Manual Therapy

Manual physical therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy delivered with the hands as opposed to a device or machine. In manual therapy, practitioners use their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue and mobilize joints in an attempt to decrease pain caused by muscle spasm, muscle tension, and joint dysfunction.

Manual therapy is a clinical approach that uses hands-on techniques, including manipulation, mobilization and soft tissue release to diagnose and treat soft tissue and joint structures. This helps regulate pain, increase range of motion, reduce or eliminate soft tissue inflammation, improve tissue repair and to increase relaxation, movement and function. Manual therapy involves restoring mobility to restricted joints and reducing muscle tension in order to improve joint biomechanics and muscle function which will allow for greater pain-free motion.

How do overuse conditions occur?

Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:

  • Acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc)
  • Accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
  • Not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia)

Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.

Principles of Active Release Techniques (ART)?

Active Release Technique is a patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART. These conditions all have one important thing in common: they are often a result of overused muscles.

Every ART session is actually a combination of examination and treatment. The ART trained therapist uses his or her hands to evaluate the texture, tightness and movement of muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Abnormal tissues are treated by combining precisely directed tension with very specific patient movements. These treatment protocols – over 500 specific moves – are unique to ART. They allow providers to identify and correct the specific problems that are affecting each individual patient. ART is not a cookie-cutter approach.

Principles of the Mulligan Concept

The Mulligan Concept is a manual based treatment technique for the spine and extremities that was developed by New Zealand physical therapist Brian Mulligan. The technique involves a concept of Mobilizations with Movement (MWM), Sustained Natural Apophyseal Glides (SNAGs), and Natural Apophyseal Glides (NAGs) in which a therapist provides a mobilization force to the spine or extremity and it is followed by active motion from the patient with passive overpressure. These techniques are used to correct “positional faults” (joint dysfunction) in the spine and extremity. The Mulligan Concept techniques should never cause pain and have extremely effective results within a few visits. Mulligan techniques have a wide array of uses including restricted spinal and joint range of motion, arthritic joints, headaches, cervicogenic dizziness, overuse injuries, joint sprains, herniated discs, and neural tension disorders.

ActiveCare Physical Therapy has the most Mulligan certified therapists in the state of New Jersey. We are proud to have 5 therapists with this certification.

Principles of the McKenzie Approach

The McKenzie Approach is a widely accepted and well researched spinal rehabilitation technique developed New Zealand physical therapist Robin McKenzie. The technique is based on the concept of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) which uses repeated movement testing in order to determine a directional preference that will decrease and eventually abolish spinal pain. Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy focuses on patients using self-treatment strategies, followed up with manual therapy procedures performed by the physical therapist if needed. The McKenzie Approach allows patients to achieve long term improvements in back and neck pain due to the active participation of the client in their spinal treatment.