Manipulation is a term that refers to a large, controlled movement, which often changes the position or alignment of a bone or joint in order to make it function more effectively and prevent pain. There are many different types of manipulation used in osteotherapy; the most common ones are outlined below:
- Myofascial release (MFR)- the fascia is a term used to describe the connective tissue surrounding the muscles and bones. Myofascial release is a technique that is used to improve the alignment of the fascia and increase their range of movement by stretching them gradually. This method is commonly used to treat back and pelvic pain and persistent headaches.
- Strain-Counterstrain technique (also known as Jones Counterstrain)- this technique works by identifying an area of tender tissue and then holding the joint it corresponds to in an elevated position for around one and a half minutes. This method is sued to gradually increase the range of movement around the joint and ease muscle pain.
- Greenman muscle-energy technique- this technique involves bending and pushing a joint slightly beyond its comfort zone; the osteopath will bend the affected joint just beyond the point where the muscles start to resist the movement and hold it in that position for a few seconds. This method has been proven to increase the range of motion around the joint; although it sounds painful, it is done gently over a period of time and the patient should not experience any pain.
- Cranial therapy (also known as cranial osteopathy)- this method involves gently massaging the skull in order to realign the bones that make up the cranium. This is a controversial method because it is based on the existence of cranial rhythms which cause the bones to move slightly; these rhythms have not been proven to exist so some experts do not believe this to be an effective treatment.