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What is Mobilization?

Mobilization treatment - working on patient's back

Effective mobilization, like a good lubricant, helps make movement free and easy. Mobilization is using passive movement to increase motion. It can be used in a variety of ways, from a high speed “crack” of bones to a gentle, precise release of bones or soft tissues such as muscles, fascia, organs, blood vessels, and nerves. No matter what the method is, all mobilization involves a skilled manual therapist imparting force to a tissue, or group of tissues, to increase the range of motion available to the patient.

How Does Mobilization Work?

Lack of motion or joint stiffness can occur for a variety of reasons. Scar tissue in the joint can limit motion, but so can muscle tightness around the joint. Swelling can also make a joint feel tight and stiff. Skilled physical therapists at ALTA determine which types of mobilization are appropriate for each patient’s specific problem. An acute problem may require a gentle correction to decrease edema and muscle guarding so that pain is eliminated and range of motion can be restored. More chronic problems often require a direct force to the joint to improve motion.

Besides passive mobilization, certain kinds of exercise are considered mobilization. Assisted exercise helps maintain the range of motion gained by your physical therapist, and can also increase lubrication to the tissue, further increasing motion while decreasing pain. Specific stretching exercises work to lengthen tight muscles and make movement easier.

Your therapist’s extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology combined with clinical experience and training enables him or her to choose the right treatment technique for you. The results are less pain, greater motion and an ability to do more with greater ease!

How Can Mobilization Help You?

  • Increase range of motion
  • Decrease pain
  • Decrease edema
  • Improve postural balance and muscle awareness
  • Decrease stress to specific joints
  • Restore balance to viscera