Mobilization: Back Pain Treatment

Mobilization is a back pain treatment whereby a chiropractor, osteopath, or other healthcare practitioner will restore movement and mobility to joints through massage.

We may experience joint pain or back pain for one of several reasons, including:
  • Degenerative wasting of the cartilage that separates the adjoining bones of a joint, resulting in osteoarthritis
  • Contraction of the back muscles, which are also known as muscle spasms, in the event of sustained involuntary contraction
  • Instability of the joint
  • Constriction of the nerve roots that exit the spine (this condition known as nerve root compression)
  • Permanent changes to the ligaments, involving their loss of elasticity or loosening due to repeated bad posture and/or strain
All of these physical changes to our spine, and the structures supporting the spine, may cause structural instability of the spine. Due to this structural instability, we may experience pain when the structures of the spine that are supplied with nerves become pulled beyond a healthy range of motion. The structures of the spine that have nerves sensitive to being pulled out of position include the facet joints and the spinal ligaments. Also, the structural instability in one structure or area of the spine could have a domino effect on the rest of the spine, changing its curvature and accelerating causing degenerative changes in other structures.

One example of this could be the relationship between the intervertebral discs and the facet joints. The intervertebral discs are the structures of the spine that have the primary responsibility of cushioning the spine so that the vertebral bones and sensitive soft tissues don't become injured. These discs are flexible and malleable, enough to bulge downwards and outwards to when weight is put on the spine due to being in the upright position, as well as lifting and carrying objects. So these structures are designed to be weight bearing. The facet joints, on the other hand, are designed to allow for some rotation and movement of the spine, while keeping the spine together as a single unit. The facet joints are built in with enough cartilage to keep the respective facets from each vertebral bone from rubbing together and causing osteoarthritis. These facet joints are not designed for weight bearing. If the discs above or below the facet joint were to herniated or lose their height due to degenerative disc disease the entire vertebral bone would become pulled down towards the front of the vertebral bone, causing the facet joints to take on more weight bearing responsibilities, and putting more pressure on the facet joints. These new burdens on the facet joints could cause conditions such as facet arthropathy - possibly causing more instability to the spine.

As degenerative changes to the spine occur, they may become more unstable, causing abnormal vertical or lateral curvatures. Degenerative changes to the spine, as well as injury and muscle imbalances may cause abnormal curvatures throughout the spine, or at just one level, in events where one vertebral bone shifts in front of the other. These changes to the positions of the vertebral bones, as well as the joints between the spinal bones, may result in back pain or the possibility of serious back problems if these misalignments aren't corrected. There are various types of treatment from each branch of healthcare, inside and outside of the western medical profession, for restoring the balance of the bones, joints, and muscles of the body. Medical doctors and the treatment modalities that are available don't involve a lot of hands on manipulation of the body, but they do offer physical therapy, which often works well. Physical therapy typically involve custom treatment programs that involve a combination of back exercises and stretching. Patients are more likely to receive hands on treatments from the chiropractic and osteopathy professions.

Mobilization: Mobilization involves the restoration of movement and flexibility in joints that have stiffened due to injury or arthritic changes. Mobilization involves the restoration of range of motion and ease of movement in joints through massage treatment. Massage treatment breaks down scar tissues and restrictions in the areas affected.