What is a joint manipulation?

Manipulations are applied to joints which have abnormal movement patterns or are failing to function normally. The are used to realign the joint surfaces to increase range of movement, reduce pain and improve function.

A Joint manipulation involves

  • A high velocity thrust applied to a joint
  • An accompanying, audible click which is widely believed to be a release gases including oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. This releases the pressure with in the joint.
  • A relief of pain

Do Physiotherapists manipulate joints?

Physiotherapy treatments involve many techniques which affect the musculo-skeletal system. Most involve mobilisation of soft tissues and  joints, restoration of muscle function and correction of muscle imbalances as well as recognising underlying pathological, physiological and pscyhcological influences which may be a factor in their condition.

When joints are being mobilised to the end of their range of movement a manipulation may occur. OccasionallPositioning the patient for a manipulationy during regular physiotherapy assessment and treatments minor joint manipulations may occur as joints are brought to the end of their range of movement. In other cases Chartered Physiotherapists will perform a grade 5 mobilisation which is a joint manipulation. Chartered physiotherapists do post graduate training to specialise further in Peripheral and Spinal Manipulation.

So yes, Physiotherapists do perform joint manipulations, but when we do manipulate a joint we will also give exercises to prevent the misalignment occurring again. We believe there is no point just treating the pain if we do not treat the the cause of the problem also.