Manual Therapy

AZOPT Doctors of Physical Therapy favorite tool – their hands – is used to provide manual therapy in three different ways – manipulation, mobilization, and massage.


Manipulation is a high velocity, low amplitude force often associated with an audible popping sound to release gas bubbles that form during joint…


Mobilization is a slower, more controlled process of soft-tissue (myofascial) stretching intended to improve bio-mechanical elasticity.


Massage is typically the repetitive rubbing, stripping or kneading of myofascial tissues to principally improve interstitial fluid dynamics.

Dry Needling

Dry needling (DN) is an effective intervention used by AZOPT’s specialized and certified physical therapists that uses a thin, dry needle (one without medication or injection) to penetrate the skin and stimulate trigger points.  A trigger point is a taut band of skeletal muscle located within a larger muscle group. Trigger points can be tender to the touch, and touching a trigger point may cause pain to other parts of the body.

AZOPT uses dry needling with the goal of releasing or inactivating trigger points to relieve pain or improve range of motion.  Dry needling can improve pain control, reduces muscle tension, and normalizes dysfunctions of the motor end plates, the sites at which nerve impulses are transmitted to muscles. This can help speed up the patient’s return to active rehabilitation.


Kinesio Tape is an elastic tape (non latex) that can enhance the function of many different tissues and have a physiologic effect.  It can be worn up to 3-5 days at a given time for maximal, long-lasting benefits.  Kinesio Taping is one of many tools that can assist in recovery and rehabilitation for acute to chronic orthopedic conditions and everything in between.  The goal of the tape is to help the body return to a state of normalcy.

The area of the body that the tape is applied, the amount of stretch on the tape, and the direction of the stretch will all dictate what the tape will accomplish. The elastic properties of the tape stimulate receptors in the skin, fascia, and muscle.  Depending on how the tape is applied, these receptors send signals to the brain.  The tape can inhibit muscle action, facilitate muscle action, mechanically correct ligament and tendon issues, decrease edema and swelling, and improve the mobility of underlying fascia.

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) involves using a range of tools to enable our therapists to efficiently locate and treat individuals diagnosed with soft-tissue dysfunction.

Best explained – by the time most patients seek physical therapy for a soft tissue dysfunction, their body has self-healed, creating scar tissue and adhesions that act like super glue in your body.  The scar tissue/adhesions prevent the muscle or other tissues from lengthening properly.  By using IASTM, AZOPT physical therapists are introducing controlled micro traumas, which trigger the body’s reabsorption of excessive scar tissue and assists in remodeling the affected soft-tissue structures.  After IASTM, the soft tissue loosens to better promote movement.


Electrical muscle stimulation — often called “e-stim” or “TENS” — is used for pain relief and muscle re-education.  A machine that provides an electrical current through wires are connected to adhesive patches and placed on the skin over a predetermined area.  Electrical current is then sent from the machine to the patches and delivered into the muscle tissue below, causing a sensory or motor response.

AZOPT will utilize a variety of these treatment methods to help relieve pain as well as build strength and flexibility to help patients function at their best.  All of these treatment methods are part of a larger plan of care that will include a home exercise program to promote stretching muscles to build flexibility and strengthening in the area of the injury.  Patients who perform the home stretches and exercises prescribed by their physical therapist greatly accelerate the process.  Please talk to an AZOPT Doctor of Physical Therapy to find out which treatment method is best for your injury.

For more information about our services, or to schedule an appointment, call our office at (623) 242-6908 or request an appointment online today.