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Neurophysiological Effects of Manual Therapy in Aging and Older Adults

Wormley, Michelle E. PT, PhD, CLT; Grimes, Jason K. PT, MPT, OCS, ATC; Romney, Wendy PT, DPT, NCS; Yen, Sheng-Che PT, PhD; Chui, Kevin K. PT, DPT, PhD, GCS, OCS, FAAOMPT

doi: 10.1097/TGR.0000000000000071
Manual Therapy for Aging and Older Adults

Musculoskeletal conditions are a common occurrence among older adults, often requiring physical therapy services. Physical therapy interventions, including manual therapy, have demonstrated positive outcomes in older adults. Decades of clinical research in the field of orthopedic physical therapy indicates the positive outcomes of this approach; however, the underlying basis regarding the efficacy of manual therapy interventions remains unknown. The purpose of this article is to review the evidence surrounding the neurophysiological effects of manual therapy, specifically mobilization and manipulation, in aging and older adults (ie, those ≥50 years of age).

Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Science, Sacred Heart University, Fairfield, Connecticut (Drs Wormley, Romney, and Chui and Mr Grimes) and Department of Physical Therapy, Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts (Dr Yen).

Correspondence: Michelle E. Wormley, PT, PhD, CLT, Assistant Professor Physical Therapy, Sacred Heart University, 5151 Park Ave, Fairfield, CT 06825 (

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Copyright © 2015 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.