Should PTAs Perform Manual Therapy?

It’s probably not unreasonable to say that the most controversial issue facing manual therapy right now is an internal one–that of whether or not to allow PTAs to perform manual therapy techniques and in particular, manipulation. As you may or may not know, CAPTE has recently begun to bow to significant pressure from the PTA “lobby” (for lack of a better term). CAPTE’s current position is as follows:

The Commission believes that it is not inappropriate to train PTAs to perform soft tissue mobilization or to manually assist the physical therapist (PT) in the delivery of peripheral joint mobilization procedures (i.e., assist with patient positioning, stabilization, or grade I & II movements).”

Photo Credit: Adam Ciesielski
Photo Credit: Adam Ciesielski

So…it begins…grab some popcorn, sit back and watch the show. A lot of people are very, very fired up about this one, and today we’re sharing an opinion piece by a well-respected manual therapist: Thoughts on the partial delegation of joint manipulation. Rather than taint the field here with my own opinions, I’d love you to read it and share your thoughts in the comments below.

This is going to be a big deal in the near future; one that we are all going to have to face.

What do you think? DO we fight to keep it all to ourselves? Or do we get involved and ensure that PTAs learn to use these skills well under our supervision?

In the meantime, share these upcoming PTA course opportunities with a friend or colleague you think might be interested!

Principles of Upper Quadrant Manual Therapy: PTA – March 2, 2018 – Kankakee, IL

Principles of Lower Quadrant Manual Therapy: PTA – March 3, 2018 – Kankakee, IL 

Principles of Lower Quadrant Manual Therapy: PTA – April 28, 2018 – Auburn, WA

Principles of Upper Quadrant Manual Therapy: PTA – November 3, 2018 – Auburn, WA

Best regards,


3 thoughts on “Should PTAs Perform Manual Therapy?

  1. if PTAs are see people then they should be doing everything. If PTAs are not able to perform good quality care then why would a patient be willing to see them other then ignorance? Let alone let us not start talking about reimbursement and the need for PTAs just tobe profitable as an outpatient clinics.
    Elliott Davis dpt


  2. …with increased skill comes increased knowledge therefore more education needed. PTA’s need to be able to assess and treat accordingly. This brings me to the question what are we good for then? Are we willing to give up ourselves to all the other professions around us? Not happy with this issue.. Kind of a slippery slope seems to me like this one is!


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