Manual therapy

The goal of manual therapy is on the one hand the improvement of the functioning of the joints and on the other hand the improvement of posture and movement. To achieve this, the manual therapist uses a number of specific techniques which can be applied in the joints.

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More about manual therapy

The effects of manual therapy are often immediately noticeable; you experience improved freedom of movement and a decrease in pain. The programme of a manual therapy treatment further consists of advice, instructions, guidance and insight into healthy movement.

A manual therapist is a physiotherapist who has been educated in manual therapy after their physiotherapy education. With this, they have gained more knowledge about the movement of the body and in particular the spinal column. Because of their specialised education, the manual therapist is excellently able to diagnose the source of your complaints. As such, they can devise a tailored solution for every body.

Indications for manual therapy

  • Head- and neck pain
  • Back aches
  • Neck- and shoulder pain
  • Back pain in the upper back accompanied by rib- and chest pain
  • Hernia
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Pain in joints, such as shoulder pain, tennis arm, knee pain
  • Pain continuing from the back into the leg
  • Certain types of dizziness
  • Certain types of pain in the chest and armpits
  • Jaw pain, possibly in combination with neck pain


During the first treatment session the manual therapist will hold an extended conversation with the patient in which they will ask relevant questions pertaining to the treatment. They will also carry out a bodily examination. Based on this examination a treatment plan will be made and a prognosis will be made. Whether manual therapy can remedy your affliction will become apparent during the first examination and is partly dependent on your own opinion.


After a first screening the first appointment will consist of two parts: an interview and a bodily examination. In the interview the manual therapist will ask questions about your afflictions; for example, how they originated and when they in- or decrease. During the bodily examination the manual therapist will examine posture, movement and the individual joints. This way, the cause of the symptoms is determined. Together with the patient, the manual therapist decides whether manual therapy will be an effective treatment. If that is the case, the manual therapist will discuss a treatment plan with the patient. As such, the patient will have clarity about eventual follow-up appointments immediately after the first session.

Characteristics of the treatment

The manual therapist knows a number of specialised techniques which can be applied in the joints, to improve the functionality of the joints and the posture and movement of the body. The effects are often immediately noticeable; you will experience improved freedom of movement and a decrease in pain. The treatment programme of the manual therapist further consists of the giving of instructions, advising the patient, and lending guidance and insight into healthy movement.

Treatment in the practice

Manual-therapeutic treatment takes place in a specially-equipped practice room, and therefore in most cases not in the patient’s own home. A good manual-therapeutic treatment assumes, after all, the use of specific equipment and a specialised treatment room. Only in very extraordinary cases, and only on the specific request of a doctor or medical specialist, will this rule be deviated from, and even then, only for carrying out a diagnostic consultation.


Within manual therapy, various working methods are in use. In the practices of Physiotherapy Douma treatment is carried out according to the methods of SOMT and Van der Bijl. These two methods have many similarities but do deviate from each other in some instances.


The method of the SOMT makes use of specific mobilising techniques. These are repeated techniques which are carried out in the limited movement space of a joint (=mobilisation). A technique with a measured speed can also be use, which may result in a ‘cracking’ noise. Most patients experience this as a strange sensation, but in general do not find it painful. The method of Van der Bijl is a bit ‘softer’ than that of SOMT.

Van der Bijl

The manual therapy of Van der Bijl does not work from an analysis of issues but from an analysis of movement. It does not orient itself toward pain, but rather toward which movement the patient cannot make. This method searches for the ideal way of moving for the patient.