Thursday Thoughts: Repeated Motions vs Mobilizations | Modern Manual Therapy Blog

Thursday Thoughts: Repeated Motions vs Mobilizations


I once heard something about indications for spinal manipulation. Who would manipulate? Anyone you would mobilize.

The same holds true for repeated motions or loading/unloading strategies. You would choose to use a repeated loading/unloading strategy on anyone you would mobilize. Here are similarities
  • similar indications and contraindications
  • both have powerful neurophysiologic (rapid) effects
  • both may effect anything from ROM, to strength, pain perception, function, facilitation, inhibition
Differences in favor of mobilization
  • patient perception of effectiveness - a hands on/off may or may not be preferred depending on the patient
  • the clinician is in control of the maneuver, getting to end range, or controlling dosage, testing/re-testing
Differences in favor of repeated motions
  • work better as both a test and a treatment (passive accessory motion does not work well nor is reliable as a test)
  • they are easier for the clinician to instruct and/or use as an invention (less psychomotor practice involved)
  • the patient can do the same exact maneuver or very similar to get the same effects at home - can't do that with mobilization!
This last point is a cornerstone of The Eclectic Approach. Starting with an assessment/treatment that the patient can use at home is very empowering. Other passive treatments, not so much. 

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