Written by Mark Buckingham
Definition of Manual therapy techniques: A broad group of skilled hand movements, including but not limited to mobilisation and manipulation, used by the physiotherapist to mobilise or manipulate soft tissues and joints for the purpose of modulating pain; increasing range of motion; reducing or eliminating soft tissue swelling, inflammation, or restriction; inducing relaxation; improving contractile and non-contractile tissue extensibility; and improving blood flow.
Mobilisation can be intertwined with manipulation in its definition. Manipulation can be defined as a more dramatic high velocity movement across a joint or a deeper working of the soft tissues. It all comes down to definition! Certainly Manipulation or ‘putting it back with a crack’ is not the sole preserve of the chiropractor but neither is it necessarily the treatment of choice for every condition or patient. If Physios deem it necessary and safe they will manipulate or ‘crack’ but it is not often necessary or preferred.
Further any manipulation work should be part of a wider treatment plan to address why the area has become stuck or stiff. This is done by looking at the lengths, strengths and movement patterns of the muscles, ligaments and joints, as well as the controlling effects of the nervous system.