Joint “mobilization” is a subtype of joint manipulative therapy in which the therapist moves the joints in specific directions and depths with, or without, the patient’s assistance, to stretch the joint and its surrounding tissues.
Mobilization is different from the high-velocity, low amplitude (HVLA) thrust joint manipulation employed by chiropractors and other manual therapists. Chiropractors refer to HVLA thrust manipulation as a chiropractic “adjustment,” spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), or simply “manipulation.”
All Injury Rehab & Chiropractic employs a variety of different forms of manipulation from a basic holding stretch (also known as myofascial release) to thrust manipulation. All are effective in the appropriate application and the choice of which form of manual manipulation to use depends on the patient’s informed consent and several factors.
These include, but are not limited to:
The patient’s specific problem; for example, a herniated spinal disc may or may not preclude the use of manipulation
The patient’s underlying condition(s); for example, severe joint degeneration or osteoporosis
The likelihood of potential problems or patient reactions with a particular form of manual manipulation; for example, the patient not relaxing during treatment or the degree of muscle spasm being too great
Unfortunately, there is often great confusion in terminology and understanding within the various healthcare professions. This is likely due to the fact that different professions look at the same action from different perspectives and educational experiences. However, the goal in manual therapy remains the same: the use of a physical therapist’s hands to relax and stretch joints and muscles to provide pain relief and restore proper joint operation at the joint itself and throughout the body.