In the world of physical therapy, manual therapy refers to the manual manipulation and mobilization of soft body tissues (muscles, connective tissue, tendons, and ligaments) and joint structures to enhance a person’s health and well-being. It’s an advanced level of physical therapy training that involves skilled, hands-on techniques that are applied by a physical therapist with the goal of diagnosing and treating soft tissues and joint structures.

Manual therapy is not the same as massage, but there are often elements of massage incorporated in the treatments. Your physical therapist uses his/her hands to knead and manipulate your joints, muscles, and tissues in order to diagnose injuries, reduce pain, and promote healing.

Any muscle, joint, or soft tissue that is inflamed or tense can benefit from manual therapy. At Lexington Rehab Center, we often recommend manual therapy for patients who have:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Spine pain
  • Headaches/migraines
  • TMJ Dysfunction
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Ankle pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Fibromyalgia

Manual therapy can help patients regulate pain, increase range of motion, restore mobility to stiff joints, restore normal movement patterns, reduce inflammation and soft tissue tension, and improve general fitness.

There are many different types of manual therapy techniques to target the soft tissues and joint structures. Each technique is designed for a certain type of injury and specific part of your muscular system. Examples include myofascial release, soft tissue mobilization, muscle energy techniques, joint mobilization, and strain/counterstrain. Your physical therapist will be able to determine which technique best fits your needs.


Massage is an important component of many physical therapy programs because it is very effective for targeting muscle tension caused by strains and other more serious conditions. However, when your physical therapist tells you they are going to massage a muscle, it may not always feel like a relaxing, therapeutic massage. If you have a very tight, inflamed muscle, your physical therapist will use pressure to release the tension and improve tissue mobility.

To help you make a quick recovery, your physical therapist may also recommend therapeutic massage, or a deep tissue massage, as a complement to your physical therapy program. Therapeutic massage involves gentle, sustained, and precisely targeted pressure on your tense or inflamed soft tissues to help reduce swelling and improve performance. A full-body massage can provide pain relief and accelerate the healing of compromised tissue.

At Lexington Rehab Center, we utilize a combination of one-hour deep tissue massage, manual therapy, and customized exercise plans to help our physical therapy patients decrease their pain while increasing their flexibility and range of motion. Our programs can provide maximum relief for patients with muscle pain, arthritis, and chronic pain as well as for those recovering from an injury or auto accident. To help make our services more accessible to all, we like to point out that we have staff in our office who can speak different languages, including Hmoob (Hmong) and Ahmharic.

Getting the care you need is very time and cost-effective at Twin Cities Chiropractic and Lexington Rehab Center. We offer traditional chiropractic, full-body massage therapy, acupuncture, and physical therapy all in the same building – and Mobile X-Ray and MRI are just across the street.

If you’re suffering from back pain, neck pain, or need help after an auto accident, contact us today to schedule an appointment. We are are a partner practice of Step Ahead Therapy, which accepts nearly all insurance carriers, including automobile insurance, workers’ compensation, and the majority of health insurance carriers. Let us help you start getting better today!

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