Joint Mobilisation

Joint mobilisations are passive movements applied to a spinal or peripheral joint in which a movement is performed within control of the patient, so they can restrict the movement if needed. Joint mobilisations are a common treatment method for physiotherapists to restore full range of movement to the joint that may be stiff or painful when assessed.

The nature of the joint mobilisation will be dependent upon the joint that is being treated. When treating the spine it will be more dependent upon the physiotherapist than the patient to control the movement.

Through completing a thorough assessment the physiotherapist will be able to identify which joint is stiff and the specific area needs to be treated.

The physiotherapist will use a combination of methods alongside joint mobilisations to treat a specific problem. These will include massage or exercise therapy to name a few.

When will joint mobilisations be used?

Joint mobilisations will be used to help restore a joint back to its normal function and range of movement. The mechanism of joint mobilisation will target stretching the joint capsule, releasing tension within the soft tissues around the joint and breaking down scar tissue that may have developed within the joint. It is clear that joint mobilisations will be beneficial when treating joints after surgery where a build-up of scar tissue will be the main cause of restricted movement within the joint. Pressure will be applied to the joint to encourage movement and enabling the joint to restore its normal function. Joint mobilisations will also be used when a joint has 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. This could cause the joints in your spine to stiffen, lose mobility and consequently lose their hydration. Through mobilisation of the joints in your spine, the tissue will become stretched, the joint surfaces will be stimulated and the joint capsule will release more fluid, allowing the joint to move freely and more efficiently.

When completing joint mobilisations the depth and degree of mobilisation that the physiotherapist provides will depend on the joint and the injury. There are different grades of mobilisations and these can be discussed with your physiotherapist at your assessment. It may be that you have a degenerative joint (lower back) that has become very stiff over the years and is restricting your movement when bending forwards, causing you low back pain. In this case the physiotherapist may need to apply a stronger force through the joint in order get the desired effect. Treatment is very safe, and the degree of the mobilisation will always be discussed with the patient before and during treatment.

Joint mobilisations can also be used to treat acute injuries within joints, encouraging healing to the area and stimulating the joint. This may be the case if a patient has suffered from a whiplash injury and has restricted movement to their neck. In this case the physiotherapist may apply a gentle pressure through the joints, gaining feedback from the patient on their pain levels, ensuring it is not painful during the treatment.

Yes, the joint mobilisations will help improve the range of movement in your wrist following the injury, allowing it to move functionally and reduce the risk of further complications.

Yes, the joint mobilisations will help improve the range of movement in your wrist following the injury, allowing it to move functionally and reducing the risk of further complications. The physiotherapists at Jamie Bell Physiotherapy are highly skilled in this area and they will be sure to use the correct grade of joint mobilisations to treat your symptoms. The joint mobilisations will improve blood flow to the area, encouraging tissue repair, as well as breaking down any scar tissue that has developed after the injury. It is important to let the physiotherapist know how you feel during the treatment and if it is too painful the physiotherapist can reduced the intensity of the treatment.

I suffer with low back pain, would I benefit from joint mobilisations to my spine?

Absolutely, there is an abundance of evidence to suggest that joint mobilisation will help to improve low back pain. It is common for joint mobilisation to be used in conjunction with soft tissue massage and exercise therapy. The nature of the low back pain will determine the level of the joint mobilisations needed. Contributing factors to low back pain include stiffness to the vertebrae through poor hydration to the vertebral discs and tightness of the soft tissues (muscles and ligaments). Joint mobilisations improve the joint mobility at each vertebra individually, encouraging blood flow to the area and increasing hydration to the intervertebral discs. This then improves the mobility to the spine and reduces the tension in the ligaments and muscles, having a positive impact on pain levels.

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.