JOINT MOBILIZATION

WHAT IS JOINT MOBILIZATION?

You have hundreds of joints in your body, which come in a variety of types and sizes (such as a “hinge joint” in your elbow, a “ball and socket joint” in your hip, or a “saddle joint” in your thumb). Joints, formed by the articulating surfaces of two or more bones, depend on a combination of both stability and mobility in order to help you function efficiently and comfortably. Importantly, joints are supported by a wide variety of physiological structures including capsules, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscle fibers, all of which can become injured and potentially benefit from physical therapy services, including a service known as joint mobilization.

Joint mobilization is a type of manual therapy performed here at our physical therapy clinic. It involves the passive movement of specific joints using the skilled application of force, direction, and technique. A physical therapist can use his or her hands to mobilize an affected joint, or may elect to use certain tools, including straps, to help deliver the desired treatment effect.

The specific type, magnitude, speed, and frequency of joint mobilization performed depends on several factors, including the goal of treatment, the type of joint being targeted, and even your own unique anatomy. The primary effects of joint mobilizations include pain reduction, improved range of motion, and improved quality of joint movement itself (known as arthrokinematics).

What conditions can benefit from joint mobilization?

Sometimes, a joint can become irritated, swollen, or misaligned as a result of injury, stress, poor posture, repetitive movement, or even as a result of age-related wear and tear. When this happens, the joint may not move correctly and become stiff and painful. Nearby structures including muscles, tendons, and ligaments may become tense or injured as a compensatory effect of trying to support or stabilize the injured joint. This can lead to muscle weakness or even impingement and damage to nearby nerves.

Joint mobilization isn’t appropriate for all patients, and our skilled and experience physical therapists can determine if it’s right for you or a loved one. Specific conditions which our physical therapy team successfully manage with joint mobilizations include:
Arthritis (especially of the shoulder, spine, elbow, hip, and knee)
Rotator cuff tears and sprains
Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
Medial or lateral epicondylitis (golfer’s or tennis elbow, respectively)
Ankle sprains
Sciatica and other types of nerve impingement syndromes
Facet joint locking and other types of spinal misalignments
Whiplash

Joint issues are often the hidden underlying factors driving other types of injuries and ailments including muscle strains, ligament damage, and bursitis, so this is why we strongly encourage you to consult with a physical therapist with any type of acute or chronic dysfunction. Your joints could be contributing to your pain without you even realizing it!

What should I expect during a joint mobilization treatment with a physical therapist? If you come to see a physical therapist at our clinic with acute or chronic joint pain, then you can first expect to be thoroughly examined on an initial examination. We’ll be assessing and evaluating everything from your range of motion, strength, coordination, pain level, posture, and even relative tissue tension and feel in order to help us devise an accurate diagnosis. Based on our exam findings, as well as the information we glean from questioning you about your current and past medical history, we’ll be able to devise a customized treatment plan to meet your unique needs. Since joint mobilization techniques have been shown to be effective for a variety of conditions, we very well may decide to implement this type of manual therapy in your plan of care.

To prepare for a physical therapy session with joint mobilization, be sure to wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing. Your therapist will need to be able to see or at least easily palpate (feel) the specific joint he or she is mobilizing (keeping in mind of course, that your privacy and comfort is of utmost concern to our staff). Your physical therapist will be sure to offer you clear details on how to sit or lie during the session, what you should expect to feel, as well as what to do following your session in order to maximize effects and prevent recurring pain or dysfunction. To complement and optimize the effects of joint mobilizations, we’ll also instruct you in additional services which may include therapeutic exercises for strengthening and range of motion, modalities, and postural and neuromuscular retraining.

Are you wondering if joint mobilization is right for you? Give us a call today. Our friendly staff is happy to answer your questions, help you schedule an appointment, and educate you about our wide range of physical therapy services we offer. Drug-free relief from your joint or muscle pain is possible, so give us a call to get your healing journey started today.

We would love to hear from you!

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(509) 325-9144

  • I followed Jennifer and Darcy here. Best people ever. Met new good people once I got there. Thanks for great physical therapy and friendship!

    Leanne Pardee Avatar
    Leanne Pardee
    6/28/2017

    Andrea and Arch are great to work with. They took the time to fully evaluate me and developed a course of therapy to achieve specific goals. So happy I chose them!

    Rob Brewer Avatar
    Rob Brewer
    6/28/2013

    Love working with Andrea. She is extremely knowledgeable in what she does and takes time to really listen to what is causing pain. I have seen a huge improvement! Wonderful for prenatal and postpartum!

    Mackenzie Ivey Avatar
    Mackenzie Ivey
    5/28/2019
  • I found DB through Amazon.Top notch provider, in the true sense of the word.I ordered a hinged elbow brace and, being at the verge of two sizes, needed extra assistance for sizing.Doug called the manufacturer and got the exact answer.When the manuf sent the brace without hinges stops, Doug mailed them to me himself.Could not have asked for anything more.I live in PA, and the transactions across the country felt seamless, bcz their service was that exceptional.They're Santa's shop for braces!

    Lake in Ocean Avatar
    Lake in Ocean
    6/28/2015

    The therapists really care about their patients. They take the time to research and trouble shoot the issues and adjust treatment as needed. Their techniques are not what mainstream would describe as "physical therapy" but it's an amazing and precise science that really works!! Thanks to the whole team for treating my ailments over the years.

    Ami Veltrie Avatar
    Ami Veltrie
    5/28/2019

    The PT experience is top notch! The office is so relaxing, soothing, and spa like- gorgeous!

    Dawn Hill Avatar
    Dawn Hill
    5/28/2019