Using Manual Therapy and Exercise to Achieve Results
By JD Fields, DPT
AZOPT Goodyear Physical Therapist

As physical therapists, we utilize an individualized mixture of manual therapy and exercise to treat and get you moving better. Throughout the day, I am often asked why I may perform a certain technique or why the patient has to complete specific exercises. While the long answer is complex and different for everyone, the short answer is because most of the time, these specific techniques and exercises are necessary to help return and keep you at your best. Research has demonstrated that patients will respond well to appropriate exercise and manual therapy techniques done separately. However, the best results are seen when an appropriate mixture of manual therapy and exercise are applied together.

At AZOPT, we emphasize manual therapy techniques. This hands-on part of your treatment is utilized to assist with numerous impairments. Manual therapy may decrease our patients’ pain levels as well as promote normal movements. After surgery or an injury, these techniques may focus more on stretching and joint movement at the injury to regain normal motion and function.

Our bodies are very efficient at moving. Sometimes, our body will compensate when a body part is in “danger.” Compensations and restrictions may lead to increased pain due to our body protecting the threatened part. Manual therapy helps restore normal movement as well as decrease the “danger” the body once perceived.

Exercise is the other major element of your physical therapy plan-of-care that is vital to returning you to normal activities. These interventions have multiple reasons. The first, obvious reason is exercise builds strength and endurance in weaker muscles and assists in regaining the motion. The other, more complex reason is that exercise helps to maintain the gains from manual therapy and promotes normalized movement. As you continue to see improvement, the amount of exercise and your personalized home exercise program will advance to maximize your daily function.

Both components of treatment are vital to ensuring the best improvements and decrease the likelihood of recurrence. At AZOPT, the physical therapists are in direct control and supervision of all of the manual therapy and exercise throughout your sessions. Our approach allows for optimal results and returns you to normal activities faster. If you are experiencing problems with increasing pain or difficulty moving around, schedule an evaluation and allow us to do what we do best!