Joint mobilization in physical therapy


It is a manual physical therapy technique in which a physical therapist uses different methods to normalize the joints in the body.

In it, a physical therapist applies pressure on the joint in such a way that the function of the joint is restored. Joint mobilization therapy has several techniques and it entirely depends on the degree of damage to the joint and bearing capacity of a person.

Types of joint mobilization therapy

It is usually divided into the following three types

  • Oscillatory joint mobilizations:This involves applying gentle pressure to the joint that is low-velocity and varies in 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: as the name suggests it is a pulling or traction-type motion that is held constant for a limited period. This kind of mobilization is meant to lessen joint compression and stretch the encircling soft tissue.
  • Manipulation: it is an excessive motion that is high in speed with a low amplitude; it is normally applied in a path of tightness.

Grades of mobilization

Following grades are used to differentiate between different degrees of mobilization

  • Grade 1

It is slow in speed and small in amplitude. Back and forth movements are applied at the joint arc of motion

  • Grade 2

it is slow in speed but large in amplitude back and forth moments are applied at the middle of  joints Arc of motion

  • Grade 3

it is slow in speed but large in amplitude back and forth motion is applied at middle to end of joints arc of motion

  • Grade 4

It is slow small in amplitude and applied at end of joints arc of motion

  • Grade 5

It is a high-speed small-amplitude thrusting motion applied at the end of joint available motion.
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Benefits of joint mobilization

This physical therapy technique is effective in reducing pain and increasing range of motion and enhancing the overall function of the targeted area. There is no proper explanation of the mechanism that how joint mobilization works but it is believed that it activates our sympathetic nervous system. Most of the scientists claim that it is a temporary treatment and can affect only for a short time but there is also no proven evidence for this. Regardless of all these scientific discussions and facts, joint mobilization is considered to be a very effective treatment in some diseases such as osteoarthritis, low back and neck pain, and wrist fractures as well.
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