Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapy


What is orthopedic manual physical therapy?

Orthopedic manual physical therapy is a specialization within physical therapy. It is intended to evaluate and treat arthro-neuro-muscular dysfunctions. It is based on clinical reasoning, available scientific and clinical evidence, and the biopsychosocial approach of each patient. It uses very specific evaluation and treatment approaches, with manual techniques and therapeutic exercises.

The objective is to recover movement when joints are restricted, as well as to relieve joint and muscle pain and improve the functionality of the individual.

Orthopedic manual physiotherapy integrates classical physiotherapy, sports medicine, orthopedic medicine, osteopathy and chiropractic.

Why is it performed?

Orthopedic manual physical therapy is applied for the treatment of pain and other symptoms of neuro-musculo-skeletal dysfunction, both of the spine and extremities.

What does it consist of?

Orthopedic manual physical therapy is based on a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s arthro-neuro-muscular system and its functional capabilities. The evaluation is aimed at defining the patient’s dysfunction in various systems: articular, nervous, muscular, and defining how they relate to any functional limitations.

Orthopedic manual physical therapy intervention procedures include many techniques, among which there are:

  • Slow joint mobilization
  • Joint manipulation
  • Muscle stretching
  • Functional massage (with joint movement)
  • Nervous system mobilization
  • Passive stabilization
  • Active stabilization
  • Exercises aimed at improving muscular endurance, strength and coordination.
  • Exercises to improve the patient’s general condition.
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It should be noted that an important part of orthopedic manual physical therapy is self-treatment by the patient. This will be based on therapeutic strategies that will be indicated and recommended by the specialist, in order for the patient to manage his or her functional and health status.

Preparation for orthopedic manual physiotherapy

Prior to orthopedic manual physical therapy interventions, an assessment will be made to differentiate the clinical situations in which these techniques are indicated or contraindicated, or those that require special precautions. Cases in which anatomical anomalies or pathological processes limit or condition the use of all orthopedic manual physical therapy procedures are also studied.

Likewise, it will also be previously studied whether in the patient’s situation it is possible to receive treatment focused on reducing the symptoms or whether, on the contrary, it will be to improve the patient’s function.

Care after the intervention

After the orthopedic manual physical therapy procedure, no special care should be necessary. However, the patient may experience fatigue and perhaps some pain or discomfort in the treated area. In that case the specialist will recommend what you can take to soothe it.

If the pain is exaggerated, a specialist should be consulted promptly to rule out possible complications or injuries.