What is manual therapy?

Manual therapy is an evidence-based intervention that supports a physical therapy plan of care. Manual therapy is using the hands for healing and has many techniques and schools of thought. Different practitioners such as chiropractors, osteopaths, and massage therapists use manual therapy but a physical therapist uses manual therapy in conjunction with exercise and education to achieve change in movement patterns to reach patient goals. Our physical therapists have advanced  training and are faculty in the DPT program instructing in the manual therapies of joint mobilization and manipulation, strain-counterstrain, soft tissue mobilization, instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, visceral mobilization, trigger point release and dry needling. Selection of manual therapy techniques will occur after a comprehensive evaluation.

Types of manual therapy

There are a variety of schools and types of manual therapy available for use, and our therapists are well trained in their applications:

  • Joint mobilization
  • Joint manipulation
  • Myofascial release
  • Muscle energy technique
  • Strain/counterstrain or positional release
  • Massage and other soft tissue techniques
  • Neural mobilization
  • Visceral mobilization
  • Instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization
  • Trigger point techniques and dry needling

We use all of these approaches at Des Moines University Physical Therapy Clinic, but what's most important is that we select the technique that is most appropriate for you. Our physical therapists perform a careful evaluation of your condition, considering the evidence that supports an approach, our clinical experience and your personal preferences to determine the best combination of techniques that complement the plan of care.

Appointments 515-271-1717
Hours Monday - Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location 3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50312

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I started with a left shoulder that was really painful. It was to the point that I avoided certain motions for fear of pain. Working on Physical Therapy with Lauren Plum got me all fixed up, I am thrilled. I am still faithfully doing my exercises to keep that shoulder strong, limber, and pain-free. Yay!

Margaret Scott, Clinic patient

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