Manual Therapy

Definition of manual therapy

From a clinical perspective, manual therapy can be defined as an approach that is used in the diagnosis and treatment of soft tissues and joints. In most cases, the strategy is adopted by healthcare practitioners to modulate pain, increase levels of motion, eliminate inflammation, induce relaxation, improve tissue repair, and improve physiological functions of body organs and tissues (Bialosky, Bishop, Price, Robinson & George, 2009; Miller et al., 2010).

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It is critical to underscore that the approach is applied based on the conditions of a patient, and it involves a “collection of procedures by which the hands directly contact the body to treat various conditions” (Bialosky et al., 2009, p. 532).

Examples of manual therapy techniques

Healthcare professionals use many techniques of manual therapy to help patients to attain improved outcomes. Spinal manipulation is utilized to improve articulations in relation to synovial joints. The approach has been found to be effective toward reducing back pain and neck pain. In addition, research shows that it produces better outcomes with regard to non-musculoskeletal manipulation compared with verbal strategies (Bialosky et al., 2009).

Acupressure is a form of alternative medicine technique that is applied on the principle of energy that flows along specific channels in the body. It helps to clear blockages, manage nausea and vomiting, reduce lower back pain, and eliminate stomach ache, among others. In comparison with acupuncture, this technique has been established to provide temporary relief, while acupuncture helps persons to achieve long-term health benefits (Porter, 2008).

Massage is another manual therapy technique that involves manipulation of different muscles to improve biological functions, reduce levels of muscle reflex activity, improve relaxation, and the wellbeing of patients. It is also documented that massaging can be used as a recreational activity in many settings across the world. It is important to note that massaging is mostly exemplified by touches that provide the targeted body parts with substantial pressure (Miller et al., 2010).

Lastly, physiotherapy is concerned with correcting impairments and disabilities, leading to improvements in mobility and physiological functions. The clinical approach is applied in the contexts of men’s and women’s health problems to improve care outcomes. For example, female reproductive issues are addressed using the strategy (Porter, 2008).

Education, scope of practice, and treatment claims

There is a lot of information that is available in relation to the use of various techniques of manual therapy. It is indicated that nurses and other workers in healthcare facilities are educated about the applications of the clinical procedures that would culminate in better patients’ outcomes. The scope of practice with regard to manual therapy is very wide, and it is used in both inpatient and outpatient settings. In both settings, treatments are offered to provide both long-term and short-term benefits (Porter, 2008).

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A case study

Mr. XYZ was a 50-year-old male who presented with severe knee joint pain. Although he had been using painkillers, he stated that they did not provide sufficient pain relieving benefits. After a thorough patient history was taken, his knees were assessed, including the levels of movement.

Later, postural evaluation was conducted, and neurological tests carried out. The tests confirmed that the connective tissue of the knees was not functioning normally. The physiotherapist attending to him used ‘hands-on’ techniques that included taping. The procedures were administered for a period of one month, and the patient improved tremendously. However, it was suggested that he should be visiting the facility once every two weeks so that his healthcare status could be monitored.


Bialosky, J. E., Bishop, M. D., Price, D. D., Robinson, M. E., & George, S. Z. (2009). The mechanisms of manual therapy in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain: a comprehensive model. Manual therapy, 14(5), 531-538.

Miller, J., Gross, A., D’Sylva, J., Burnie, S. J., Goldsmith, C. H., Graham, N.,… & Hoving, J. L. (2010). Manual therapy and exercise for neck pain: a systematic review. Manual therapy, 15(4), 334-354.

Porter, S. (2008). Tidy’s physiotherapy. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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