Joint mobilization is an example of a hands-on treatment and is a form of passive movement technique for musculoskeletal conditions. This technique, which is considered manual therapy, is usually performed by certified physical therapists. This usually involves applying force that would mimic the glide that happens in between the bones.
Joint mobilization is usually done at a slow speed, with or without oscillations or a stretch. This technique is usually graded and is varied based on two factors: pain tolerance of the patient and the acuity of the patient’s condition. In comparison, manipulation technique is more aggressive using high velocity thrusts.
The main aim of joint mobilization is to restore the normal joint play that might have been compromised by damage or injury. Normal motion of the affected joint will restored more quickly if it is addressed early in the treatment program.
A “restricted joint” issue often occurs after an injury, such as falling and twisting your back, or wrenching your shoulder. The injury to the joint leads to muscle spasms and restricted movement. A skilled physical therapist practices joint mobilization movements, such as a “glide and slide” of opposing bones, in order to get the joints working properly again.