Manual Therapy

Michael L. Reed

Updated 6/2014

Many clinicians including osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists have undergone specialized training to develop the skill-sets to evaluate and treat patients with spinal disorders using various hands-on techniques. Simply, these practitioners utilize the strength and directed influence of their hands and bodies to impart forces on the soft tissues, bony elements, and joints of patients as a means of favorably impacting the local, regional and global musculoskeletal system.

A brief list of terminology often used by these practitioners to describe their techniques includes:

  • Mobilization

  • Manipulation

  • Oscillation

  • Effleurage

  • Traction

These techniques can involve a variety of positions, passive or assistive efforts, and purposeful forces based on the determination of the stage of tissue healing, associated movement restriction, and desired biomechanical and vascular responses.

Typically, aside from optimal positioning and stabilization to gain leverage, equipment is not necessary. This is truly a hands-on approach.