When a patient has problems with joint mobility it can cause stiffness, muscle spasms, motion loss and pain. A physical therapist or athletic trainer might use peripheral joint mobilization to stretch the joint for increased range of motion.
The type of motion will be determined by the surface shape of the joint; if it is convex or concave. Gentle movements stimulate neurophysiological effects to release muscle spasms and pain. Small sliding movements, such as gliding, helps produce fluid in the joints to prevent the degeneration.
If a patient has an inflammatory disease or rheumatoid arthritis, peripheral joint mobilization cannot cure the condition. However, it can reduce pain and maximize what flexibility is already available within the joint.
The patient will be in a relaxed and supported position for the mobilization. If the patient is in pain before the mobilization, the therapist or trainer will use gentle techniques to decrease pain. If the pain occurs because of tissue tightness the therapist or trainer will increase the movement slowly so he or she does not worsen the pain.
Mobilization could be performed from three to five times per week to treat stiffness and limited mobility. Clinical exercises paired with peripheral joint mobilization can improve outcomes, decrease pain, and increase joint mobility.