A joint that is unable to move through its full range can cause pain and reduced function. A physiotherapist can move the joint through available range and into restricted range to help free the joint. This can be gentle or aggressive depending on how much tightness or inflammation is locked in the joint.
Joints can also be restricted by tight muscles. A physiotherapist can passively stretch muscles and use muscle energy techniques to improve their flexibility. The patient will learn how to stretch the muscles at home to help maintain the gains that were achieved.
Nerves travel from the spine, through muscles and fascia, all the way to the tips of fingers and toes. In some conditions, the nerves become trapped and tethered in soft tissue and the mobility becomes restricted. This can cause pain, numbness and/or weakness in your extremities. A physiotherapist can perform therapeutic techniques that can improve the nerves’ mobility through the soft tissue to restore function.
Soft tissues such as muscle and fascia can be manipulated with the hands to help reduce swelling, improve circulation, promote relaxation, and reduce pain. This includes, but is not limited to: increasing range of motion; reducing or eliminating soft tissue inflammation; inducing relaxation; improving contractile and non-contractile tissue repair, extensibility and/or stability; facilitating movement; and improving function.
A physiotherapist can use their hands to gently pull a joint apart. This takes pressure off a painful joint and improves circulation. Manual traction can be performed on a specific joint or on a group of joints like the spine.