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Manual Therapy

Manual physical therapy is a specialized form of therapy which is given via hands as opposed to any machine or device.  In manual therapy practitioners make use of their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue and manipulates with joints to decrease back pain caused by muscle spasm, muscle tension, joint dysfunction, or displacement.


Manual therapies could conceivably boast the longest tradition in analgesic history, being reportedly undertaken in the earliest writings on medicine. It is an ubiquitous approach to musculoskeletal pain that offers immediate pain relief, improvements in tissue healing, reductions in anxiety and fear of movement, pleasurable and rewarding tactile stimulation, increased motivation to replicate pain relieving movement and a window of opportunity to relearn pain free movement memories through repetition and active involvement in rehabilitation process. Manual therapy is associated with some minor adverse events (treatment soreness – which actually may be a component of its effect) however major adverse events are rare and clinical and cost effectiveness is good. It is not surprising that MT approaches to pain relief continue to be undertaken by therapists with large proportions of musculoskeletal pain patients.


Manual therapies for the treatment of back pain:

·         Heat therapy:  This therapy is useful for other conditions such as legs or hand pain also.  Symptoms of acute and sub-acute low-back pain can be healed by it.  A hot bath or whirlpool or a heat wrap are also some of the therapies through which patients feel relaxed.  In some cases, even the cold compression therapies (ice pr cold pack application) may also be effective in the healing of back pain.

·         Massage therapy:  This therapy, if done by an experienced therapist, can provide the best relief. But with the help of this therapy only short term relief is seen.  Rather than classic (Swedish) massage acupressure or pressure point massage may be more beneficial. 


·         Exercises:  This can be an effective approach to reduce pain.  But some exercises should be done under supervision of a licensed health professional.  Generally the stretching exercises are known to be the best for the back treatment.  It is not only helpful in curing small time back pains but is also effective for long lasting back pain.

·         Acupuncture and Physical therapies are also some of the manual therapies.


Manual therapy is useful for treating joints that lack mobility and range of motions in certain musculo-skeletal conditions.  This therapy restores mobility to stiff joints and reduces muscle tension and provides relief to patients with acute pains and certain chronic pains.


The main objective of manual therapy is to reduce pain quickly in order to allow the return of normal movement. Manula therapy will help to get you better quicker.


Many practitioners undertake manual therapy, Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists with extra post-graduate training. Physiotherapists with post-graduate training can offer a comprehensive rehabilitation program designed to get you better quicker. An example of a group of Physiotherapists who have undertaken specialist manual therapy training is the Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists (

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The Harley Street Hospital


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