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Physical & Massage Therapy

Joint Dysfunction


Joint dysfunction can be caused by trauma, disease, poor posture, or congenital problems (such as scoliosis). Left untreated, joint dysfunction can affect the surrounding soft tissue and may lead to a loss of strength and flexibility as well as abnormal strain on other joints.

Joint Mobilization


Joint mobilization is a hands-on manual therapy designed to restore normal joint play and subsequently normal range of motion. The therapist performs specific passive movement to a stiff joint within or to the limit of a joint's normal range of motion.

Joint mobilization can have the following effects:

  • Stretches adhesions in the soft tissue in and around restricted joints
  • Creates a warming effect in the joint tissue
  • Creates relaxation in surrounding musculature
  • Decreases pain signals to the brain
  • Stimulates lubrication within the joint and better cartilage nutrition
  • Stimulates pain relief
  • Increases proprioception (joint motion sense)
  • Restoration of normal joint motion can result in increased muscular strength

What joints can be treated?

Any joint can be treated, commonly shoulders, the wrist and the joints of the spine. In the spine the facet joints and/or the costovertebral articulations (thoracic spine and ribs) may become stiff causing joint dysfunction. When a joint is unable to move freely, a cycle of muscle spasm, pain, and fatigue will occur.


Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation is also often known as High Velocity Low Amplitude Thrust (HVLAT). It is another form of manual therapy which is performed by physical therapists with specific training. This technique is performed within the normal anatomical range of a joint motion with a quick force delivered in a specific direction to improve joint mobility and relieve pain. HVLAT should produce a joint "pop" and should provide immediate relief.

Joint manipulation can have the following effects:

  • release entrapped synovial folds
  • reflex relaxation of surrounding spinal musculature
  • immediate increase in joint mobility
  • immediate decrease in joint and muscle pain


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