On Track Physiotherapy

Manual Therapy in Ann Arbor

Find Lasting Relief Through Manual Therapy at On Track Physiotherapy

Have nagging injuries, chronic pain, or muscle tightness held you back from living an active, healthy lifestyle? At On Track Physiotherapy in Ann Arbor, our expert physical therapists specialize in manual therapy – a hands-on approach that can help you finally achieve long-lasting pain relief.

Whether you’re an athlete wanting to get back in the game or someone who just wants to garden or play with your kids pain-free, our proven manual therapy techniques can help you regain mobility and improve function without medication or surgery.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover:

  • What manual therapy is and how it works
  • The science-backed benefits it provides
  • How it differs from traditional physical therapy
  • FAQs about our highly-effective techniques
  • And exactly how our experienced therapists customize care to help you thrive

If you’re ready to ditch annoying aches and pains holding you back from the activities you love, read on to see if manual therapy at On Track Physiotherapy can help.

What is Manual Therapy Exactly?

You’ve likely heard the term before, but what is manual therapy exactly?

Simply put, manual therapy uses hands-on techniques to treat painful musculoskeletal conditions and improve movement. Some of the most common methods include:

  • Joint mobilization – Low-velocity, rhythmic movements to restore joint mobility
  • Muscle energy techniques – Contractions and stretches to release tight muscles
  • Myofascial release – Applying gentle pressure to relax connective tissue
  • Trigger point therapy – Isolating and deactivating tight muscle fibers

Collectively, these hands-on techniques reduce pain, improve joint motion, relax muscles, and correct postural imbalances. Research confirms manual therapy provides lasting relief better than pain medication or other passive treatments alone. At On Track Physiotherapy, our experienced physical therapists use advanced manual techniques to identify the root causes of your pain. We dig deeper than just treating surface-level symptoms.

Our goal is to pinpoint stiff joints, adhesive muscle trigger points, myofascial restrictions, and postural dysfunctions throwing your body out of whack…then use specialized hands-on treatments to systematically address each issue.

The result? Long-term pain relief and improved function so you can get back to playing hard.
And since manual therapy is drug-free, the benefits continue even after you complete therapy. No worrying about addiction or worsening issues later on.
If you’re still suffering from nagging injuries, chronic back pain, stiff joints, poor flexibility, or muscle tightness after other failed treatments, manual therapy may be the solution you’ve been searching for.

The Proven Benefits of Manual Therapy

Thousands of scientific studies validate the effectiveness of manual therapy for treating a wide array of neuromusculoskeletal conditions.

Here are just a few ways our hands-on techniques can help you feel and function better:

1. Reduced Pain and Improved Mobility
Manual therapy’s hands-on techniques like joint mobilization and myofascial release directly address sources of pain like stiff joints, muscle trigger points, and connective tissue restrictions. As these issues improve, pain diminishes while mobility increases – leading to better function during daily activities. One study found a single session of manual therapy decreased pain by 32% while improving spinal mobility by 23%. A major 2010 review determined manual techniques effectively reduce back and shoulder pain better than inactive treatments.

2. Enhanced Range of Motion and Flexibility
Limited flexibility and stiffness making everyday tasks difficult? Manual therapy can help. Methods like muscle energy techniques gradually restore soft tissue extensibility and joint ROM. And trigger point release inhibits overactive muscle fibers pulling your body out of alignment.

Over time, these hands-on treatments enhance flexibility while normalizing motion – whether reaching overhead, looking left and right, or tying your shoes.
In one RCT of patients with chronic neck pain, manual therapy increased cervical ROM by 35% after just four sessions. Imagine gaining that type of motion in stiff, painful areas holding you back.

3. Faster Healing and Tissue Repair
Manual techniques like massage promote blood flow and circulation to injured areas. This transports vital nutrients and oxygen essential for healing damaged tissues. Increased blood flow also reduces swelling and flushes waste products. One study confirmed manual lymphatic drainage enhanced lymph flow by over 200%! By kickstarting physiological healing processes, our hands-on treatments can accelerate recovery after injuries and surgeries. So you get back on your feet faster.

4. Improved Posture and Body Awareness
Poor posture stresses your body and alters alignment, contributing to painful degenerative changes over time. Manual therapy identifies and corrects these postural faults. Our therapists also teach proper body mechanics and self-treatment techniques so you continue improving long after therapy. Enhanced body awareness through manual therapy reduces your risk of injuries – both in sports and while performing daily activities. So you keep from sabotaging all the progress made during recovery.

How Manual Therapy Differs from Traditional Physical Therapy

Haven’t had success with traditional PT? Manual therapy takes rehab to the next level. While standard physical therapy utilizes modalities like heat, ultrasound, and basic exercises, manual techniques directly treat the source of pain and dysfunction.

Through advanced assessments, our therapists pinpoint specific impaired tissues before using specialized hands-on treatments to systematically restore normal mobility. And since you play an active role during manual therapy sessions, you better understand how your body moves and what optimal alignment feels like. Empowering you to continue progress long after completing therapy.

