly, and regularly in the beginning stage of rehabilitation, as it facilitates movement, reduces pain, breaks down patients’ pain cycle and provides a window for them to exercise. With reduced pain and correct movement, patients can perform specific exercises that can get them stronger, which would ultimately help them to recover from the injury and prevent future injuries. Research evidence has suggested that manual therapy combining with exercises is effective in treating many different musculoskeletal conditions such as neck pain and back pain.

In order to obtain the greatest effect and best outcome with manual therapy, it needs to applied regularly in the acute phase of the injury, so that it can effectively desensitise the painful body structure. Therefore, your physiotherapist may see you twice to three times a week in the acute phase. When the pain is more settled, more time would be spent in exercise and less in hands-on treatment, and your treating physiotherapist may catch up with you every one to two weeks, and progressively work towards self-management.


If you have an injury or any aches or pains and would like a physiotherapy appointment in one of our 2 Cairns clinics, please call our friendly staff on 07 42319777 or visit our online booking page

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