top of page

The Effectiveness of Manual Therapy in Treating Injuries: A Review of the Evidence



The evidence supporting the use of manual therapy in the treatment of injuries varies depending on the specific type of injury and the techniques used. Here's an overview of some key points from research:


Low Back Pain: Manual therapy, including spinal manipulation and mobilisation, is commonly used in the treatment of acute and chronic low back pain. Research suggests that manual therapy can provide short-term pain relief and improvements in function for patients with low back pain. However, its long-term efficacy compared to other treatments like exercise therapy or a combination of treatments is still a subject of debate.


Neck Pain: Manual therapy techniques such as spinal manipulation, mobilisation, and soft tissue massage are frequently used in the management of neck pain. Several studies have demonstrated that manual therapy, particularly when combined with exercise, can lead to improvements in pain, function, and patient satisfaction in individuals with neck pain, including those with whiplash-associated disorders.


Shoulder Injuries: Manual therapy techniques, including joint mobilisation and soft tissue mobilisation, are commonly used in the treatment of shoulder injuries such as rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), and shoulder impingement syndrome. Evidence suggests that manual therapy, when combined with exercise therapy, may lead to improved pain relief, range of motion, and function in individuals with shoulder injuries.


Knee Injuries: Manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilisation and soft tissue mobilisation are often included as part of the treatment for knee injuries, including osteoarthritis and ligament sprains. Research indicates that manual therapy, when combined with exercise therapy, can improve pain, function, and quality of life in individuals with knee osteoarthritis and other knee-related conditions.


Ankle Sprains: Manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilisation and soft tissue mobilisation, are sometimes used in the treatment of ankle sprains to improve range of motion, reduce pain, and enhance functional outcomes. While some studies suggest that manual therapy may offer benefits in the acute management of ankle sprains, further research is needed to establish its efficacy compared to other interventions.


Overall, while there is evidence to support the use of manual therapy in the treatment of various injuries, including low back pain, neck pain, shoulder injuries, knee injuries, and ankle sprains, the effectiveness of manual therapy may vary depending on factors such as the specific type of injury, individual patient characteristics, and the combination of manual therapy with other interventions such as exercise therapy. It's important for healthcare professionals to consider the available evidence and tailor treatment approaches based on the needs of each patient.

bottom of page