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Manual physical therapy is a specialized form of treatment delivered with the hands as opposed to a device or machine.

In manual therapy, practitioners use their hands to put pressure on muscle tissue and manipulate joints in an attempt to decrease pain caused by muscle spasm, muscle tension, and joint dysfunction.

Manual therapy can be helpful for the treatment of joints that lack adequate mobility and range of motion because of certain musculoskeletal disorders. This limitation can cause pain as well as an alteration in function, posture, and movement. Manual physical therapy involves restoring mobility to stiff joints and reducing muscle tension in order to return the patient to more natural movement without pain.