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The physical therapists at Virginia Therapy and Fitness Centers (VTFC) believe that every patient should be treated by using a combination of manual therapy and exercise. There is extensive research supporting the combination of manual therapy and exercise when treating back pain, chronic pain, or sport related injuries. 

Manual therapy is a term that implies that the physical therapists use their hands to formulate diagnosis and perform treatment on their patients. Manual therapy treatments can consist of massage, joint mobilization, manipulation, or manual traction. A well trained physical therapist will be able to determine what kind of manual therapy will benefit you the most. The physical therapists at Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center have all been trained through an accredited manual therapy curriculum that includes The North American Institute of Orthopaedic Manual Therapy (NAIOMT) and The Institute of Advanced Musculoskeletal Treatments (IAMT). Many of the physical therapists at Virginia Therapy and Fitness have been recognized by these curriculums as Certified Manual Physical Therapists (CMPT) and also some have been recognized by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) as Orthopedic Certified Specialist (OCS).  Many of our therapists at Virginia Therapy and Fitness currently teach manual therapy skills to other physical therapists across the United States through IAMT or in local University settings such as Marymount and Shenandoah University.

There are numerous benefits for patients receiving manual therapy. The most important is pain relief, but there is evidence of increased blood flow, enhance joint nutrition, and improved joint mobility as a result of receiving manual therapy. Often joints of the body can become stiff after an injury or surgery. This stiffness and poor mobility results in mechanical pain for patients. A primary goal of any physical therapy protocol is to first identify the patient’s mechanical faults, and second, devise a plan of action to treat the involved areas. This plan often includes manual therapy. Manual therapy should always be followed by exercise. The exercises should be devised so they enhance the manual therapy techniques that were performed to the patient. See Functional Exercise.

Manual therapy is one of the oldest forms of healing, dating back to 400 B.C.4 There are many types of healthcare professionals that perform manual therapy, but there few that can combine skilled manual therapy with exercise like a physical therapist. Our knowledge of anatomy, joint mechanics and muscle physiology make physical therapist unique among other healthcare providers.  The therapists at Virginia Therapy and Fitness take pride in our ability to provide excellent manual therapy treatment.  Come and experience the difference with us.


Manual therapy and exercise therapy in patients with chronic low back pain: a randomized, controlled trial with 1-year follow-up. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2003 Mar 15;28(6):525-31; discussion 531-2.

Two-year follow-up of a randomized clinical trial of spinal manipulation and two types of exercise for patients with chronic neck pain. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2002 Nov 1;27(21):2383-9.
The outcomes of manipulation or mobilization therapy compared with physical therapy or exercise for neck pain: a systematic review. Schroeder J, Kaplan L, Fischer DJ, Skelly AC.Evid Based Spine Care J. 2013 Apr; 4(1):30-41
Pettman, Erland. Manipulative Thrust Techniques. An Evidenced Based Approach. Chapter1: A History of Manipulative Therapy. 2012 Pages 2-3. 

The quality of care is outstanding and quickly got me up and going.- Mark L.
They helped me get through a season!- Reed Doughty