Joint mobilization techniques are used to help patients regain movement in restricted/stiff joints and involve the therapist manually pivoting, distracting and gliding joints using graded forces to increase mobility and reduce pain. This rehabilitative technique can be applied to all body joints and is especially useful when articular (cartilage) structures inhibit joint range of motion.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
By manipulating soft tissue, including muscles, tendons and fascia that surround joints, physical therapists can improve fascia health and flexibility so that range of motion is restored and pain is eliminated. Relieving joint tightness also stimulates blood flow to nerves sensitizing soft tissues, which further aids in pain reduction.
Scar Management and Desensitization
Scar tissue is the body’s protective method of repairing damaged tissue due to trauma or surgical intervention. Unfortunately, this new tissue is not as flexible or functional as the original skin, often resulting in a pronounced and sometimes unsightly scar. Scarring can be painful and also limits movement near or over a joint. Through the use of "friction and percussion" massage techniques, stretching, compression and specialized instruments, the physical therapist can restore blood circulation and flexibility to thickened scar tissue, resulting in decreased pain with improved movement and appearance outcomes.
Physical therapy techniques designed to retrain and restore the neuromuscular system's function are referred to as neuromuscular re-education. When injury to joints and muscles disrupt normal movement patterns, PTs re-establish these normal patterns by incorporating proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques and muscle energy techniques (MET) that gently recreate motions used in everyday activity to expedite recovery following an operation, accident or illness.
For more information about our physical therapy techniques, please call our office today at Oxford Rehab.