The physical therapy field offers a wide variety of treatment options, and different practices incorporate different combinations of therapies to offer their patients. While many PT groups may choose to utilize modalities (treatments based on electrical currents, application of heat or cold, or even sound waves), Synergy Physical Therapy is proud to focus purely on manual therapy.
If you’re wondering how our process is different, think of it this way: when you take your car into an average mechanic, they may change your oil, rotate your tires, and change your air filter. It’s a routine set of steps that doesn’t vary much car to car, and relies on a standard set of tools and machines to get the job done. This is what happens at a modality-based physical therapy clinic, where each patient is treated with a routine set of therapies. Now, imagine you took your car to an automotive specialist who takes the time to study your car before deciding on a course of action. This specialist chooses to understand the intricacies of your unique vehicle, and skillfully repairs specific problem areas by hand. This is manual therapy, and it’s what makes Synergy so special.
So, what exactly is manual therapy, and why do we use it?
The word “manual” comes from the Latin word “manualis,” which means "of or belonging to the hand.” When we refer to manual therapy at Synergy Physical Therapy, that’s exactly what we’re talking about—a hands-on approach that requires extensive training and skillful techniques to strengthen and repair musculoskeletal injuries and limitations throughout the body. Rather than spending time on passive modalities, like heat, ice and ultrasound, we prefer hands-on techniques that result in more successful outcomes. Although our process and treatment options vary depending on the individual patient, at Synergy Physical Therapy we typically focus on three types of manual therapies: joint and soft tissue mobilization, dry needling, and functional training.
First, let’s get you moving.
With joint and soft tissue mobilization, we physically help move your joints—and the muscles, ligaments, and connective tissue around them—to help them get back to moving normally. This is done by hand, and the therapists at Synergy are educated and expertly-trained to understand exactly how your body needs to move to restore functionality. These specific movements can help relax tight muscles, increase your range of motion, and get blood flowing to damaged tissue to help it heal. It can also help break down scar tissue.
Joint and soft tissue mobilization can help treat a lot of common problems we see in our patients: things like tennis elbow, golf elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, ankle or knee sprains, and tendinitis in the biceps, rotator cuff, heel, or knee.
Next up, dry needling. (We promise, this is better than it sounds).
Any treatment that has “needle” in the name might seem a bit unpleasant, but dry needling is not as scary as it sounds. Dry needling is a technique we use to help relieve pain by targeting trigger points, which are specific areas of tight muscles that may be very sensitive to touch. The word “dry” in dry needling is just a different way of saying the needles being used don’t contain any medication.
The dry needling process is very simple. We use very thin, sterile needles to target the sensitive area in question. When we insert the needle through the skin, it will stimulate the trigger point, as well as the muscular and connective tissue. Once the needle is inserted, we twist it so that the tissue wraps around the needle and the body’s natural healing process works to take care of the rest and loosen the area.
When we use this technique, along with other therapies, it can help relieve your pain and muscle tension and give you better range of motion.
Time to get strong.
Now that we have your muscles moving and flexible, we focus on functional training— the act of putting your body through movements against gravity that build your strength and get you back to top form. Without functional training, old body mechanics may return and the tight muscle and ligaments that we worked so hard to loosen will come back. With a functional approach, we’ll have you working multiple muscles and joints together in a way that mimics your normal work, home, or sports activities while emphasizing core strength and stability. By looking at the body as a whole during this hands-on approach, we are able to make the entire chain of your body’s components work together and function at peak performance.
We are focused on you.
In order to ensure a successful treatment path, our patients receive personalized therapy plans developed by our therapists to address individual goals and needs. Our specialized manual techniques and training programs help patients experience a faster recovery and return to the activities they enjoy.
We believe in empowering you to take control of your recovery and well-being, and we provide all the tools you need to make that happen. To help you learn more about what course of therapy may be right for you, and to learn more about Synergy Physical Therapy, we also offer free consultations.
Synergy Physical Therapy is a Scottsdale-based, highly specialized rehabilitation clinic committed to helping patients meet their performance, health, and life goals. If you need help healing, whether from a sports injury, accident, or surgery, please feel free to contact us at 480.767.0794 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.