Physical therapists will use joint mobilization techniques when the articular structures limit the motion of joints; producing arthrokinematic (sliding, distraction, pivoting) movements that need to occur with normal motion. Mobilization techniques are graded and varied based on the acuity of the condition and pain tolerances. Restoring normal joint mobility early in the treatment program will ultimately lead to a quicker return to normal motion.
The therapeutic use of manual traction (use of the therapist’s hands that combine joint and soft tissue mobilization), to produce a combination of distraction and gliding in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (low back) spine, may be effective in relieving pain, increasing joint mobility and increasing muscle flexibility.
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