Joint Manipulations

Joint manipulations are used widely through physiotherapy and at Jamie Bell Physiotherapy we are well trained in the performance of specific manipulative techniques. Joint manipulations are passive movements applied to a skeletal joint at high velocity. These techniques are short thrusts applied at the end of the joints available range of movement.

It is common for a joint manipulation to be associated with a 'pop' or 'click' sound during treatment. There are many different theories for this, however it is believed that the change in pressure within the joint created by the manipulation causes gases to be released from the joint, causing the popping or clicking sound. This is commonly associated with a feeling of relief and reduction in tension.

Through completing a thorough assessment the physiotherapist will be able to identify which joint is stiff and the specific area that needs to be treated. The physiotherapist will use a combination of treatment methods alongside joint mobilisations to treat a specific problem.

When will joint manipulations be used?

The benefits of joint manipulation include improving the joints range of movement, breaking down scar tissue and reducing muscle pain. They are commonly used to help restore a joint back to its normal function and range of movement.

Joint manipulations are also used to help improve movement in a joint that may have stiffened up as a result of poor body mechanics or prolonged static postures. It may be that your upper back has stiffened up after working at your desk with a poor posture. Joint manipulations will allow the pressure within the joint to be released and help reduce tension in the surrounding tissues. This will have a positive impact on pain levels and allow the joint to move freely and more efficiently.

It is common for joint mobilisations to be performed by a number of different health professionals who are trained in the principle. These different health professionals include Osteopaths, Chiropractors and Physiotherapists. Each profession has a slightly different approach to joint manipulations based on their principles of treating certain conditions.

What is the difference between Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Physiotherapists?

It is important to understand that all three professions have the patient at the centre of their care and they all form management protocols from a thorough assessment and diagnosis. Each profession uses joint manipulation to treat certain conditions and injuries, however the approaches will vary based on the training each professional has received.

Chiropractors mainly focus on how the body is affected through looking at the spinal and muscular system. They also specifically look at neuromuscular disorders and their effects on function of the nervous system and health in general. When training to be a chiropractor it involves in-depth training in spinal and joint manipulation. They focus on working with the whole body using the spinal and peripheral joint manipulations to treat an injury, as well as using massage, rehabilitative exercises and lifestyle changes. Every chiropractor will have a different approach and speciality, however their fundamental treatment techniques include joint manipulations of the peripheral joint and spine to treat certain conditions throughout the body.

Osteopaths focus on a holistic approach to ensure that all their individual treatments are tailored to the individual patient. Treatment is focussed on ensuring equilibrium throughout the body's structures (skeleton, ligaments, and muscles, nerves) to provide optimal performance and reduce the risk of injury and illness. They target the musculoskeletal system through joint mobilisations, massage, acupuncture, posture correction and stretching to treat existing conditions and to prevent illnesses.

Physiotherapists focus primarily on exercise based management to restore the body back to its optimal function. Once they have completed their formal training, the majority of physiotherapists complete further training in manual therapy or manipulative techniques to complement the skills they have developed through their training. Physiotherapists focus on an evidence based approach to their practice, ensuring that the patient is getting the most relevant and up to date treatment to improve their symptoms.

All the physiotherapists at Jamie Bell Physiotherapy are trained and experienced in using joint manipulations as a treatment method in their practice. If you have any further questions or feel you would benefit from this treatment then do not hesitate to call and book in for a full assessment with one of our team.

If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help.