This weeks blog has been written by Estanis Berbegal – The Sports Injury Rehabilitator as some might know him from Instagram as well as a therapist at Myokinetics. He’s going to explore the causal mechanisms by which manual therapy appears to alleviate pain and discomfort in the body.
Today, let's delve into the realm of manual therapy (manual therapy) and its profound impact on alleviating patient pain. At Myokinetics, we believe in empowering individuals to embrace a life free from the constraints of discomfort, and manual therapy is a key player in this transformative journey.
What is manual therapy?
Manual therapy is not just massage, it involves the use of an array of movements and skilled techniques orchestrated by our expert therapists that target muscles, joints and connective tissue according to client need. Our primary task? To usher in positive changes for the client specifically focused on helping them eliminate pain and discomfort. Manual therapies that Myokinetics therapists use to treat clients from around Chester include massage techniques (both gentle and deep), assisted stretching (including Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation or PNF techniques), trigger pointing and the list goes on!
And what is pain?
Pain is a sensation that we are all familiar with, but what exactly is it? Without going too far into the science of pain research, it is a complex interplay of sensory and emotional experiences, often (but not always) linked to tissue damage. Manual therapy has emerged as an option that can provide relief from pain and when used in combination with physical rehabilitation can achieve results that some might consider miraculous. Through the hands of our therapists, patients witness a tangible decrease in both at-rest and movement-related pain.
From low back pain to shoulder discomfort, anterior knee issues to cervical woes, manual therapy has proven its prowess in tackling an array of musculoskeletal challenges. The secret sauce lies in the combined biomechanical and neurophysiological effects delivered by manual therapy, offering a solution with a risk profile on par with exercise and even lower than medication.
How does manual therapy work?
Let's talk techniques and focus on massage, which is one of the main tools that our therapists use in their manual therapy tool-box. There are two primary approaches to pain reduction:
Imagine a soothing massage applying mechanical pressure, increasing blood flow, banishing stiffness, and enhancing joint motion. The result? A crucial catalyst in the intricate dance of healing within your body.
On the other hand, where tension and tightness is so great that soothing massage affords no relief, a more vigorous massage applying forceful pressure, occasionally sustained to what are commonly known as trigger points, creates a localised increase in pain that subsides after a few seconds to virtually nothing and which, on release is associated with a rush of blood to the area, thereby banishing stiffness, and enhancing joint motion.
Noticing a pattern? The two approaches ultimately provide pain relief and skilled therapists will work with their clients to provide the needed pressure to obtain results.
But the magic doesn't stop there. Manual therapy goes beyond the physical, reaching into the realm of the central nervous system (CNS). Here, it fosters the creation of new, pain-free memories which replace the not-so-pleasant ones, these new memories recalibrate the bodies response to inputs from the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) which result in a reduction in pain.
In the same way that cold therapy and heat therapy are both indicated for post exercise recovery, soothing versus vigorous massage are indicated for pain relief – their application varies and depends on the situation, the original pain sensation, and the pain tolerance of the recipient.
Crucially, the narrative isn't complete without highlighting the role of your expectations and the therapeutic bond with our therapists, when expectations are high, and a robust connection exists between you and your therapist great things can happen. Manual therapy works, but if you trust your therapist, it works even better.
At Myokinetics, we view manual therapy not as a stand-alone solution but as a dynamic partner that is best used in tandem with exercise and education. When we work with a client, we use an holistic approach, ensuring you receive the best possible outcome in your journey toward enhanced function, injury recovery, and, most importantly, a life with diminished pain.
Book a massage for manual therapy in Chester that works
So if you’re in pain, feel free to make a booking with any of the team, where we've been using manual therapy with clients from Chester and its surrounding areas since 2008. Let our team use manual therapy to become the catalyst for your brighter, pain-free tomorrow!
Estanis Berbegal – Your Guide to Sports Injury Rehabilitation December 2023
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