Hands-on Physical Therapy

When we speak about hands-on physical therapy we’re referring to an area of profession that is manual therapy. It is a clinical approach that uses specific hands-on methods to treat and identify musculoskeletal pain and symptoms of an injury and /or illness. Several people are confused by the various types of physical therapy and the perks they provide. Here I’ll describe Hands-On physical therapy. So, when it comes to physical therapy, there are two basic approaches to treatment: 

  • Hands-On and 
  • Hands-Off.

Hands-On Vs Hands-Off Physical Therapy

Hands-on physical therapy tries to reach and attend to the root of the problem. This procedure involves hand-operated contact with the patient and mechanical tasks on the body.

Hands-on therapy requires time and knowledge vested, to actually affect the tissue mechanically. Normally, this is  performed by the therapist. Hence, it is more likely to have a long-lasting effect and gives the patient some tools to use on their own for continual progress

On the Other hand, Hands-off physical therapy tries to treat the symptoms of an underlying ailment. This strategy uses methods that may introduce hot or cold agents, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and related therapeutic practices.

Hands off physical therapy require less knowledge and are usually applied by a technician, who would use a “set it and forget it” kind of approach. Thus, Hands-off is inclined to give you “instant gratification”, while the result won’t be long-lasting.

Hands-On Physical Therapy uses what kind of Techniques?

 Hands-On physical therapy uses manual techniques, which require touch and contact between the therapist’s hands and the patient’s body. So, Hands-On therapy may comprise of:

  • Active/passive range of motion
  • Mobilizations
  • Myofascial release techniques
  • Massage
  • Craniosacral therapy techniques

You should evaluate yourself before making the decision to opt for hands-on physical therapy. 

Warning signs that you should evaluate 

  • Do you have musculoskeletal pain or issue (problem with muscles, bones and or joints), which is due to recent onset/injury?
  • Conversely, Do you have a chronic problem, which wasn’t addressed properly in the past?
  • You think you have a problem, which was undiagnosed or misdiagnosed?
  • You already went through a course of routine therapy in one of those mill PT operations that use techs and assistants, lots of machines and minimal/no human touch. They “milked” your insurance money but did not help you at all.
  • You took help from a chiropractor or massage therapist and it healed you, but only briefly?
  • You just delivered a baby and have been having back and hip issues and have been told: “it is from your pregnancy”?

These are some of the common inquiries one should evaluate and think about before they go to a therapist. 

Techniques used in Hands-on physical therapy:

  • Myofascial Release
  • Joint Mobilization
  • Visceral Manipulation
  • Craniosacral Therapy                    

Basic aim or approach in hands-on physical therapy

The main approach is to combine physical therapy modalities with various osteopathic techniques to treat the whole person. So, when patients’ pain has subsided, therapists teach their patients how to remain pain-free with therapeutic exercises.

Diseases or injuries which can be cured by hands-on physical therapy

Sports or exercise injuries can be the result of training mishaps, incorrect warm-up methods, shock from a fall or other accident ending in a physical injury.

1. ARTHRITIS Arthritis means swelling of the joints. There are distinct pain and difficulty moving with these conditions.

2. FATIGUE AND PAIN An instance would be a Fibromyalgia diagnosis. Fibromyalgia is an aching ailment which is a boundless soft tissue pain, tiredness, sleep difficulties, and areas of tenderness in the body.

Hands-on Physical Therapy
carpal tunnel syndrome

3. SPRAINS OR MUSCLE INJURIES These injuries can result from slip and fall accidents, repetitive motion injuries, and other incidents causing a physical injury. This can combine wounded areas such as the arms, shoulder, knees, feet, ankles. Similarly, they can affect hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. Treating Neck pain can also happen with the help of physical therapy.

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