WHAT IS JOINT MOBILIZATION?
We have hundreds of joints in our 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 to help you function efficiently and comfortably. In fact, joints are supported by a wide variety of physiological structures. For instance, capsules, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscle fibers, all of which can become injured and potentially benefit from physical therapy services, known as joint mobilization.
Joint mobilization is a type of therapy performed 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 their hands to mobilize an affected joint, or may elect to use certain tools, to help deliver the desired treatment effect.
The 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 .
What conditions can benefit from joint mobilization?
In some cases, a joint can become irritated, swollen, or misaligned as a result of injury, stress, poor posture, repetitive movement, or even as a result of normal wear and tear. When this happens, the joint may not move correctly and become stiff and painful. 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 your nearby nerves.
Joint mobilization isn’t appropriate for all patients. We have skilled and experienced physical therapists that can determine if it’s right for you or a loved one. Specific conditions which our physical therapy team successfully manage .
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)
Sciatica and other types of nerve impingement syndromes
Facet joint locking and other types of spinal misalignments
Joint issues are often the hidden 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. 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 easily feel the specific joint they are mobilizing (keeping in mind of course, that your privacy and comfort is of utmost concern to our staff). Your physical therapist will offer details on how to sit or lie during the session. To complement and optimize the effects of joint mobilizations, we’ll also include 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. 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.