What is joint mobilization?
Joint mobilization is a type of manual therapy performed here at Protailored Physical Therapy. It involves the passive movement of specific joints using the skilled application of force, direction, and technique. A Fort Wayne 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; pain relief.
The performance of joint mobilization 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). Your therapist will decide on the specific type, magnitude, speed, and frequency of joint mobilization treatments in order to provide you the most effective relief possible.
How can joint mobilization benefit me?
You have hundreds of joints in your body, which come in a variety of types and sizes. Types of joints include 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.
If a joint becomes 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, it will not function properly and become stiff and painful. Nearby muscles, tendons, and ligaments may become tense or injured as a result of trying to support or stabilize the injured joint. This can lead to muscle weakness or even impingement and damage to nearby nerves.
Who would benefit from joint mobilization?
Joint mobilization isn’t appropriate for everyone, and our skilled and experienced Fort Wayne, IN physical therapists will determine at the initial evaluation if it’s right for you or a loved one. Some conditions which our physical therapy team successfully manage with joint mobilizations include:
- Sciatica and other types of nerve impingement syndromes
- Rotator cuff tears and sprains
- Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
- Medial or lateral epicondylitis (golfer’s or tennis elbow, respectively)
- Ankle sprains
- Arthritis of the shoulder, spine, elbow, hip, and knee
- Facet joint locking and other types of spinal misalignments
We strongly recommend you consult with a physical therapist if you have any type of acute or chronic dysfunction. Joint issues are often a hidden underlying factor that cause other types of injuries and ailments like muscle strains, ligament damage, and bursitis. Your joints could be causing your pain without you even realizing it!
What should I expect during a joint mobilization treatment with a physical therapist?
To best prepare for a physical therapy session with joint mobilization, you should wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing. Your joint will need to be accessible by your therapist in order to perform a joint mobilization treatment. To get an accurate diagnosis, you should expect to be thoroughly examined on an initial examination, as we assess and evaluate everything from your range of motion, strength, coordination, pain level, posture, and even relative tissue tension. Based on our findings, as well as the information we gather 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 and get you feeling better fast.
Our 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. 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.
Common Questions Regarding Joint Mobilizations
Why is my joint not moving like it should?
A joint can become restricted in movement by its surrounding tissue including the joint capsule, bone, muscle, fascia, tendons or cartilage. This can lead to complaints of pain or restrictions in movement. Joint mobilizations work well in conjunction with addressing the tissues surrounding the joint. For example, stretching the muscles that are tight that surround the joint.
How do Joint Mobilizations work?
Joint mobilizations stretch the tissues surrounding a joint. The therapist will perform small passive movements with a targeted pressure or force to improve the mobility of that joint. The level of intensity can vary and is dependent on patient comfort.
What do Joint Mobilizations feel like?
Joint mobilizations are performed by the therapist. They typically feel like a stretch. The technique is typically relatively pain-free, however, the pressure from the therapist may be more tender in some areas compared to others. You may have some soreness in the area surrounding the joint following a mobilization.
Who can perform Joint Mobilizations?
We can! Our therapists go through an extensive training program to enhance their mobilization techniques before they start seeing patients.
Is joint mobilization for you?
Considering joint mobilization? Drug-free relief from your joint or muscle pain is possible. Contact ProTailored Physical Therapy for your appointment. Our friendly staff is happy to answer your questions, help you schedule an evaluation, and educate you about our wide range of physical therapy services we offer.