Seeing With Our Hands, Not Just Our Eyes

When I was in physical therapy school, a lot of my professors would tell us that as physical therapists we “see not only with our eyes, but also with our hands.”

For a good manual therapist that is absolutely true. We use our palpation skills to look for soft-tissue tension, check for alignment issues, and assess proper motion/movement. We do more than simply ultrasound and exercise you as a patient. There are in fact a plethora of tools at our disposal. Below I’ll describe a few of them for you.

Soft Tissue Mobilization

Often times muscle tension needs to be addressed or joint dysfunction may persist/return. For example, after an injury or surgery, adhesions and scar-tissue may form in the area, limiting normal range of motion (ROM). With soft-tissue mobilization, those adhesions can be broken down. In addition tissue fluids can me moved so swelling is dissipated and circulation can improve.

At ESPT, we are one of the few clinics in the area that offer Sound-Assisted Soft-Tissue Mobilization. By using special tools to help break down the soft-tissue and fascial restrictions, we can better treat ongoing muscle and tendon issues (tendinosus) in ways our competitors can’t.

Joint Mobilization

Muscle spasms can also respond to a restricted joint, so simply heating and stretching an area may not produce lasting results. By mobilizing a stiff joint, we can restore proper movement and range of motion, thus taking stress off of the surrounding muscles. These mobilizations should be painless, but on occasion can be a little painful if the joint is very stiff. In any case, there should be no lasting symptoms after the mobilizations.

At ESPT, we are the only clinic in the area with the ATM2 by Back Project. You can read more about it in our blog here. With the ATM2, we can “reset” your neurological system so that you do not perceive pain. Muscles often respond with guarding/spasm, when we are in pain. By supporting your body with the ATM2 apparatus and eliminating your pain, your muscles will have a chance to relax and return to their normal function, instead of tightening up to protect you.

Muscle Energy Techniques

This is a special technique using voluntary contractions by the patient to mobilize restricted joints and lengthen shortened muscles. This procedure is a little more active as compared to joint mobilizations, since it requires patient interaction to contract certain muscles against a counterforce provided by the therapist. These are tolerated very well and do not usually stress the joint.

High Velocity, Low Amplitude Mobilizations

This is a more aggressive technique that takes a joint to its restrictive barrier and thrusting with a low amplitude to restore proper joint motion. If it is used properly, increased motion and decreased muscle spasm should be noticed immediately. Therapists have to go through special coursework/training in order to perform these mobilizations.

At ESPT, we are fortunate to have the only Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist in the area. You can read about it in our blog here. And Joey is qualified to perform these high velocity, low amplitude mobilizations. Come see him if you have back pain/neck pain that has not improved with physical therapy elsewhere.

In today’s health care environment, physical therapy clinics can no longer just be “gyms.” Patients cannot come in and simply run through exercises. Therapists have to show what they are capable of and how they can provide a unique, professional service that others cannot. We need to prove our worth, so that patients know they are getting quality service and care with their insurance dollar.

If you haven’t experienced any of the above techniques in your physical therapy treatment or would like to find out more about them, feel free to contact us at Elite Sports Physical Therapy @ 510.656.3777.

What Can A Manual Physical Therapist Do For Me?

10-15 minutes

Ten-fifteen minutes. That is typically the amount of time most patients spend with their physical therapist. They are usually greeted by an aide when they arrive, then given some combination of hot packs, ultrasound, or exercise to warm-up. They may start with some exercises after that, then the therapist comes for a brief period to stretch them, do a little hands on work, or instruct them in some new exercises. After that, the patient continues with more of their program with the aide, then they end their session on ice and electrical stimulation. They might be in the clinic for 60-75 minutes, but they don’t spend more than a fraction of that with the PT. Sound familiar?

If that sounds like your physical therapy experience, then you need to look for a new physical therapist. You need to make sure that your insurance dollar is getting the most for you. You need to seek out a new breed of physical therapist. You need a manual physical therapist.

New Era

In this era of rising health care costs, we know people value their money and their time. We don’t want them to waste an hour at our facility thinking: “I could have received that same treatment from my personal trainer” or “I could have found that out from the web and saved myself $50.”

Manual physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy focused on the hands-on approaches used to treat dysfunction, rather than relying on a device or machine. In addition to be healing experience of human touch, manual PT’s are able to affect muscle tissue and mobilize joints in an attempt to decrease muscle spasm/tension and improve joint motion.

Why Doesn’t My PT Do It?

Manual therapy is only a small part of the education a therapist receives in school. Once in practice, many therapists may not spend the time, resources, or energy necessary to become efficient and proficient in this area of practice. And physicians may not have a thorough understanding of the benefits of manual physical therapy.

Manual therapy has been shown to provide relief for those suffering chronic neck and back pain, as well as conditions such as sacroiliac joint dysfunction and frozen shoulder. Whether relief comes once again from the touch of another human, manual technique have been shown effective in improving joint mobility, which can help decrease discomfort and alterations in motion/posture/function.

45 Minutes!!!

At ESPT, we have set ourselves apart by providing you the most 1-on-1 physical therapist time of any clinic in Fremont. By getting 45 minutes with the physical therapist, you can rest assured that we will be able to spend time working with you and assessing your treatment and progress in ways that other clinics cannot.

At ESPT, you will receive hands-on care at each and every physical therapy treatment. With manual therapy (and 3x as much PT time as some clinics are offering), you will have the experience of a licensed PT working to normalize your flexibility and mobility. Through soft-tissue work and joint mobilization, you will see firsthand why it’s important to have that “hands-on” approach in rehabilitation.

At ESPT, we have the city’s only Certified Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapist. You can meet him here. And he will provide you with treatment that you cannot receive anywhere else.

If you want the best physical therapy care in 2010, contact us at Elite Sports Physical Therapy (510.656.3777).