Ultimately, manual therapy fixes the root causes of pain rather than just managing symptoms. Resulting in improved function and a higher quality of life.

FAQs About Manual Therapy

Still have some questions about manual therapy and how it can help you? Here are answers to some of the most common questions we get from patients:

What’s the difference between manual therapy and massage therapy?
While massage therapy works on superficial muscle layers using generalized techniques, manual therapy targets deeper tissues and joint restrictions using advanced, localized methods. Dr. Morgan Kennedy with DPT, TPI, FDN, CIMT, CAFS first assesses where impairments originate and then applies specific hands-on treatments to efficiently restore mobility and reduce pain. So manual therapy provides longer-lasting relief by addressing the actual root causes of your symptoms.

What are some different manual therapy techniques?
As mentioned earlier, popular techniques include:
Joint mobilization – Restoring mobility to stiff joints
Muscle energy – Using contractions to relieve muscle tightness
Myofascial release – Releasing connective tissue trigger points
Trigger point therapy – Inactivating tight muscle fibers

However, our therapists draw from over a dozen advanced manual therapy methods to address each patient’s unique presentation. We go beyond the basics.

What is the most commonly accepted form of manual therapy?
The most researched and utilized type of manual therapy is spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) – applying controlled force to restore segmental motion to the spine. Hundreds of studies confirm SMT effectively reduces back and neck pain. Cochrane Reviews determine SMT provides similar pain relief as NSAIDS and muscle relaxers. SMT is frequently used in combination with other hands-on soft tissue methods for optimal, lasting pain relief.

Why is manual therapy used?
Manual therapy treats a variety of painful conditions including:

  • Chronic back & neck pain
  • Joint injuries like sprains, strains
  • Tendinopathies (tendinitis, tendinosis)
  • Post-surgical scar tissue & adhesions
  • Myofascial pain & trigger points
  • Headache disorders
  • TMJ dysfunction

Basically, if you have an injury, restricted motion, or chronic pain limiting activity, manual therapy likely helps! Our proven hands-on techniques address the specific cause of YOUR pain for customized, effective relief.

Restore Pain-Free Movement with Manual Therapy

As you can see, manual therapy offers distinct benefits beyond standard physical therapy. From decreased pain to enhanced motion, it can be the missing link helping you finally overcome injuries once and for all.

On Track Physiotherapy features certified specialists in manual techniques including spinal manipulation, muscle energy, myofascial release, and more. We find and fix the root cause of your pain using advanced hands-on treatments you won’t find elsewhere.

Our goal isn’t just to get you back to exercising or doing hobbies pain-free – it’s to improve total body function so you pursue everything meaningful in your life. To see if manual therapy is right for you, schedule an evaluation today with one of our skilled therapists specializing in customized hands-on care.

Stop letting pain or loss of function steal away the activities you love. Take control and start feeling your best again through proven manual therapy techniques perfected over years of experience. We can’t wait to partner with you as together we get you back to thriving instead of just surviving.

Contact us to schedule consultation

About The Author

Dr. Greg Schaible, a Physical Therapist specializing in Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Sports Rehab, puts patients at the forefront of their care. With years of experience, he guides individuals towards achieving their best selves. At On Track Physiotherapy in Ann Arbor, Dr. Greg Schaible crafts individualized plans using cutting-edge techniques, empowering patients to overcome limitations and thrive.

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Jill B

UPDATED 2022: Outstanding and highly recommend! I have been seeing Greg for the last 8 weeks at On Track Physiotherapy for foot/ankle pain & weakness. I had an injury earlier this year that resulted in a torn tendon and plantar fasciitis. I am happy to report that I am no longer living in chronic pain and have regained much of my strength. I am again able to enjoy activities like walking my dog, working out, and just simply being able to do the daily tasks of life pain-free. Thanks for getting me back on my feet again! I saw Greg Schaible for post-rehab fitness training after recovering from a neck injury. I wanted to make a lifestyle change and get in shape, but had a lot of fear about re-injuring myself. As a physical therapist, Greg understood my situation. He combined his PT and fitness/strength training knowledge to develop a safe and practical fitness program. Training was new to me, but Greg made me feel very comfortable during the learning process. He also provided online videos of the exercises, and was always available to answer questions. I never would have believed I could ever lose 50 pounds, run 3 miles or lift a weight over 10 pounds, but I accomplished all those goals. Investing in my health and utilizing this service is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am so glad I didn’t let this injury scare me into sitting on the couch for the rest of my life!

Chris Masters

I had nagging knee pain that was affecting my running and lifting ability. I decided to try On Track Physiotherapy’s complimentary evaluation. After meeting with Dr. Schaible for my initial evaluation, I was impressed and decided to work with him. After several months of corrective work my knee is pain free and I’m running further and squatting heavier than I have in a long time. Over several months he guided me through progressively more difficult stability exercises that I have incorporated into my training that I continue to do today. What I learned goes far beyond healing my injury. He has given me the tools to bullet proof my knees going forward. If you are dealing with a nagging injury or pain stop wasting your time and book the initial evaluation with Dr. Greg and start your path to recovery today