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Part 2: Get to know OMPT better! Manual Therapy


This week, we bring you PART 2 of our month-long series designed to help you get to know OMPT better. Our focus this week is on manual therapy and how it plays a role in our practice.


The IFOMPT (International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists) defines manual therapy techniques as "skilled hand movements intended to produce any or all of the following effects: improve tissue extensibility; increase range of motion (ROM); mobilize or manipulate soft tissues and joints; induce relaxation; change muscle function; stabilize the joint complex; modulate pain; reduce soft tissue swelling, inflammation or movement restriction."

There is a lot of debate in the performance physical therapy world surrounding the exact role and evidence supporting the use of manual therapy in rehab and recovery. However, the most commonly agreed-upon and evidence-supported use of manual therapy is the ability to influence pain modulation. Pain modulation is a complex process in which the body can manage how pain is perceived all along the pain pathway (nervous system). Manual therapy intervention can produce effects to calm both the peripheral and central nervous systems and, therefore, help inhibit pain to allow for improved movement and functional use of a particular body area.

Manual therapy is considered a "passive" treatment in clinical practice, meaning the intervention is passively performed on the client. We feel it is crucial to emphasize the importance of "active" treatments to facilitate long-term pain relief and improved movement patterns. Active treatments include dynamic mobility drills, strength training drills, balance activities, and any activity where the client is an active participant.

However, when utilized effectively, manual therapy can be used to address many facets of the physical therapy process:

  1. Desensitize a painful area, change how the brain perceives this area, and prime the nervous system to prepare for active intervention.

  2. Increase blood flow to the area to change the local tissue environment.

  3. Change how the tissues in the area are sliding and gliding relative to one another to improve the target area's range of motion and overall mobility.

  4. Use reasons 1-3 to create an opportunity to improve movement patterning and movement quality.

At OMPT, we use manual therapy to address the above factors in the clinic and provide an opportunistic window to follow manual therapy treatment with active interventions. These active interventions should focus on maintaining the short-term changes gained from manual therapy intervention.We will highlight the various forms and applications of manual therapy for particular injuries or body parts in future Wellness Wednesday installments!

For now, if you'd like to learn a little more, check out this video about Scraping Basics! And, for a deeper dive about manual therapy, take a look at this Journal Article.


Saturday, May 21, 2022 @ 9:30 AM PDT Click the link below to sign-up! Or send us an email:


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Questions about how manual therapy can be integrated into your regime?

Or have questions about what activities should follow manual therapy?

Reach out; we are here to help!

-Nicole and the OMPT Team

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