Joint Mobilisation


Physiotherapy joint mobilisations are part of the manual and hands-on therapies that we perform at our Reading clinics.  Our physiotherapists at core body clinic are experts in delivering these techniques.  They can be performed on any joint in the body and are used to treat pain and stiffness affecting the mobility of a spinal or peripheral (ie shoulder or knee) joint.  Mobilisations are graded oscillations of pressure directed at a joint and applied in a highly specific manner.  They are performed for a duration of 1-3 minutes and tailored according to a patient's pain level and tissue stiffness.  The purpose of mobilisation is to enhance movement by reducing stiffness and pain.  The physiotherapists at Core Body Clinic are trained to masters level and have undergone 1000's of clinical hours to perfect the skill of joint mobilisation.

How Does it Work?

Applying a mechanical load to a joint that is injured is thought to improve the suppleness of the tissue around the joint.  The mechanisms by which this is achieved may derived from sereral sources.  The direct mechanical loading may have a 'creep' load effect where slow and sustained pressure reduces stiffness in the tissue.  We know that pressure and touch applied to the skin stimulates the release of neuro-endorphins which act to reduce sensitivity and therefore improve movement tolerance.  Muscle spasm occurs when we have pain and the physio-therapeutic effect of joint mobilisation reduces this spasm via a system called gamma reflex inhibition.  We also know that simply 'touching' the skin causes a sense of wellbeing and this also enhances the effect of any therapy we perform.  Many research articles have noted that placebo plays a huge part in the effectiveness of a treatment. 

How Does it feel?

Mobilisations are graded 1-4.  Grade 1 denotes lite pressure where as grade 4 describes heavier pressure and is generally reserved for very stiff and stubborn joints.  The pressure may feel quite firm with the degree of pressure determined by patient comfort and injury/healing stage.

Will it help my condition?

Mobilisation can help with a number of ailment.  At Core Body Clinic we have found it particularly useful for:

Are there any side effects?

The Physiotherapists at Core Body Clinic are specially trained to carry out mobilisation procedures and with this comes a reduced incidence of side effects.  There may be some soreness after therapy with effects diminishing after a day or two. 

For further reading:

Malisza KL, Gregorash L, Turner A, Foniok T, Stroman PW, Allman AA, Summers R, Wright A (2003) ‘Functional MRI involving painful stimulation of the ankle and the effect of physiotherapy joint mobilization’. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Jun; 21(5):489-96.

Wright, A. (1995) ‘Hypoalgesia post-manipulative therapy: a review of a potential neurophysiological mechanism’. Manual Therapy.  1, 11-6.

Fryer, G., Carub, J., McIver, S. (2004) ‘The effect of manipulation and mobilisation on pressure pain thresholds in the thoracic spine.’ Journal of Osteopathic Medicine. 7 (1), 8-14