Understanding Manual Manipulation

Understanding Manual Manipulation

November 27, 2020 / Daniel J. Kraus, D.C.

Manual manipulation, also referred to as manual therapy, is a special form of physical therapy. Manual comes from the Latin word “manus,” which means hands. This etymology gives you a hint that this method takes advantage of your therapist’s own hands to manage your condition. Manual manipulation works best as a complementary treatment to traditional physical therapy techniques.


Here’s how it works:

What Is Manual Manipulation?

Manual manipulation is a specialized form of physical treatment often used in conjunction with regular physical therapy techniques. While physical therapy often uses devices, machines or other modalities, manual manipulation largely involves your therapist’s hands. At Terrapin Care Center, we will use our hands to apply pressure to your affected muscles and tissues, as well as manipulate painful joints in your body.

Manual manipulation primarily intends to relax your tense muscles and restricted joints. As your physical therapist performs this “hands-on” technique, you’ll gradually experience reduced pain and improved range of motion. It’s an effective way to manage both acute and chronic pain for those with disc herniations, rotator cuff injuries and other musculoskeletal disorders.

How Is It Different Than Massage Therapy?

Manual manipulation and massage therapy may seem similar. However, there’s a difference between these two methods. Manual manipulation involves using skilled, hands-on maneuvers to perform soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release and more. The goal is to evaluate, diagnose or even treat underlying muscle or joint conditions. It can also be used as a complementary treatment to other management options, specifically when it comes to increasing range of motion and reducing pain.

Massage therapy, on the other hand, focuses on improving and maintaining your overall well-being. While it can also relieve pain brought by medical conditions, it’s primarily used to reduce stress and anxiety. It also helps promote relaxation, flexibility and better blood circulation.

At Terrapin Care Center, we may include both manual manipulation and massage therapy as part of your treatment plan. To learn more about these methods and other effective pain management options, get in touch with us today at (301) 220-1930. You may also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve residents in Silver Spring, MD, and the surrounding communities.