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 Encinitas Physical Therapy
Manual Therapy Specialists



The key to effective treatment is a good evaluation. Clearly understanding the problem is the first step in developing the right treatment. We look at problems from different perspectives and often find aspects that have been previously undetected.  

We evaluate thoroughly and find what other practitioners may have missed. Often we find “knots” or trigger points in muscles that are causing pain. There can be localized sites of inflammation that the body can’t resolve on its own. The fascia may be bound down and doesn’t allow normal tissue flexibility, thus compressing structures in the area. Sometimes there are tensions and fixations in the viscera (abdominal organs). The normal balance and rhythm to the craniosacral system may be thrown off and needs to be balanced. A person may be deconditioned and weak in some muscles so that some areas become imbalanced and strained. We find that most people make significant improvements quickly when given the appropriate treatment. 

Here is a description of the techniques we use in our practice. We select the technique based on the needs and response of each patient:

Joint Mobilization and Manipulation are skilled manual techniques that restore normal pain-free mobility to joints that are stiff, stuck, painful or malpositioned.  They may be extremely gentle gliding movements of one bone on the adjacent bone to relieve pain, establish circulation and normal motion in a painful, irritable joint.  They can also be more firm to stretch the deep joint ligaments when there is less irritability.  Manipulation can release fixations in the joints to restore full mobility.  

Soft Tissue Mobilization
is a technique that releases trigger points in muscles, breaks adhesions that restrict tissue mobility, and restores proper length to the tissues in the body.  The soft tissue, or fascia, is an interconnected system, and restrictions can have far-reaching effects.  We have found that clearing these restrictions helps posture, balances joint movement, and clears a lot of aches and pains.

Muscle Energy Technique is an ingenious technique to reposition bony segments utilizing active contractions of the patient in precise positions with manual resistance by the therapist.  The body's own muscles move the involved bones into the therapeutic direction. It is very effective for sacral torsions, pelvic, spinal and rib malpositioning.

Craniosacral Therapy works to balance and harmonize the structure and rhythmic movements of the bones of the cranium (head), the dural membranes in the cranium, the dura mater in the spine, and the sacrum.  This system, called the craniosacral system, plays a role in autonomic regulation, and can get thrown off balance by injury or stress.  This hands-on treatment is very calming, and also very helpful for facial or head injuries.

Visceral Manipulation assesses the movement and vitality of organs and other deep structures in the body and finds areas of tension or fixation.  It can help organ problems such as constipation, abdominal pain, pelvic pain, or breathing difficulty.  Because of organs’ attachments to the skeleton, as well as reflex relationships, we have found many “musculoskeletal problems” are helped by this technique.  Neil and Michelle both studied Visceral Manipulation with French Osteopath Dr. Jean-Pierre Barral.  

Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization is a specialized treatment utilizing a contoured stainless steel tool designed to remodel and heal tendons, ligaments, bony insertions and muscles.

Strain-Counterstrain Technique uses positioning and holding to reprogram muscles that are in spasm or have too much contraction. During and following a trauma such as a car accident or fall, the nervous system directs the muscles to contract, in a protective mode. This state sometimes persists well after the event, perpetuating the pain and dysfunction. This technique effectively reprograms the nervous system control to restore normal functioning.

Mechanical Link uses a recoil technique to release tensions and fixations in the body.  There is a methodical evaluation that identifies the principle component of a disorder.  The technique is like a reverse manipulation, consisting of a sudden release of pressure focused on a specific tissue or segment.

Myofascial Release is a form of soft tissue mobilization utilizing prolonged stretches that is effective in creating lasting release of fascial tension. 

PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) is a specialized exercise approach that uses manual resistance by the therapist that stimulates the return of function in neurologic and orthopaedic conditions.

Therapeutic Taping uses special tape to stabilize or reposition an area of the body to relieve pain, facilitate healing, reduce edema, or help with neuromuscular re-education (learning to coordinate movement more efficiently).

Therapeutic Laser:  We use an Apollo Class 4 Laser at 810 nm frequency with 4000 mw of power.  This infrared coherent light has the physiolgic effect of stimulating the cellular healing process, reducing pain and reducing inflammation.

Iontophoresis is a procedure that uses an electrical device to deliver a medication transdermally (no needle) to reduce pain and inflammation. It is often used in sports injuries or to relieve tissues with chronic pain. 

Ultrasound is a warming pulse of high frequency sound waves that push fluid through an area.  It is helpful to clear inflammatory debris and stimulate circulation.

Orthopaedic and Post-Surgical Rehabilitation:  We often work in collaboration with orthopedists and other physicians to help resolve orthopedic problems.  After surgery, patients need help with reducing swelling, managing pain, restoring range of motion, rebuilding strength, and returning to full functioning.
We help problem solve and safely progress each patient.

Sports Rehabilitation:  A customized assessment and treatment can help resolve sport injuries and optimize athletic performance.    

Motor Vehicle Accident Treatment:  We have a great deal of experience helping people following an auto accident. Our approach is very hands-on and customized to each individual. We find a manual therapy approach gets people through the recovery period quickly.