Spinal mobilization is a type of passive movement of a spinal segment or region. It is usually performed with the aim of achieving a therapeutic effect. Spinal mobilization has been described as “a gentle, often oscillatory, passive movement applied to a spinal region or segment so as gently to increase the passive range of motion of that segment or region.
Mobilisations primarily consist of passive movements which can be classified as physiological or accessory. The purpose is to provide short term pain relief and to restore pain-free, functional movements by achieving full range at the joint.
Joint mobilisation is a treatment technique which can be used to manage musculoskeletal dysfunction, by restoring the motion in the respective joint. The techniques are performed by physiotherapists, and fall under the category of manual therapy. Spinal mobilisation is described in terms of improving mobility in areas of the spine that are restricted. Such restriction may be found in joints, connective tissues or muscles. By removing the restriction by mobilisation the source of pain is reduced and the patient experiences symptomatic relief. This results in gentle mobilisations being used for pain relief while more forceful, deeper mobilisations are effective for decreasing joint stiffness.