Joint Mobilization Massage Techniques

What is a Joint Mobilization Massage Technique?

Joint mobilization aims to reduce pain and regain movement to stiff, sore or locked joints using different techniques to target these various issues. These techniques can include, moving joints in specific directions and at different speeds, applying the joint against resistance, passive muscle movements and stretching techniques to return to a full range-of-motion and restore pain-free movement to joints and ligaments.

While most people think of chiropractic adjustment when joint issues are involved, a registered massage therapist can still be useful in treating a problematic joint. With joint mobilization or joint play, from an RMT there is rarely a clicking or cracking sound from the joint. A mobilization focused treatment generally has little to no pain and tends to feel more like a stretching sensation over the affected area being treated.

Depending on the sensitivity of the patient, different grades (or intensities) can be used to make the treatment as pain-free as possible. In addition to joint mobilization treatments, other modalities will be used to loosen the musculature surrounding the primarily affected joint. Swedish massage and deep tissue massage is commonly used before and after joint mobilizations to gain the most beneficial results from the treatment.

Joint Mobilization techniques are helpful in addressing the following conditions:

  • Joint stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • Locked joints
  • Restricted movement
  • Hypomobility of a joint

When should I not get a joint mobilization treatment?

While joint mobilizations are safe, there are some conditions where a joint play is not recommended for safety reasons; the registered massage therapist will be able to decide if joint mobilization is indicated or not. The excessive range of motion or hypermobility of a joint would not benefit from joint play. Also, joint mobilization is not recommended for expecting mothers near the very end of their first trimester due to potentially loose ligaments which make the joint play technique an inappropriate treatment.

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