Joint mobilization is a manual therapy technique used by physical therapists, chiropractors, and other healthcare professionals to improve joint range of motion and decrease pain. This technique involves the passive movement of a joint to its end range of motion. Joint mobilization can be performed on any joint in the body, including the spine, hips, shoulders, and ankles.
Types of Mobilizations
Joint mobilizations are generally subdivided into the following categories:
- Oscillatory joint mobilizations:This involves applying gentle pressure to the joint that is slow in speed (low-velocity) and varies in the size of movement (amplitude). This type of mobilization is applied at various points throughout a joint’s available range of motion and is graded according to how well a patient can tolerate it.
- Sustained joint mobilizations: This is a pulling or traction-type movement that is held steady for a period of time. This type of mobilization is meant to reduce joint compression and stretch the surrounding soft tissue.
- Manipulation: A high-speed thrusting movement with a low amplitude is generally applied in a direction of tightness or impaired joint mobility.
Joint mobilization is a safe and effective way to improve joint mobility and reduce pain. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including arthritis, frozen shoulder, back pain, and neck pain. Joint mobilization can help reduce muscle tension, increase joint flexibility, and improve overall joint function. It can also improve blood flow to the affected area, which can aid in the healing process.
There are several techniques used in joint mobilization. These include oscillatory movements, sustained pressure, and accessory movements. Oscillatory movements involve gently moving the joint back and forth within its range of motion. Sustained pressure involves applying pressure to the joint in a specific direction for a period of time. Accessory movements involve applying pressure to the joint in a specific direction while moving the joint in a different direction.
Although joint mobilization is generally safe, there are some precautions that should be taken. Patients with joint hypermobility or instability should avoid joint mobilization. Patients with severe osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or joint infections should also avoid joint mobilization. Additionally, joint mobilization should be performed by a trained healthcare professional to avoid injury.