Manual medicine is not a modern invention. Various medical groups in the US and Europe began to dabble in these methods in the 19th century. In Switzerland, the term “manual medicine” is not so widely known. The term “chiropractic” is much more common. The difference is that manual medicine is not practised by a chiropractor but by a medically trained specialist.
In manual medicine, the practitioner’s hands (in Latin manual = by hand) are his most important examination instrument and the sole treatment tool. Using his hands, the doctor for manual medicine carefully palpates your muscles, tendons and joints, feeling for tension, blockages and other dysfunctions of your spine or other joints that can cause you pain.
Based on his medical knowledge, he is able to combine his findings from the examination with your individual situation to work out the right manual treatment for you. He then resolves the causes that he has identified for your symptoms in a targeted yet gentle way, using special manipulations and coordinated movements. Manual treatment is very effective, painless and gentle on the body. It is a method that is often used for acute and chronic back problems or restriction in the range of motion of joints.
Manual medicine is effective for acute (e.g. the dreaded lumbago) and chronic back, joint and muscle problems. In this case, although the muscles, tendons and joints themselves are not damaged, their interaction is impaired, causing you pain and functional limitations. With these kinds of “functional” problems, you will often experience pain a long way from the actual impairment.
The healing process begins on the first visit to the doctor and usually only a small number of treatment sessions are sufficient. After that, your active involvement and personal responsibility is crucial. Through consistent rehabilitation training, you can prevent a relapse and remain symptom-free in the long term.
Initially, your manual medicine practitioner will explain each treatment step to help you understand what is happening and enable you to be actively involved.
For the various manual medicine techniques, it is important to align your body correctly and adhere strictly to its natural limits of movement. Some positions and stretches may feel a little uncomfortable, and sometimes the manipulation may result in audible cracking of vertebrae or joints.
All techniques aim to restore mobility (= mobilisation). The doctor uses very little pressure and no force; rather the treatment is gentle and painless.
Manual medicine does not just eliminate the pain, as painkillers do, but also the cause of the pain. Various studies have proven that this method is more effective and faster than drugs and physiotherapy. And treatment with manual medicine costs only around a third of what comparable treatment methods would cost.
Doctors who are trained in manual medicine will, however, also recognise situations in which this form of treatment is less appropriate. Based on their interdisciplinary medical expertise, they will use complementary or indeed completely different methods to provide optimum benefit for you, for example, in the case of inflammation, signs of wear or following previous injuries.