Soft Tissue Mobilization
Soft tissue in the human body is made up of muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia. The soft tissue supports joint action. After a trauma, soft tissue can shorten, restricting the natural movement of a joint. Inflammation causes soft tissue thickening, which can also impede joint function.
Soft tissue manipulation is a manual technique used to reduce pain, relax muscles, increase range of motion and restore strength. It is also used to treat adhesions, which may form within the soft tissue as a result of trauma, surgery, immobilization or repetitive strain.
Soft tissue mobilization breaks down adhesions and stimulates tissue regeneration.
With this treatment, the physical therapist gently moves a joint through its natural motion, stretching the soft tissue, releasing tension from the muscles and improving blood circulation. The physical therapist slowly adds force to this movement until the deep tissue is reached and released.
Joints are points in the body where two bones meet. They are surrounded by soft tissue, which is susceptible to injury or disease. Joint mobilization is a physical therapy technique designed to relieve pain and muscle spasms, release tension and improve flexibility in a joint. By increasing the client’s awareness of the correct position and movement of a joint and simulating smooth joint function, joint mobilization improves range of motion and mobility.
Using small, passive movements, a physical therapist manually moves a joint, gently working it through a natural level of resistance. These motions stretch and strengthen the tissue surrounding the bone, which helps reduce pain and increase range of motion.
Every joint is classified on a five grade scale for range of motion. Grades I and II are used predominantly to reduce pain and stiffness. Grades III through V are used primarily to increase mobility and joint play.
Joint mobilization should not be confused with joint manipulation, a similar manual technique for strengthening joints. With joint manipulation, the physical therapist applies a forceful thrust to the joint movement, which stretches the tissue and restores joint play.
Spinal Mobilization Therapy
Spinal mobilization is a therapy technique used to treat back and neck pain and stiffness. The bones in the back, known as vertebrae, are surrounded by small muscles, which can get tight as a result of trauma, injury or disease. This can lead to pain, stiffness and restricted range of motion for activities of daily living.
Spinal mobilization gently stretches the muscles between the vertebrae, temporarily relieving pain and encouraging healing. A physical therapist slowly and gently stretches each vertebrae through a series of controlled movements that relax the muscles and open up the space between the vertebrae.