Orthopaedic Manipulative Therapy is a form of skilled, physical treatment used by Orthopaedic medicine specialists, Chiropractors, Osteopathic physicians, Osteopaths, Physical therapists to treat neuro-musculoskeletal conditions, restoring the lost ability to move and reduce disability.
The American Association of Physical Therapy (APTA) has defined mobilization/manipulation as “a manual therapy technique comprised of a continuum of skilled passive movements that are applied at varying speeds and amplitudes, including a small amplitude/high-velocity therapeutic movement.”
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists (AAOMPT), the Orthopaedic Manual Physical therapy (OMPT) is defined as: “OMPT is any “hands-on” treatment provided by the physical therapist. Treatment may include moving joints in specific directions and at different speeds to regain movement (joint mobilization and manipulation), muscle stretching, passive movements of the affected body part, or having the patient move the body part against the therapist’s resistance to improve muscle activation and timing. Selected specific soft tissue techniques may also be used to improve the mobility and function of tissue and muscles.”
In order to have a consensus on using the terms ‘manipulation’ and ‘mobilization’, the APTA has established the terms ‘thrust’ and ‘non-thrust’ manipulation to emphasize that these manual therapy procedures are applied on a continuum. The APTA has further defined thrust manipulation as a ‘high velocity, low amplitude therapeutic movement within or at the end range of motion and, non-thrust as manipulations that do not involve thrust’. These procedures require an on-going evaluation in order to progress along the continuum with the modification of speed, amplitude, and direction of forces.
The International Federation of Orthopaedic Manipulative Physical Therapists (IFOMPT) defines Orthopaedic Manual Therapy as ‘a specialised area of physiotherapy / physical therapy for the management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, based on clinical reasoning, using highly specific treatment approaches including manual techniques and therapeutic exercises. Orthopaedic Manual Therapy also encompasses, and is driven by, the available scientific and clinical evidence and the biopsychosocial framework of each individual patient’.
The Orthopaedic Manipulation has been practiced by other professionals such as Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Medical Doctors. The American Osteopathic Association defines ‘Osteopathic manipulative treatment’ as “the therapeutic application of manually guided forces to improve physiologic function and/or support homeostasis that has been altered by somatic dysfunction. OMT employs a variety of techniques.”
A.T Still (1874 AD) has explained the term Osteopathy as: “It is a scientific knowledge of anatomy and physiology in the hands of a person of intelligence and skill, who can apply that knowledge to the use of man when sick or wounded by strains, shocks, falls, or mechanical derangement or injury of any kind to the body”.