Manipulative therapy is the term used to describe thrust techniques, also recognizable as a short swift click to the joint when it has become restricted in terms of range of movement.
The formal definition is a high velocity, short amplitude thrust. The classic application of such a technique is in a simple locked epiphyseal joint where resistance limits the range of movement.
In this situation an expertly applied manipulative thrust technique restores the range of movement dramatically.
These techniques are taught to a high standard at post graduate level and at the same time physiotherapists learn anatomy and physiology, biomechanics and pathology in a lot more depth so that their clinical reasoning skills become more precise.
Manipulative thrust techniques are just one aspect of treatment and would commonly be applied sparingly and alongside other modalities such as soft tissue massage, mobilization and exercise therapy.
The aim is to restore the function rapidly and effectively