Description: Joint mobilisation is a passive hands-on movement technique applied to a stiff spinal or peripheral joint. Mobilisation is particularly effective when combined with other treatments such as soft tissue and muscle stabilising techniques, along with exercise. A thorough physical examination by your physiotherapist will determine if mobilisation is the most appropriate technique for your particular presentation.
Mobilisation involves rhythmic oscillations within a normal range of joint-motion or against a restrictive barrier (Maitland et al. 2001) and is associated with slower loading rates than manipulation (Maitland et al. 2001). Mobilisation is generally performed at less than 2Hz and with a larger number of loading-cycles (Evans and Breen 2006).
Effects of Mobilisation: The pain killing effects of mobilisation and SMTT have been to a large degree amalgamated in the literature. Spinal mobilisation can relieve back pain by taking pressure off sensitive nerves or tissue, restoring blood flow, reducing muscle tension, and promote the release of chemicals like endorphins and serotonin within the body to act as natural painkillers.
Spinal mobilisation aims to restore full range of motion to the joint by activating mechanoreceptors within the capsule of the joints. It also has the effect of altering the neuromuscular (nerve) firing within muscles to cause a reflex relaxation of the surrounding tight musculature. Simply, it helps to restore normal pain free motion. Although primarily used in the treatment of joint conditions, mobilisations can also be extremely effective when dealing with nerve or muscular injuries.
Mobilisation is generally very safe. Side effects are very rare. You will be fully screened for any contraindications before undergoing treatment. You need to be aware that in a small number of patients:
- Local discomfort and post treatment soreness occurs. This should last no longer than a couple of days at most.
- Light headiness occasionally occurs in patients who receive neck mobilisation – you will be monitored in clinic to ensure that this is temporary and resolves before you leave the physiotherapy department.
- Pain during treatment occurs which is momentary and passes off quickly after treatment.
- Existing symptoms can get worse temporarily after treatment.