Joint mobilization is a type of manual therapy that is used to restore full joint mobility. Joints can become immobile due to trauma, swelling, and disuse. Reduced joint motion can put abnormal strain on the surrounding muscles and cause early wearing of the cartilage. Most joint mobilizations are done with small amplitude and speed and are generally considered comfortable by patients.
Joint manipulation is a form of mobilization that is done with high velocity to joints that are jammed or not moving properly. Patients that are good candidates for joint manipulation usually describe a feeling of being “stuck” or feeling “out”. Most manipulations are accompanied by a cracking or popping sound that indicates pressure is being released from the joint. Joint manipulation techniques are primarily used by chiropractors and physiotherapists.