Joint mobilization is a branch of Manual Therapy which is utilized by a chiropractor in NYC or physical therapist when a patient is experiencing decreased joint mobility, function or pain. Manual Therapy, also referred to as Manipulative Therapy, is a therapeutic technique often used in conjunction with other traditional therapeutic treatments such as chiropractic adjustments in NYC. Its primary purpose is to provide pain relief for individuals, as per chiropractic, with spinal subluxations. The earliest known mention of Manual Therapy dates back to 400 BCE in Europe.
The use of Joint Mobilization as therapeutic intervention is commonly used in Osteopathy and Chiropractic Medicine along with Physical Therapy practice. However, it is primarily a source of treatment in the Chiropractic profession. This method of treatment may be used by practitioners desiring to avoid surgery or pharmaceutical intervention for their patient’s pain.
Practitioners implementing Joint Mobilization as a means of therapeutic and alternative care are seeking to provide relief of acute and chronic neck pain, back pain. Over time, and potentially as a result of various traumas, muscles in the body become stiff and tense leading to a reduction in range of motion. If not treated a permanent reduction in range of motion and chronic pain may set in.
A joint with limited motion will experience a wearing away of the cartilage surrounding the affected joint. This leads to the body, specifically nearby joints, beginning to compensate for the lack of mobility. This compensation only works for a limited amount of time before these joints begin to wear due to being overused.
Joint wear and tear are not the only physiological side effect from a decrease mobility. Muscles around the affected (stiff) joint will not be able to contract and relax as sufficiently causing them to become tense. All of these implications will lead to undo pain and discomfort.
There are a wide variety of joints that most commonly require Joint Mobilization techniques to reach full capacity once again. Of those joints the ones that see the most benefit consist of any of the joints of the extremities (hands, feet, ankles, knees, etc.) along with the neck, back, and sacroiliac joints. However, any joint can experience insufficient motion leading to deterioration and pain. Making Joint Mobilization a potential treatment for a wide variety of patients.
During a session the patient should expect to provide a full medical history and undergo a physical examination. The patient will have the opportunity to explain their areas of concern which will help the practitioner determine the best course of action. Once the patient is in a comfortable position where the muscles and joints are able to relax the practitioner will apply sustained or rhythmic oscillating pressure to the joints of concern. The patient will be positioned in such a way that the joints are able to move freely, while still being comfortable. Once positioned properly the practitioner will begin making chiropractic adjustments.
Joint Mobilization is a hands-on therapy and the patient should expect to hear a popping sound as a result of the joints being mobilized. Multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve the desired outcome of improvement. This is unique to each patient and their needs. As the patient progresses through treatment the adjustments may become quicker due to the practitioner becoming familiar with the location of the subluxation.
Joint Mobilization relies on grading scales to guide the practitioner in the appropriate mobilization technique to use. There are two primary grading scales; the Maitland Joint Mobilization Grading Scale and the Kaltenborn Traction Grading Scale. Both tell the practitioner what level of amplitude and movement should be used. The Maitland Joint Mobilization scale uses five grades while the Kaltenborn Traction scale has only three. These grading systems take into account the health and range of motion of the joint being treated.
While it may not sound as though tense muscles and stiff joints are a major health concern, their constant physical state creates unnecessary pain and a poor quality of life. Joint Mobilization should be considered a viable method of treatment and healing for the patient experiencing ongoing pain and discomfort. A practitioner of Joint Mobilization can assess the individual to determine if this treatment protocol is right for them. Through Joint Mobilization tense muscles are able to relax and joints can become unrestricted.
NYC Chiropractor Dr. Alex Kaminsky is very well versed in Joint Mobilization techniques.