Joints are points in the body where two bones meet. They are surrounded by soft tissue, which is susceptible to injury or disease. Joint mobilization is a physical therapy technique designed to relieve pain and muscle spasms, release tension and improve flexibility in a joint. By increasing the client’s awareness of the correct position and movement of a joint and simulating smooth joint function, joint mobilization improves range of motion and mobility.
Using small, passive movements, a physical therapist manually moves a joint, gently working it through a natural level of resistance. These motions stretch and strengthen the tissue surrounding the bone, which helps reduce pain and increase range of motion.
Every joint is classified on a five grade scale for range of motion. Grades I and II are used predominantly to reduce pain and stiffness. Grades III through V are used primarily to increase mobility and joint play.
Joint mobilization should not be confused with joint manipulation, a similar manual technique for strengthening joints. With joint manipulation, the physical therapist applies a forceful thrust to the joint movement, which stretches the tissue and restores joint play.
For more information about whether joint mobilization is an appropriate treatment for you, schedule an appointment at our Lexington office.