The History and Importance of Joint Mobilization in Physical Therapy in Napa County, CA

May 8, 2019 12:44 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Physical therapists have been performing joint mobilization as part of physical therapy in Napa County, CA and beyond for many, many years, and now their assistants (PTAs) are allowed to handle this type of therapy as well. There are some people who get nervous about a PTA performing joint mobilization rather than the physical therapist, but the process of joint mobilization is so important to recovery in physical therapy sessions that it’s important for all capable hands to be on deck.

It is the responsibility of physical therapists to ensure that their PTAs are providing the high-quality care and treatment that patients expect, and this includes in offering joint mobilization treatment. While there are still some patients who get a little anxious about PTAs playing such an important role in their recovery, the fact is that it’s been extremely common for some time now.

A study released in 2017 by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (an update from a 2011 study) shows just how common it is for PTAs to play a significant role in offering joint mobilization and other types of therapies. For example:

  • 56 percent of all PTAs reported engaging in peripheral joint mobilization
  • 36 percent of all PTAs reported using spinal joint mobilization
  • 36 percent of all PTAs reported performing peripheral thrust manipulation, with another 15 percent reporting the use of spinal thrust manipulation
  • Out of all PTAs reporting the use of these various techniques, almost all said they performed those techniques at least “a few times a year” on average
  • PTAs in the survey indicated the techniques used for these methods of therapy were “moderately to very important” for even entry-level performance of their jobs and for safe and effective results for their patients

As such, we’ve clearly come quite a long way from the days in which major governing bodies in the field of physical therapy strongly stated that only physical therapists should perform joint mobilization. That really began to change around 2012 or 2013, when the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education released a position that PTAs should be allowed to perform Grade 1 and Grade 2 mobilizations, as they do not require the same level of expertise needed for other mobilizations from a physical therapist.

At this point, any person who takes on a PTA position does so knowing that they’re going to be performing at least some level of joint mobilization as part of their regular duties, and physical therapists bring in PTAs to their clinics knowing they’re going to have to properly instruct them in joint mobilization practices. While there once may have been legitimate reason for nervousness, that simply doesn’t exist anymore, and joint mobilization is far too important a therapy for people to avoid simply because the physical therapist isn’t the one performing it.

If you’re interested in learning more about joint mobilization and what makes it so important for people recovering from joint issues, contact an experienced physical therapist in Napa County, CA at Focus Forward Wellness & Physical Therapy today with any questions you have.

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