What are mobilisation techniques?
Mobilisation involves the physiotherapist repeatedly moving a joint to achieve a treatment effect. The direction of the movement of the joint will depend upon the desired treatment and the mechanics of the joint in question. The treatment effect can be altered to either relieve pain or improve range of motion, this involves altering the degree of movement of the joint. Most people might be familiar with the image of a physiotherapist pushing down on the back of a patient, this is an example of a mobilisation. Mobilisations are not however just limited to the back.
How do mobilisations work?
Mobilisations work by utilising two different physiological mechanisms. Relatively gentle mobilisations with small degrees of joint movement can be used to relieve pain by utilising the pain gate theory, a theory which simply stated explains that movements can block the sensation of pain. Mobilisations with a greater amplitude of movement can stretch the joint capsule and surrounding ligaments to ultimately improve joint range of motion. Various mobilisations may be used at different stages along the rehabilitation pathway, on one or several joints.
What injuries are mobilisations used for?
Mobilisations can be used effectively in the treatment of a wide and varied range of musculoskeletal conditions, from back pain to ankle sprains. The application of mobilisations extends to the vast majority of the joints in the body. The flexibility of this treatment approach allows physiotherapists to adapt the treatment to the condition or injury. Mobilisations are used to relieve pain and to improve joint range of motion, the degree to which either of these treatments are applicable to you will depend on your injury.