Manual medicine is an approach to therapeutic care that uses touch and palpation to determine the cause of musculoskeletal pain and other symptoms, as well as to establish a course of treatment and monitor its progress over time.
Manual medicine focuses on the underlying causes of musculoskeletal symptoms by palpating, or feeling, the way tissues and joints respond during passive and active movement to identify areas of tenderness, swelling, reduced motion and other symptoms. While a visual exam and even diagnostic imaging can provide important information about an injury, manual medicine “gets to the source” of the problem, and helps relieve it with specific techniques including directed, gentle pressures to reestablish function and relieve symptoms. By using a “hands-on” approach, manual medicine can diagnose and treat issues in soft tissues that can cause an array of symptoms, including trigger points or “muscle knots” that can cause widespread and chronic pain.
A trigger point is an inflamed, swollen area in the myofascia, the fibrous tissue that surrounds muscles. When spots along the myofascia become irritated, often as a result of strain or trauma, the tissue can swell and tighten, forming lumps or bumps that can be felt beneath the skin. Trigger points can cause localized pain as well as diffuse symptoms, like chronic shoulder pain, headache and back pain. Manual medicine helps release knotted myofascial tissue to relieve pain and inflammation locally and regionally.
Most patients experience some relief after an initial application of manual medicine techniques, but like any type of physical therapy, it typically takes several visits to repair damage and restore normal function to an injured area. Your treatment plan will be customized for your specific needs.
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