Joint mobilization or articulation is a type of manual therapy. Your Osteopath will use his hands to mobilize an affected joint or may elect to use certain tools, including straps, to help deliver the desired treatment effect.
This form of treatment involves the passive movement of specific joints using the skilled application of force, direction, and technique.
What should I know about joint mobilization?
Joints are formed by the articulating surfaces of two or more bones. They are supported by, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscles. The normal movement of your joints helps to produce synovial fluid (fluid that lubricates your joints) improving the quality of movement and helping the articular cartilage to stay healthy.
You have hundreds of joints in your body, which come in a variety of types and sizes (such as a “hinge joint” in your elbow, a “ball and socket joint” in your hip, or a “saddle joint” in your thumb). Joint articulation can be applied to all of them.
In particular, your osteopath will concentrate on accessory movements of your joints (movements that we can’t perform ourselves) like traction and shearing movement. These are usually the movements that get effected first in any joint dysfunction.
Joints can become irritated and swollen, as a result of injury, overuse or arthritis.
Consequently, the joint may not move correctly and become stiff and painful. Surrounding structures including muscles, tendons, and ligaments may become tense or injured as a compensatory effect of trying to support or stabilize the injured joint. This can lead to muscle weakness or even joint impingement.
The benefits of joint mobilizations include:
- pain reduction
- improved range of motion,
- and improved quality of joint movement itself (known as arthrokinematics).
Restoring or at least improving the range of motion of a particular joint is crucial for the quality of the general movement and therefore a necessary part of getting you better.
Joint mobilisation/articulation are used by Osteopaths all over the world. They are very gentle and patient with arthritic joints respond to them very well.
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