Experiencing Joint Pain? Joint Mobilization Can Help

Whether it’s acute or chronic, joint pain is common among adults in the U.S.

Joint pain can be caused by an injury, such as a sprain or a strain. Sometimes an injury or inflammation of a joint can cause bursitis or tendinitis.

Other times joint pain may be a sign of arthritis. Athletes, for example, can develop osteoarthritis from the demands they put on their bodies which can cause wear and tear on the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is also a big issue for many adults. RA is a disease of the immune system that sparks inflammation in the body and harms the joints.

Conventional doctors typically prescribe medications for pain and inflammation to reduce joint pain symptoms. However, temporarily relieving the symptoms without treating the root cause can hurt your overall health. Long-term medication use can also lead to adverse side effects that can make you feel worse.

If you are reading this article and you suffer from joint pain, then you probably don’t want to be on medications forever.

If this sounds like you, then seeking an integrative approach to treating joint pain, which can help heal and restore your joints back to normal function is something you may want to look at.

In particular, treatment techniques, such as Joint Mobilization is an option you may want to consider.

What is Joint Mobilization?

Joint mobilization is a treatment technique designed to improve function, alignment and motion of both spinal and extremity joints – e.g., shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, and foot.

During joint mobilization, a trained physical therapist will move the joints through its normal range of motion (a physiological movement), or glide the bones of the joints through the plane of the joint (an accessory movement).

Four different grades are generally used to either treat pain (grades I and II), or joint stiffness (grades III and IV). The proper use of joint mobilization techniques can decrease or relieve pain, increase joint movement and mobility, and decrease tension in surrounding muscles.

What Happens Before, During and After a Joint Mobilization?

First, your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation of the area experiencing pain. He or she will then place you in a comfortable and safe position before mobilization techniques begin.

Following treatment, your physical therapist will reassess your joint movement. Sometimes tape may be used to maintain the correct position of the joint after mobilization.

Also, treatment can be directed at the soft tissue structures around the joint – soft tissue mobilization, and exercises may be taught to maintain the mobility and stability of your joints.

It is important to note that joint mobilization can’t be performed on patients who have osteoporosis, a fractured or weakened bone, bleeding disorders, neurological defects, or anyone experiencing excessive pain in the joints.

If you are not sure if joint mobilization is the right treatment for you, then it’s best to seek advice from a licensed and experienced physical therapist who specializes in this treatment in your area. He or she will be able to help diagnose the problem you are experiencing and prescribe a solution that can mitigate and overcome the pain.


Marge Kalfon is the founder of PT by Marge and is a licensed physical therapist in Virginia. She graduated with her Masters of Science in Physical Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University in 1992. Since then, she has practiced in a wide variety of settings ranging from large hospitals to small private practices. She has extensive training and experience in a wide variety of manual therapy techniques as well as orthopedic and neurological rehabilitation.