What Is Joint Mobilization?
Joint mobilization is a chiropractic technique that involves a careful application of a precise amount of force to a stiff joint. Using small, passive motions, a medical specialist manually moves the joint, gently working it through its natural level of resistance in a predetermined direction. This can help stretch and strengthen the surrounding tissues.
When left untreated, joint stiffness can cause a ripple effect. As a joint stiffens and loses mobility, nearby structures may be affected as well. For instance, in order to compensate for lost joint function, other joints may need to work harder. Excessive movement and overuse can cause joint cartilage to break down and wear away, leaving the bone surfaces exposed so that they grind painfully together during movement. Additionally, the muscles surrounding a stiff joint may tighten after losing their ability to contract and relax properly.
What are the potential benefits of joint mobilization?
Joint mobilization can:
- Reduce pain
- Improve mobility
- Enhance range of motion
- Ease muscle tension and spasms
Which joints can benefit from mobilization?
Any joint that lacks sufficient motion can be mobilized. For instance, joint mobilization is often performed on the neck; upper, middle and lower back; and the sacroiliac joints at the base of the spine. This treatment may also be used to treat joints in the extremities, such as the shoulder, wrist, hand, hip, knee, ankle or foot.
It’s important to note that joint mobilization differs from joint manipulation, which is a manual technique that may be used to strengthen joints. When performing joint manipulation, a medical professional applies a forceful thrust to a joint to stretch the surrounding tissues and help restore joint mobility.
At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, we typically advise our patients to explore nonsurgical treatment options for joint pain, such as physical therapy and joint mobilization, prior to considering joint replacement or any other type of surgery. If you’d like to discuss your symptoms with our in-house chiropractor, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, today.
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