Manual therapy, also known as manipulative therapy, is a physical treatment primarily used by chiropractors to treat musculoskeletal pain and debility — two outcomes that can result after an automobile accident.

How Does Manual Therapy Work?

This form of physical therapy takes a hands-on approach rather than using devices or machines. When a chiropractor uses their hands during manual therapy, they apply pressure on the muscle tissue and maneuver the joints in an effort to reduce pain associated with muscle tension, muscle spasm and joint dysfunction.

How Does Manual Therapy Help?

When a person has been in an auto accident, their joints, due to injury, could lack sufficient movement and range of motion. This, in turn, can lead to pain, discomfort and an interruption in function, movement and posture.

By implementing manual therapy, the following can occur:

  • An increase in range of motion
  • A decrease or elimination of soft tissue inflammation
  • Pain regulation
  • Relaxation
  • Healing, stability and/or extension of contractile and non-contractile tissue
  • Ease in movement and restoration of function

Types of Manual Therapy Movement

There are many manual therapy techniques, and, as a group, they aim to relax tense muscles and ease restricted joints. Overall, however, these procedures exercise three main types of movement:

  • Manipulation. Sheer, rotational or agitated force that is rapid and results in an audible popping sound caused by the sudden breakdown of gas bubbles that develop during joint cavitation
  • Massage. Recurring stripping, kneading or rubbing of the soft tissues for the purpose of redistributing fluid, relaxing muscles, increasing circulation, easing muscle tension, breaking up scar tissue and reducing pain
  • Mobilization. Stretching the soft tissues in a slower, more regulated process in order to improve flexibility

Mobilization and manipulation are often talked about together. They use calculated movements of various speeds (slow to fast), force (moderate to strong) and distances to pull, rotate or thrust joints and bones into position to help release stiff tissues around the joint, minimize joint pain, reestablish alignment and assist with flexibility.

Types of Manual Therapy Techniques

Prior to executing manual therapy, the chiropractor will typically do an assessment of the nerve and blood supply in the treatment area, as well as look at the bone and muscles themselves. This helps him or her determine whether this physical therapy is appropriate for the patient’s needs. Contingent on the assessment, the chiropractor may perform one or more of the following manual therapy techniques:

  • Soft tissue mobilization. Breaks up hard or rubbery muscle tissue (e.g., scar tissue), circulates tissue fluids, restores normal texture to tissue, reduces pain and lessens muscle tension through rhythmic stretching and deep pressure
  • Strain and counter-strain. Focuses on fixing irregular neuromuscular reflexes that trigger structural and postural problems. Here, the chiropractor first determines where the patient’s tender points are. The patient is then asked at what point the soreness diminishes. The patient is next held in position (at a point where they are comfortable) for up to two minutes. During this time, the muscle is stretched mildly and then slowly taken out of this position, which lets the body reset its muscles to a natural level of tension so that healing can occur.
  • Joint mobilization. Loosens the constrained joint and boosts range of motion by delivering slow speed and amped up distance of movement.
  • Muscle energy technique. Designed to activate restricted joints and lengthen shortened muscles by using voluntary contractions of the patient’s muscles against a defined counter force implemented by the chiropractor, who helps by taking the muscle to a specific position and placing it in a precise direction
  • High velocity, low amplitude thrusting. Restores the sliding motion of joints and allows them to open and close efficiently. This more aggressive technique involves taking a joint to, but not beyond, its restrictive barrier

Please contact your chiropractor with any questions.

Auto accident injuries are one of the leading causes of spinal and whiplash injuries.

These types of injuries, whether they occur as the result of an auto accident or another type of trauma, must be treated properly, or they could lead to chronic pain. Fortunately, undergoing chiropractic treatments can help relieve the following symptoms, often without the use of pain medications or surgery:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Arm pain
  • Low back pain
  • Decreased range of motion in the neck, shoulders, arms or back

To learn more about the types of problems chiropractic care can treat or the types of treatments used in chiropractic care, please visit the pages below.

We Offer the Following Services

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Here is a brief overview of the array of specialized services offered by our clinic. Please take some time, and explore what we have to offer.

Chiropractic Manipulation San Antonio
Functional Integrative Medicine San Antonio
Acupuncture Services San Antonio
Massage Therapy San Antonio

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Dr. J. Lara Sweeney, DC IFMCP

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Michelle Anderson, LMT

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Our building “The Pavilions at Castle Hills”, is located at the corner of NW Military Hwy. and Sunflower in Castle Hills. It’s a two-story brown brick building; “First Serve Tennis”, “Bicycle Heaven”, and “Hearing Aid Labs” occupy the front. Our office is located on the second floor, on the back side of the building. Plenty of parking is available in both the front and rear lots. There are stairways located at either end of the building; and for your convenience, there is an elevator located on the back side of the building, at the end of the south tunnel.